Lit in the Time of Coronavirus: Nix

Well here we are. After last week’s reading of Lirael, I’ve surfaced from writing essays and studying for finals to tell you whether or not Lirael‘s sequel, Abhorsen, was worth reading both it and Lirael. If you haven’t read my Lirael review, do so, because this current review won’t have much set-up, backstory, or plot-point explanations. You see, it gets right into the thick of things…

Abhorsen, by Garth Nix

FRAMEofMIND | Lightning gif, Fractal art, Trippy

“Both glanced over at Tim Wallach as Sam spoke. He had taken a dead soldier’s rifle, sword bayonet, and helmet, and now stood in the rain, much to everyone’s surprise, perhaps including his own. ‘It’s always better to be doing,’ said Sam, quoting the Disreputable Dog. As he said it, he realized that he actually believed it now. He was still scared, still felt the knot of apprehension in his guts, but he knew it wouldn’t stop him from doing what had to be done.”

If Lirael felt like a bunch of exposition and build-up, Abhorsen felt like a bunch of rising tension and climax. That made it feel somewhat strained, even if both the beginning and ending were great, as were the lightning-farms (you’d have to read it to find out what I mean by that). The middle part of the book makes me wonder if it’s worth reading both this and Lirael, though. Maybe if you like really cool talking animals, that might make it worthwhile.

When you have a bunch of climax, you don’t really get much opportunity to breathe or take in what has happened so far, or why it should matter. Yes, I was able to take time to breathe and take in the immense stakes while reading Abhorsen, but it didn’t feel like enough. For one thing, while the characters in Lirael had arcs, the characters in Abhorsen didn’t seem to have any. Or maybe they did and I just couldn’t see the arcs through all that climax.

Basically, I would say definitely read Sabriel, and maybe skip Lirael and Abhorsen and go on to the next one, which is a prequel. I’m not sure that I’ll stand by that statement, though, since I haven’t read the prequel and right now I’m reading the autobiography of the guy who invented the hexaflexagon (see the gif below). Maybe read a book about hexaflexagons in the meantime. Or just read the beginning of Abhorsen and its end and call it a day. Or fold some hexaflexagons…

Hexaflexagon - GIF on Imgur