I think probably the best way to describe what it’s like to read the Abhorsen trilogy is to compare it to a snowball rolling down a very, very large hill. We are all familiar with this metaphor–it basically implies that the thing being compared metaphorically moves faster and becomes MORE on the way down, whether that thing is the plot or your emotions as a reader, or both. Abhorsen is like this, but also THE SNOWBALL IS ON FIRE.
Sabriel introduced the world, the characters (most of them), the magic system, and the stakes. Lirael upped the ante, widening the scope of the world, but also deepening it, and ended with the characters facing the biggest challenge of their lives so far. Abhorsen is almost in its entirety devoted to confronting that challenge, like the whole book is the climax of the series, but it also has its own climax that is even more intense than the rest of the book. And the rest of the book is like a giant rollercoaster ride of emotion and action and scary stuff trying to kill you.
But also, remember the snowball? IT’S STILL ON FIRE.
I’m not going to say much about the plot of this book except in the vaguest terms. Firstly, that I thought it was a very fitting conclusion to the story built up in the first two books. Secondly, that the ending brought me to tears in a Starbucks. I did not anticipate this happening. I’d read it twice before, admittedly as a teenager, so I thought I knew what I was getting into. I didn’t expect to me moved quite so much, particularly on the subject of death. And lastly, I understand why Nix does what he does with the Disreputable Dog, who I think I’ve made clear is my favorite character, but that doesn’t mean I have to be happy about it.
My only real complaint is that there wasn’t enough of a coda to the events of the series. We only get the smallest inkling of the fates that befall these characters, although I suppose it is rather easy to guess. This is why I was so excited to learn he’d written a novella that takes place after the events in these books and that I’d somehow missed. It doesn’t take place in the Old Kingdom, but we do get to check in with a couple of the characters. It filled a need. But also, I have more need. I’m very excited for Clariel in a couple of months, but seeing as how that’s a prequel . . . look, Garth Nix. What I’m saying is I want more stories in this world.
Give them to me.
Give them to me now.