Book Review – Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Abhorsen by Garth Nix

Award-winning author Garth Nix’s conclusion to “Sabriel” and “Lirael” is
“Abhorsen.” Taking place immediately following “Lirael,” “Abhorsen” also
splits time among many characters of this dual-world.

The Abhorsen Sabriel and her husband, King Touchstone, struggle in magic-
less Ancelstierre, where their magical abilities are useless. The evil
necromancer Hedge has manipulated politics in Ancelstierre in order to send
hundreds of thousands of war refugees over the Wall and into the Old
Kingdom, where he can kill them and use their dead bodies for his evil plans.
Sabriel and Touchstone are on a desperate quest to keep the refugees in
Ancelstierre. Instead of finding help and understanding, they are attacked.

Meanwhile, Lirael and Sameth have come into their own. Lirael, much to Sam’s
relief, is Sabriel’s half-sister and the true Abhorsen-in-Waiting. More, because
of her mixed Clayr and Abhorsen heritage, she is also a Rememberancer—that
rarest of rare mages who can See into the past. With Sabriel gone, it is Lirael
who must deal with the Dead who seem to spring from ever corner.

Sameth’s proficiency at making things, his joy of tinkering and combining
magic with objects, and his strong connection with magic all point to one thing—
he is the true heir to the power of the Wallmakers, one of the lost magical
families whose strength was in magical construction. Sam too must learn to
make the most of his powers, but will it be enough to help Lirael succeed
against Hedge and, worse, Hedge’s master?

Sam and Lirael, however, are not totally alone. The cat-like Mogget and the
Disreputable Dog, both mysterious magical creatures, are there to give
assistance, guidance, and support. Or are they…?

Each in his own way, our heroes fight against an ancient evil that Hedge is
resurrecting. Sam’s friend Nick from Anclestierre has become deeply wrapped
in this scheme, unwittingly the host of Hedge’s master and helping to build the
Lightening Field that will free this evil. Has Nick been completely subverted, or
is there some small part of him that can resist?

Each character’s path brings the book closer to the final, cataclysmic battle.
The consequences of this battle are clear: if our heroes lose, the Old Kingdom,
Ancelstierre, and the whole world will be destroyed.

“Abhorsen” is a thoroughly satisfying conclusion to Nix’s trilogy. Nix’s world,
magical system, and characters continue to evolve. He continues to
successfully answer questions while raising more, building to a conclusion that
brings all loose ends together. The action never stops and Nix swings the
reader through chilling descriptions, riveting action, and personal triumph. As
in the previous books, Nix highlights the values of family, friendship, loyalty,
and principle; these values are worth fighting for and do not come without cost.
Although religious allegory becomes a bit heavy-handed toward the end,
“Abhorsen” is a fine read for readers of all ages.

I rate it a 9 out of 10.

First Printing:
FantasyBookSpot.com (Mar. 1, 2006) (now BookSpotCentral.com), at http://www.bookspotcentral.com/2006/03/book-review-abhorsen/.

Second Printing:
SCBryce.com (Dec. 22, 2006).

Old News – January 2005

January 2005

My latest short story featuring my reoccurring hero, Dermanassian, has appeared in the inaugural issue of Flashing Swords, the quarterly semi-pro e-zine dedicated to sword and sorcery and edited by Howard Andrew Jones. To read “The Burning River,” please visit www.SwordandSorcery.org. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
My essay on Michael Moorcock’s Elric books was accepted by Howard Andrew Jones for publication at
www.SwordandSorcery.org. It should be available shortly. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
At the invitation of
www.SwordandSorcery.org’s Howard Andrew Jones, I am hard at work designing the sword and sorcery, sword and planet, and swashbuckling historicals critique group. Thanks, Howard!

Old News – February 2005

February 2005

“The Elric Saga: Overview” has received positive feedback from readers. The essay is available in the articles section of www.SwordandSorcery.org. Thanks, readers!
*        *        *
My essay on Michael Moorcock’s Elric books (specifically, readers as the six books that form the core of The Elric Saga:
Elric of Melniboné, The Sailor on the Seas of Fate, The Weird of the White Wolf, The Vanishing Tower, The Bane of the Black Sword, and Stormbringer) has appeared in the articles section of http://www.SwordandSorcery.org. To read “The Elric Saga: Overview,” please visit the articles section of www.SwordandSorcery.org. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
My short story, “The Burning River,” received positive feedback from readers. “The Burning River” is a Dermanassian story available in the inaugural issue of Flashing Swords, the quarterly e-zine of
www.SwordandSorcery.org. Thanks, readers!

