Sunday, January 27, 2019

Lirael by Garth Nix

Lirael (Abhorsen, #2)Lirael by Garth Nix
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This is a re-read from 2009, but sadly, I didn't say anything about it at the time.

Why do I like the work of the Garth Nixes and Brandon Sandersons of the world? It is how they are able to spin a tale--plot, characters, setting, all of it-- in a way that keeps you guessing and still comes together as one story in the end. The few Agatha Christie books I'm aware of display this as well. Perhaps it is fair to say that all books are mysteries at some level.

Lirael fits that description. As I read and tried to see what was coming, I would finally figure it out and feel smart only to have the whole thing unfolded for me anyway in the next instant. To me that is maximum engagement for a reader. To drop clues until they figure it out on their own... just as you tell them anyway.

The one small weakness I noticed was that the nature of the enemy isn't really revealed or a part of the story until the epilogue. We do get an idea with the backstory about the Charter from Mogget and the Dog, but it kind of feels like it's thrown in. "And now that everyone knows who they are in this story, here is some unspeakable evil to fight. Let us sally forth in the next book!" One small thing that would have helped for me is to link Kerrigor to this new guy (forgot his name). That would have made a nice consistent good vs. evil struggle in my mind, but that may have presented another problem. Things that wrap up or connect too nicely feel contrived. Overall this is a small issue.

Why only 4 stars? Lack of satisfactory resolution. Even if the conflict had to continue to the next book, I don't feel like our protagonists accomplished enough to call this an ending. Easily fixed in the next book, but still, I'm holding a star hostage.