starting Abhorsen discussion

Kyla Tornheim kyla at merlin.sccs.swarthmore.edu
Mon Apr 14 17:53:55 EDT 2003


Since I believe people have said that we can start discussing _Abhorsen_,
and no one's started to, and I'm hoping this will prevent people from
being quite so eager to start discussing _The Merlin Conspiracy_ which I
have not yet managed to get (what with that whole U.S. release date not
having happened yet), I'm going to start discussing _Abhorsen_. Just
because I can.

(and my discussion will include all three books, because I didn't get to
discuss _Sabriel_ and _Lirael_ before)

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(This isn't going to be a terribly comprehensible discussion-starter; I'm
pretty much just babbling. In paragraph form. :^)

One of the things that dragged me into _Sabriel_ was how fully realized
the world was, and how different it seemed from other stuff. The
bells--nifty! Death as a land is something that's been done before, but it
all just seemed so real. Also, I usually don't do well with scary stories,
but I don't like it if a story says "and now our characters are in danger!
yes, they really are," and I'm thinking, "um, no, they're going to be
fine." With all three books here, I was genuinely worried but happy about
the scariness.

It's really kind of weird to try to discuss _Abhorsen_ without _Lirael_ at
least--the last three sentences or so of _Lirael_ just shouted "oh, heck,
my publisher said to end the book here, so I'm throwing in some summary
sentences." I was extremely happy that I could just say "eh, whatever,
I've got the next book now."

Poor Sam. Poor, depressed,
needing-to-talk-to-his-parents-who-are-never-there Sam. His sister was
doing what she thought was right, pushing him into doing things, but it
really wasn't what he needed. He was traumatized! With scars! And no
parents!

I really, really, really like Lirael. She and Sam both have a nice
uncertainty--I like Sabriel too, but even as an untried eighteen-year-old,
she seemed not only competent but fairly aware of her competence. Lirael
and Sam are both competent at what they're supposed to be doing, but
they're both uncertain because they thought they were supposed to be doing
completely different things.

The Dog is highly nifty. In contrast to Mogget, whom I never really
trusted (well, duh, what with the "death to Abhorsens" mindset), the Dog's
mystery seemed like it would be something relevant-yet-not-bad, and
indeed, it was.

It took me a while to guess that Lirael was Sabriel's half-sister; I think
it was finally when Sam was thinking "gee, she looks familiar," and I said
"OH!" and flipped back to the description of Lirael's parents, and said,
"yes, 'grown daughter about your age' would be an eighteen-year-old
Sabriel, uh huh." It made things a bit...tidy, but it was also pretty
clear that Sam could never be an Abhorsen.

Nick. Ah, Nick. He's such a non-character for most of the book (I was fond
of him just because of the bits in Sam's very first section in _Lirael_)
that I was not surprised at all that he didn't die. Because I was
surprised that he did die, and then thought "but death doesn't necessarily
mean that here!" and then thought "but dying and not being dead is Bad, we
have learned this!" and while I'm happy he's alive, it's just a bit too
pleasing. Does anyone know if Nix is planning more books in this world?
I liked it that the Dog gave a bit of What Is to Come, but it's better if
there's a real book about stuff.

I guess I'll stop talking now and see if anyone else actually wants to
discus this.

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-
No man, who continues to add something to the material,
intellectual and moral well-being of the place in which
he lives, is left long without proper reward.
       --Booker T. Washington







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