Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen Series #2)

Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen Series #2)

4.8 295
by Garth Nix

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Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother, ignorant of her father's identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large extended family living in the Clayr's glacier. She doesn't even have the Sight--the ability to See into the present and possibly futures--that is the very birthright of the Clayr.

Nonetheless, it is…  See more details below


Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother, ignorant of her father's identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large extended family living in the Clayr's glacier. She doesn't even have the Sight--the ability to See into the present and possibly futures--that is the very birthright of the Clayr.

Nonetheless, it is Lirael in whose hands the fate of the Old Kingdom lies. She must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil--one that opposes the Royal Family, blocks the Sight of the Clayr, and threatens to break the very boundary between Life and Death itself. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog to help her, Lirael must find the courage to seek her own hidden destiny.\

Editorial Reviews
The Barnes & Noble Review
Garth Nix's critically acclaimed novel, Sabriel, first introduced us to the magical world of the Old Kingdom. In Lirael, the story begins in the Old Kingdom once again, only this time it centers around the Clayr, who were only touched upon in the first book. The Clayr are a group of women who are known for their ability to see into the future. It is here that we find Lirael, who at 14 years old has yet to come into her magical ability -- and who is deeply ashamed of it. Her adolescent feelings of depression and alienation are compounded by the death of her mother. And she has never met her father. She is totally alone. Like it or not, Lirael is forced upon a journey of self-discovery.

As in Sabriel, there is a great deal going on with necromancers -- evil sorcerers who invoke the dead. (Sabriel, like her father, is an Abhorsen, someone who binds the dead and undoes the evil necromancy. Sabriel has been quite busy because there is a new evil in the land that threatens to destroy the entire kingdom.) There are basically two stories being told in Lirael. The first involves the title character, and the second revolves around Prince Sameth. Both characters must deal with their destiny, each yearning for something but not knowing exactly how to go about getting it. All Lirael wants is to have the sight, while young Sameth's wish is not to be the Abhorsen-in-waiting. Sameth has gone into Death, confronted the necromancer Hedge, and was nearly killed. He has no desire to return to that world. In the end, it is inevitable that both stories merge into one.

Just like his mother, Prince Sameth and his older sister Ellimere have been educated outside the Old Kingdom in the town of Ancelstierre. We are introduced to Sameth as he is about to graduate. His royal sister, being two years older, has already been back to the Old Kingdom preparing to be Queen. Sameth is a self-assured young man who enjoys life. Nicholas, his best friend, is not from the Old Kingdom, and he has never really believed in the Old Kingdom and its magic. After Sameth confronts Hedge, it is Nicholas who attempts to do what Sameth could not -- namely, to try and destroy the necromancer. Unwittingly, Nicholas becomes a pawn of Hedge.

While back home recuperating from his injuries, Sameth has changed. He desperately does not want to be the Abhorsen. Rather than completing his studies, he decides to go after his friend Nicholas, who has come to the Old Kingdom. While he is en route to find Nicholas, he meets up with the magical cat Mogget. It is after they are together that they finally connect with Lirael.

Lirael, in the meantime, has reached the age of 19 without receiving the sight. For the past few years she has worked in the Clayr library, which has afforded her the ability to keep her distance from her fellow Clayr. She doesn't feel like an outsider when she is working within the library's walls. And this library is not the usual sort; it is not only filled with books, but also houses the documentation of past prophecies, as well as many secret rooms filled with enchantment.

On her 19th birthday, Lirael goes exploring in the library with her magical pet, the disreputable Dog. It is then that she comes upon her real fate and is immediately sent upon a mission. The Clayr have seen a horrible future unfolding and, since Lirael is also in this vision, they send her to meet her destiny.

Garth Nix has written a story of epic proportions, filled with characters we can really believe in. We are sorry to see it end. Or does it? (Rosemary Marotta)

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Product Details

HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date:
Abhorsen Series, #2
Edition description:
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.18(w) x 6.75(h) x 1.44(d)
950L (what's this?)
Age Range:
12 - 17 Years

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

An Ill-favored Birthday

Deep within a dream, Lirael felt someone stroking her forehead. A gentle, soft touch, a cool hand upon her own fevered skin. She felt herself smile, enjoying the touch. Then the dream shifted, and her forehead wrinkled. The touch was no longer soft and loving, but rough and rasping. No longer cool, but hot, burning her --

She woke up. It took her a second to realize that she'd clawed the sheet away and had been lying facedown on the coarsely woven mattress cover. It was wool and very scratchy. Her pillow lay on the floor. The pillowcase had been torn off in the course of some nightmare and now hung from her chair.

