The Abhorsen Chronicles
Reviewed by Rachael Stein (age 15) for Reader Views (1/09)
In the ancient and mystical world of the Old Kingdom, evil constantly breeds despite valiant attempts to destroy it forever. But evil in the Old Kingdom is no ordinary evil; it is often the work of Free Magic creatures or necromancers raising the Dead to wreak havoc. Fortunately, there is some protection against the Dead such as sunlight, running water, and the Abhorsen, whose duty is to make sure the Dead stay dead. But the struggle between life and death seems to be an everlasting one with a bleak outcome, especially when chaos reigns. “The Abhorsen Chronicles,” composed of the three novels “Sabriel,” “Lirael,” and “Abhorsen” as well as the short story “Nicolas Sayre and the Creature in the Case,” tells the awesomely fantastical tale of this heart-stopping and dangerous battle spanning all time. In this world, virtually no one can be trusted and evil will stop at nothing to succeed.
Though dauntingly thick, “The Abhorsen Chronicles” is an attention-consuming and intensely satisfying read. I am wary to provide any real plot summary besides basic background for two reasons: there is too much to be given away and no summary can do this exciting tale justice. “The Abhorsen Chronicles” has all any eager reader could want including nonstop action and suspense, an entire new world filled with originality and magic, and even hits of romance. The plot simply flows from the pages and from tale to next tale so effortlessly, leaving the reader hungry for more and likely to lose track of time as I did several times. As with all stories set in unfamiliar fantasy worlds, some of the language and wording was a bit confusing and took a bit to get used to, and a glossary of terms would’ve been helpful. Despite that small setback, though, I cannot deny that the incredible takes Nix has woven in “The Abhorsen Chronicles” are truly epic.
The most important part of this novel was definitely the well-woven plot, but I was pleased to see that the characters weren’t neglected in the process. All the main characters, even the evil ones, connect with the reader in some way, especially Sabriel and Lirael. Superb characterization as well as the outstanding plot really helped bring all the characters to life and made them virtually leap of the pages.
“The Abhorsen Chronicles” will be popular among fans of magical and ‘otherworldy’ tales such as the classics “Lord of the Rings” and “Narnia” and modern “Harry Potter” and “Eragon.” As incredible as it is convenient, “The Abhorsen Chronicles” by Garth Nix is most definitely worth anyone’s time and investment.