Ahoy there me mateys! While drawin’ up me lists of 2016 for me log, I realized a curious thing – out of 134 books read, not a single one was a re-read. In me enthusiasm of discovery and taking suggestions from me crew, I did not revisit a single old port for plunder! And part of what I love about readin’ is re-visitin’ old friends. So I decided to remedy that and thus created me new category where I take a second look at a previously enjoyed novel and give me crew me second reflections, as it were, upon visitin’ it again . . .
lirael – Garth Nix
Now I had touched upon this novel and the author in me previous log post, the first Broadside No. 1. I adore Garth Nix and have re-read the Old Kingdom series many times over the years. I only recently began listening to audio books and generally prefer to listen to old favourites while I multitask so I feel like I’m not missing anything. Well me best friend told me that the Tim Curry narrates this book and so I knew I had to listen to it.
But before I give me second reflections, a story . . . I had read a negative review of this book by dan @ onemanbookclub where he states “Huh. There are a lot of people who really love this book. Obviously I missed something.” He thought the plot was tedious and that the characters were idiots. I of course told him that while he had an interesting take on it, he was of course, wrong! Dan said he was happy to be convinced otherwise if I could explain it to him. While I don’t feel that I can capture the true love I have for this book and in fact delayed writing this review for quite some time while pondering the question, here is me response to give Dan (and crew members) me ideas about it.
After a small adjustment period getting used to hearing Tim Curry’s voice reading, I ended up sucked right back into one of me favourite stories. One of the elements that hit me this time around was that ye have two main characters in opposite situations but with similar feelings. One, Lirael, wants nothing more than to have the Sight like everyone else and finally feel like she belongs in her family and community. She feels worthless without it. The other, Prince Sameth, has been told that he is the next Abhorsen and has been training all his life for a role he doesn’t want. He is surrounded by love and affection but feels horrible because he wants nothing to do with this future that has been plotted for him. I found the juxtaposition of the longings of the characters to be rather interesting this time around because I never thought of it before. One wants the birthright she thinks she should have and the other spurns the birthright that has been given to him. And both are miserable about it.
I do see how the two characters could maybe become tedious in their immense focusing of how they don’t fit in and are disappointments. But as a rather quirky human meself, I remember being the odd one out so often in life. I have always wanted different goals then “average” people and felt adrift due to me own expectations and desires. So I guess ultimately I can sympathize with young folk who are so concerned about their futures and the expectations of society. I mean, I look back at me earlier self and how different life has become and how much I have changed and wish sometimes that I could go back to me younger self and tell her that those feelings would lose their power and almost seem silly in retrospect. Of course in this book Prince Sameth and Lirael are facing actual world-ending problems and the deaths of many if they don’t succeed so their stakes are way higher than mine ever were!
The plot is slowly built and so much of it is in day to day descriptions. There is action but it is in small bits that tend to happen towards the end of the book. I just love the world building so much that I feel that the Old Kingdom exists and it is almost like I am an invisible spirit getting to watch someone I admire go about their lives. Cause Lirael is a wonderful, strong fabulous person despite her own self-doubt.
Nowhere is this better shown then from her adventures in the library. Now, I have always believed that libraries, especially old cool ones, are some of the most awesome places on the planet. For example, I got to visit the United States Supreme Court’s library and was in heaven! Lirael works in a library full of books of amazing facts. There is magic and danger in the library. There are hidden passages and monsters and mysteries. Lirael’s work in the library gives her a strength of purpose and solidifies her love of learning. Also how I wish that I could sneak into forbidden sections and learn magic and other things forbidden to me.
This book shows Lirael making mistakes and learning from them. She is a person who finds comfort in her own company. As an introvert in a family of extroverts, it was wonderful reading about someone who felt like me. She has a best friend that is a magical dog! I prefer cats meself but I adore their relationship. Ye get to follow Lirael as she grows up and matures and I love her.
As for the ending of the book, this really is only half of a story that doesn’t pick up pace until the next book in the trilogy. That can be off putting for some. But for me, I feel that this trilogy is basically perfection. So if ye haven’t read this series by Garth Nix, I for one recommend it wholeheartedly.
Goodreads has this to say about the novel:
Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr’s birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil.
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Previous Log Entries for this Author
Nix, Garth (Broadside No. 1)
Goldenhand – book 5 (Captain’s Log – Fantasy)
frogkisser! (Captain’s Log – Young Adult Fantasy)