Lirael looked around the small chamber, but there were no signs of any other nocturnal damage. Her simple wardrobe of dressed pine was upright, the dull steel latch still closed. The desk and chair still occupied the other corner. Her practice sword hung in its scabbard on the back of the door.

It must have been a relatively good night. Sometimes, in her nightmare-laced sleep, Lirael walked, talked, and wreaked havoc. But always only in her room. Her precious room. She couldn't bear to think what life would be like if she were forced to go back to family chambers.

She closed her eyes again and listened. All was silent, which meant that it must be long before the Waking Bell. The bell sounded at the same time every day, calling the Clayr out of their beds to join the new day.

Lirael scrunched her eyes together more tightly and tried to go back to sleep. She wanted to regain the feel of that hand on her brow. That touch was the only thing she remembered of her mother.Not her face or her voice -- just the touch of her cool hand.

She needed that touch desperately today. But Lirael's mother was long gone, taking the secret of Lirael's paternity with her. She had left when Lirael was five, without a word, without an explanation. There never was any explanation. just the news of her death, a garbled message from the distant North that had arrived three days before Lirael's tenth birthday.

Once she had thought of that, there was no hope for sleep. As on every other morning, Lirael gave up trying to keep her eyes shut. She let them spring open and stared up at the ceiling for a few minutes. But the stone had not changed overnight. It was still grey and cold, with tiny flecks of pink.

A Charter mark for light glowed there too, warm and golden in the stone. It had shone brighter when Lirael had first awoken and grew brighter still as she swung her feet out and felt around with her toes for her half-shoes. The Clayr's halls were heated by the steam of hot springs and by magic, but the stone floor was always cold.

"Fourteen today," whispered Lirael. She had her half-shoes on, but made no move to rise. Ever since the message of her mother's death had come so close to her tenth birthday, all her birthdays had been harbingers of doom.

"Fourteen!" Lirael said again, the word laced with anguish. She was fourteen, and by the measure of the world outside the Clayr's Glacier, a woman. But here she must still wear the blue tunic of a child, for the Clayr marked the passage to adulthood not by age, but by the gift of the Sight.

Once again, Lirael closed her eyes, screwing them tight as she willed herself to See the future. Everyone else her age had the Sight. Many younger children already wore the white robe and the circlet of moonstones. It was unheard of not to have the Sight by fourteen.

Lirael opened her eyes, but she saw no vision. just her simple room, slightly blurred by tears. She rubbed them away and got up.

"No mother, no father, no Sight," she said as she opened her wardrobe and took out a towel. It was a familiar litany. She said it often, though it always made her feel a terrible stab of sorrow in her stomach. It was like worrying a toothache with her tongue. It hurt, but she couldn't leave it alone. The wound was part of her now.

But perhaps soon, one day she would be summoned by the Voice of the Nine Day Watch. Then she would wake and say, "No mother, no father, but I have the Sight."

"I will have the Sight," Lirael muttered to herself as she eased open the door and tiptoed down the corridor to the baths. Charter marks brightened as she passed under them, bringing day from twilight. But all the other doors in the Hall of Youth remained shut. Once, Lirael would have knocked on them, laughing and calling the other orphans who lived there to an early bath.

But that was years ago. Before they had all gained the Sight.

That was also when Merell was Guardian of the Young, one who had governed her charges with a light hand. Lirael's own aunt Kirrith was Guardian now. If there was any noise, she would emerge from her room in her maroon-and-white-striped bathrobe, to order silence and respect for sleeping elders. She would make no special allowance for Lirael, either. Quite the reverse. Kirrith was the exact opposite of Lirael's mother, Arielle. She was all for rules and regulations, tradition and conformity.

Kirrith would never leave the Glacier to travel who knew where, only to return seven months gone with child. Lirael scowled at Kirrith's door. Not that Kirrith had ever told her that. Kirrith wouldn't talk about her younger sister. The little Lirael knew about her mother came from eavesdropping on her closer cousins" conversations. The ones during which they discussed what to do about a girl who so obviously didn't belong.

