Abhorsen – Garth Nix

abhorsenReading level: 7.1
Series: Book 3 of the Old Kingdom series (UK) / Abhorsen series (US)
Genre: Fantasy, adventure
ELL-Friendly: No
Library recommendation: Middle or high school

I am convinced that this series is your library’s best kept secret. I may never have stumbled up on these incredible books if I hadn’t purchased them on a whim for $0.25 at a book sale. I had never heard of them before despite them having potential to be quite popular with fans of fantasy.

That being said, I think Abhorsen was my least favorite in the series, Lirael being my favorite. It’s difficult to pinpoint what exactly I loved or didn’t love quite as much. I loved Lirael because it was everything Sabriel was plus better character development. I came to know and love Lirael and Sameth (the characters) even more through Abhorsen, but I thought that some parts went on for too long – such as the journey to stop Hedge. I admit to getting a little bored at parts, especially towards the end.

My favorite part was watching Lirael develop from a meek, depressed girl into a crazy-awesome, confident, smart, and brave woman. Sometimes I laugh at myself for being scared to move away from my college-town while Lirael goes off and does ALL THESE THINGS (I won’t spoil too much) that are 10954379 times braver than what I’m about to do. Yes, I know she’s “just a character,” but whatever.

Sameth developed beautifully too, perhaps just as much as Lirael. I don’t know about you, but if I thought my parents were dead, I wouldn’t be able to continue hunting for necromancers.

I sort of want to name my next cat after Mogget – that is, if Mogget weren’t such an ugly name. That little cat/evil thing really came through in ways I didn’t expect. Nice job, little kitty-demon. Part of me always thought that there was some good in Mogget in his unbound form, just liked I continued to hope for the good to come out of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings series.

I would name a dog after The Disreputable Dog if that also weren’t a terrible name. What a good girl.

There’s nothing I can think of (except magic – for all those parents who don’t like their kids reading about that) that would prevent me from putting the book on classroom shelves. It’s probably better suited to middle school, but high schoolers could also really like it too.

Like with Sabriel and Lirael, Abhorsen isn’t very ELL-friendly with the made-up names of the bells, places, and certain ideas and terms such as “hemispheres” and “charter magic.” I wouldn’t suggest that ELLs not read this series, though.

Anywho, I’m sad that this series is over. My mission: make sure the world knows about these wonderful books!


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