starting Abhorsen discussion

Robyn Starkey rohina at shaw.ca
Mon Apr 21 12:02:40 EDT 2003


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>I agree with both of these points entirely.  The landscape--the concept of
>this kind of land that coexists more or less with Death--just fascinated me.
>And _Sabriel_ in particular was just creepy enough without being actually
>frightening.  It was very enjoyable.

I agree with all of this, too. I wanted to add the comment that Sabriel is 
really beautifully written at the sentence level. I was thinking about the 
length thing, because it is seriously shorter. I know Sally said there were 
publisher reasons for this, and my comment is, it really was a good thing 
for Nix's writing to have had this imposition. The writing in Sabriel is 
dense. There isn't room for a lot of description, so he made every word 
work. That's one of the things that makes it a really good book.

>On re-reading _Lirael_ I was more annoyed by the length.

I didn't mind the length from a plot point of view, but I did notice that 
it wasn't as richly written as Sabriel. I think it could have been shorter 
if someone had imposed a restriction on Nix, but since (from what I 
understood and heard) he was being given the opposite ecouragement - ie 
make it longer - the writing is not as dense at the sentence-level.

Abhorsen is much worse as far as unnecessary wordage is concerned. I 
noticed that there were a lot of sentences of the Babysitters Club style 
exposition in the book (Lirael remembered that Sabriel, Sam's mother, was 
her own sister, that kind of thing), which he never would have written in 
Sabriel. I was speculating that maybe he got a different editor with a very 
different agenda or something. Reading the 3 books close together makes the 
style change much more obvious.

I was kind of disappointed with a few of the "revelation" moments - I felt 
they were delayed beyond Nix's ability to make them thrilling, and then the 
description of them was a real let down at the end. I guess overall I think 
Abhorsen needed to be a much shorter book.

The Nick/Lirael thing just ticked me off. Why was it necessary? Why did Nix 
go to all that trouble to show all those women of the Clayr who were above 
needing romantic relationships, and then have Lirael (who was supposed to 
revere them) go all goopy over pathetic Nick?

Robyn 
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