Lirael (AER). Copyright © by Garth Nix. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Meet the Author

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. Garth's books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen; the cult favorite teen science fiction novel Shade's Children; and his most recent work, Clariel, a prequel to the Abhorsen trilogy. His fantasy novels for younger readers include The Ragwitch, the six books of the Seventh Tower sequence, the Keys to the Kingdom series, and A Confusion of Princes. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, the Guardian, and the Australian, and his work has been translated into forty languages. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

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Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen Trilogy Series #2) 4.8 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 295 reviews.
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MissPrint More than 1 year ago
Lirael has been raised as a daughter of the Clayr--part of the extended family who live within the Clayr's glacier seeking to understand their visions of the future. But Lirael has never fit in among the Clayr despite years of trying. She does not look like any of her Clayr family. She has no knowledge of her father. She was abandoned by her mother. Worse, and far more shameful to her, Lirael does not have the Sight which allows all of the Clayr to see into possible futures. Instead, a full two years after she should have developed the Sight, Lirael is left feeling the outsider. With little else to occupy her in the Clayr's glacier, Lirael begins to experiment with Charter Magic. In honing her natural affinity with the Charter, Lirael summons a strange companion and also sets herself on a path to oppose an ancient evil and choose her own future in Lirael (2001) by Garth Nix. Lirael is the second book in Nix's Old Kingdom series. It takes place roughly 18 years after the events in Sabriel. (Readers unfamiliar with Sabriel should still be able to jump into the series with the help of background passages for key information.) On the other hand, readers familiar with Sabriel will recognize familiar characters as well as relatives of characters featured in Sabriel. Although Lirael is a very different heroine from Sabriel, this story treads similar territory as Lirael tries find her own identity and make a place for herself in the Old Kingdom. Lirael is savvy and smart. Although she makes mistakes including some rash decisions, Lirael learns throughout the story and her growth is obvious as she comes into her own. Lirael is another beautifully evocative fantasy from Nix. The blend of high fantasy elements with action and adventure continues in this second installment as Lirael learns more about her past and meets some unlikely friends and allies along the way. Page-turnings twists and shocking reveals will leave readers eager for the next installment. Possible Pairings: Plain Kate by Erin Bow, Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken, The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan, Fire by Kristin Cashore, Vessel by Sarah Beth Durst, The Lost Sun by Tessa Gratton, Seraphina by Rachel Hartman, Magisterium by Jeff Hirsch, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox, Grave Mercy by Robin LaFevers, Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta, The Winner's Curse by Marie Rutkoski, The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner, Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld
TheLoon More than 1 year ago
Magic. These books are for those of you who just love magic. Nix, in some ways, is an excellent writer of adventure, tension and pace. First class. However, by this second book I was fed up and annoyed with all the magic. Every situation, good or bad, dire or minor is solved, resolved, developed or renewed by more, you guessed it, more magic. How will this terrible problem that can not be resolved by even the most powerful magic be resolved? New magic. Revealed magic. Magic by the cat, magic by the dog. Magic out of the past, magic from the future. For me it just ceased to be interesting because you know what is coming next. More magic. There just is not anything magic can not do. So, if that is what you want, this will be great for you.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Grabbed my interest and never let it go!!!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I loved Sabriel, but this follow up leaves a lot to be desired. The pacing is all over the place, the characters frustrating, and the story predictable. Nix is still a very talented author, but this could have used a few more drafts.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Just the next step in an incredible series. Read by Tim Curry and FLAWLESS.
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Love this trilogy. If you've read any Tamora Pierce, and loved it, you will enjoy this
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Awesome book
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
As with Sabriel, I liked this book, thought it was well written, and found the events unfolding throughout  the book to be quite interesting. However, as interesting as i found the plot to be, everything seemed to  move along at a horribly slow pace for quite a bit, and I felt as though there were some scenes that  should have been completely omitted as they contributed little to nothing to the telling of the story. Basically the book dragged on for hundreds of pages then ended rather quickly without much development, both in terms of the characters as well as the plot in its entirety. In the end though, I found  it to be a good read and would recommend it to anyone interested in this genre. 
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Worth a read, just read it!
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This is good!
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Anonymous More than 1 year ago
LOVE the (for once) extremely introverted heroine-not just "different", or "someone who doesn't fit in"-a real introvert. Loved the entire series, but this one will always be my favorite.