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Posted on Thursday, October 23, 2008 in Books, Fantasy, Reviews, Young Adult Books

Lirael is a Clayr without The Sight. She can’t see into the future. The Clayr are a people of ‘Seers’ who live under a glacier far to the north. Basically near the North Pole, it seems. Lirael is an outsider among them. When she’s grown up, and still hasn’t had her ‘Sight’, she finds work in the great library.

The library is an enormous place, filled with locked rooms and chambers that aren’t safe to go into. It’s been created over generations and not every librarian even remembers every single room in it, or the safeguards placed on their doors.

Here is an example of how huge and dangerous the place is: when Lirael first begins to work in the library, she’s given a whistle, so she can call for help if she needs to.

Quite soon after beginning her work there, Lirael finds a small figurine of a dog. It has the unusual characteristic of being able to come alive – at full dog size. The dog tells Lirael her name is ‘the Disreputable Dog’.

She becomes Lirael’s only friend, and helps her explore the vast library, after hours. That part of the book is sort of an adventure of its own.

Then one day, Lirael learns her true destiny. Not until then does the reader find out her connection to Sabriel.

Lirael has to leave her home and travel far away to help stop a great evil from spreading. There she finally finds out what her true calling is.

Her quest takes her beyond the boundaries of life itself.

This story is very dark and frightening. You’ll encounter many ‘living dead’ and several of the characters are in grave danger.

Like the first book in the series about Sabriel, Lirael is very well written, exciting and scary. I immediately liked Lirael and to some extent identified with her. I haven’t found my place in life either. Not that I think I’ll ever find my ‘destiny’, like Lirael did, but it makes it easier to understand her situation, despite the obvious differences.

I liked the mysterious and even ominous library and most of all ‘the Disreputable Dog’. A very good companion for such a dangerous quest.

If you liked Sabriel, I’m sure you’ll like Lirael too.

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