This book follows the adventures of Lirael (no last name) & Nick Saere, who featured in the second and third books. You don’t have to read the original trilogy first* because the prologue does a wonderful job of dropping the reader into this new world of magic, monsters, and mystery. It also ties up a loose thread from Nick’s adventure in a book of short stories.
*You have to read them! They are wonderful! Why aren’t you reading them yet????
Chlorr of the Mask is a Greater Dead who has been terrorizing the Northern tribes and is really annoyed that her most recent body was killed off. Lirael and Nick have to deal with this.
Nick is badly hurt from previous adventures, and keeps thinking he’s not measuring up to Lirael’s standards. Lirael is a powerful Abhorsen-in-Training, complete with sword and magical bells. She can intimidate gruff Sergeants through the force her personality. She’s also a formerly bashful Assistant Librarian who has no idea how to tell a boy she likes him.
There’s a nice balance of save-the-world and romance.
In other news, Sabriel the Abhorsen (and the Queen) is sill in love with her husband, Princess Ellimere is still bossy, and Prince Sam is still making things. Like Lirael’s golden hand – hence the title 🙂 And there’s a new character who gives all these characters a run for the money is pure energy. NOTHING slows her down, not even spoiler spoiler and furthermore SPOILER. Wow.
Now I want a new book just to see what this new character does, along with Sabriel and Lirael. GOOD JOB GARTH NIX.
Sadly, Clariel is still the only book to have actual dragons. In fact, the disappointing lack of dragons is specifically addressed by one of the characters, so I know I’m not the only one who misses them 🙂