Old News – March 2005

March 2005

I’ve been sending out announcements for the sword and sorcery, sword and planet, and swashbuckling historicals critique groups. I designed the semi-pro critique group and will also serve as moderator, so I’m very excited! Each group will run for 15 weeks and consist of 5 participants. Each participant will submit 3 manuscripts to the group. If you’re interested in joining us, please visit the writing pages of www.
SwordandSorcery.org. Special thanks to www.SFReader.com and its webmaster, Dave Felts, for hosting the critique groups in their forum section. Thanks, Dave!

Old News – April 2005

April 2005

Another of my short stories featuring Dermanassian has been accepted for publication. “The Demon War,” is scheduled to appear in Flashing Swords, Vol. 1, Issue 3 edited by Howard Andrew Jones. It should be available at www.SwordandSorcery.org in July. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
My essay on Michael Moorcock’s classic treatise,
Wizardry & Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy, has been accepted for publication by Howard Andrew Jones at www.SwordandSorcery.org. It should be available shortly. Thanks, Howard!

Old News – May 2005

May 2005

My essay entitled “Why We Should Care About Michael Moorcock’s Wizardry & Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy,” just published by Howard Andrew Jones at http://www.SwordandSorcery.org, has provoked the ire of Moorcock’s “Number 1 Fan” (as Kathy Bates of Stephen King’s Misery might say). To read the discussion, please visit the discussion forum at http://www.SFSite.com, specifically the topic on the sword and sorcery critique groups. Here’s a link:
http://www.sfsite.com/forum/viewtopic.php?t=93. The irked fan even mentioned me in his blog. Thanks for the publicity!!
*        *        *
The essay has also sparked conversation over at http://www.SFReader.com. Check out the Flashing Swords folder, then the “Moorcock” and “Deeper Meaning” topics. Here’s a link:
http://www.sfreader.com/forum/forum.asp?FORUM_ID=50. Thanks,
readers!
*        *        *
Great news! Howard Andrew Jones, editor of the quarterly e-zine Flashing Swords and its home website http://www.SwordandSorcery.org, has invited me to become a contributing editor. Of course, I’ve accepted. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
My essay entitled “Why We Should Care About Michael Moorcock’s
Wizardry & Wild Romance: A Study of Epic Fantasy,” has been published by Howard Andrew Jones in the articles section of www.SwordandSorcery.org. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
I’ve just received another invitation to submit. Let’s hope it works out!

Old News – June 2005

June 2005

My article on Michael Moorcock’s first fantasy character, Sojan Shieldbearer, was accepted for publication by Howard Andrew Jones, editor of www.SwordandSorcery. org. The article should be available soon. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
I can’t wait for July! It should be a great month! I’m expecting reprints of two stories to appear. First up is “Cloning Jesus,” scheduled for e-zine Gateway S-F Magazine, edited by John A.M. Darnell and available at
www.gateway-sf-magazine.
com. “Cloning Jesus” was originally printed in the semi-pro print magazine Fantastic
Stories of the Imagination #21 (Spr. 2001), edited by Edward J. McFadden. Thanks, John!
*        *        *
My first story featuring my reoccurring hero, Dermanassian, is scheduled to be reprinted in e-zine The Sword’s Edge, edited by Fraser Ronald in either July or August. “The Gray Mist” will be available at
www.SwordsEdge.ca. “The Gray Mist” was originally printed in the semi-pro print quarterly Gauntlet! The Magazine of Heroic Tales Vol. 1, #4 (Sum. 2000), edited by George Smith and was also temporarily available at (the now defunct) http://www.GauntletMagazine.com. Thanks, Fraser!
*        *        *
July will also be the debut for the latest Dermanassian short story.  “The Demon War,” is scheduled to appear inFlashing Swords, Vol. 1, Issue 3 edited by Howard Andrew Jones. It should be available at
www.SwordandSorcery.org. Thanks, Howard!
*        *        *
Additionally, we will be starting the first critique group at
www.SwordandSorcery.
org. As designer and moderator of the group, I’m keeping my fingers crossed. Again, special thanks to http://www.SFReader.com and its webmaster Dave Felts for hosting the critique groups in their forum section and for working out a few kinks in the system. Thanks, John, Fraser, and Dave!