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<anon I1="BLANK" I2="BLANK">Lirael Chapter One An Ill-favored Birthday Deep within a dream, Lirael felt someone stroking her forehead. A gentle, soft touch, a cool hand upon her own fevered skin. She felt herself smile, enjoying the touch. Then the dream shifted, and her forehead wrinkled. The touch was no longer soft and loving, but rough and rasping. No longer cool, but hot, burning her -- She woke up. It took her a second to realize that she'd clawed the sheet away and had been lying facedown on the coarsely woven mattress cover. It was wool and very scratchy. Her pillow lay on the floor. The pillowcase had been torn off in the course of some nightmare and now hung from her chair. Lirael looked around the small chamber, but there were no signs of any other nocturnal damage. Her simple wardrobe of dressed pine was upright, the dull steel latch still closed. The desk and chair still occupied the other corner. Her practice sword hung in its scabbard on the back of the door. It must have been a relatively good night. Sometimes, in her nightmare-laced sleep, Lirael walked, talked, and wreaked havoc. But always only in her room. Her precious room. She couldn't bear to think what life would be like if she were forced to go back to family chambers. She closed her eyes again and listened. All was silent, which meant that it must be long before the Waking Bell. The bell sounded at the same time every day, calling the Clayr out of their beds to join the new day. Lirael scrunched her eyes together more tightly and tried to go back to sleep. She wanted to regain the feel of that hand on her brow. That touch was the only thing she remembered of her mother. Not her face or her voice -- just the touch of her cool hand. She needed that touch desperately today. But Lirael's mother was long gone, taking the secret of Lirael's paternity with her. She had left when Lirael was five, without a word, without an explanation. There never was any explanation. just the news of her death, a garbled message from the distant North that had arrived three days before Lirael's tenth birthday. Once she had thought of that, there was no hope for sleep. As on every other morning, Lirael gave up trying to keep her eyes shut. She let them spring open and stared up at the ceiling for a few minutes. But the stone had not changed overnight. It was still grey and cold, with tiny flecks of pink. A Charter mark for light glowed there too, warm and golden in the stone. It had shone brighter when Lirael had first awoken and grew brighter still as she swung her feet out and felt around with her toes for her half-shoes. The Clayr's halls were heated by the steam of hot springs and by magic, but the stone floor was always cold. "Fourteen today," whispered Lirael. She had her half-shoes on, but made no move to rise. Ever since the message of her mother's death had come so close to her tenth birthday, all her birthdays had been harbingers of doom. "Fourteen!" Lirael said again, the word laced with anguish. She was fourteen, and by the measure of the world outside the Clayr's Glacier, a woman. But here she must still wear the blue tunic of a child, for the Clayr marked the passage to adulthood not by age, but by the gift of the Sight. Once again, Lirael closed her eyes, screwing them tight as she willed herself to See the future. Everyone else her age had the Sight. Many younger children already wore the white robe and the circlet of moonstones. It was unheard of not to have the Sight by fourteen. Lirael opened her eyes, but she saw no vision. just her simple room, slightly blurred by tears. She rubbed them away and got up. "No mother, no father, no Sight," she said as she opened her wardrobe and took out a towel. It was a familiar litany. She said it often, though it always made her feel a terrible stab of sorrow in her stomach. It was like worrying a toothache with her tongue. It hurt, but she couldn't leave it alone. The wound was part of her now. But perhaps soon, one day she would be summoned by the Voice of the Nine Day Watch. Then she would wake and say, "No mother, no father, but I have the Sight." "I will have the Sight," Lirael muttered to herself as she eased open the door and tiptoed down the corridor to the baths. Charter marks brightened as she passed under them, bringing day from twilight. But all the other doors in the Hall of Youth remained shut. Once, Lirael would have knocked on them, laughing and calling the other orphans who lived there to an early bath. But that was years ago. Before they had all gained the Sight. That was also when Merell was Guardian of the Young, one who had governed her charges with a light hand. Lirael's own aunt Kirrith was Guardian now. If there was any noise, she would emerge from her room in her maroon-and-white-striped bathrobe, to order silence and respect for sleeping elders. She would make no special allowance for Lirael, either. Quite the reverse. Kirrith was the exact opposite of Lirael's mother, Arielle. She was all for rules and regulations, tradition and conformity. Kirrith would never leave the Glacier to travel who knew where, only to return seven months gone with child. Lirael scowled at Kirrith's door. Not that Kirrith had ever told her that. Kirrith wouldn't talk about her younger sister. The little Lirael knew about her mother came from eavesdropping on her closer cousins" conversations. The ones during which they discussed what to do about a girl who so obviously didn't belong. Lirael . Copyright © by Garth Nix. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold. Excerpted from Lirael, Daughter of the Clayr by Garth Nix All rights reserved by the original copyright owners. Excerpts are provided for display purposes only and may not be reproduced, reprinted or distributed without the written permission of the publisher.</anon>
Reviews provided by Syndetics
School Library Journal Review
Gr 7 Up-Lirael has never fit in with her hundreds of cousins, the Clayr. Orphaned, lonely, shy, and painfully aware of her physical differences from them, she also lacks their Sight of the future. However, when her skill with magic and her companion, the Disreputable Dog, help her accomplish a quest foreseen hundreds of years before, the Clayr entrust her with an even more perilous search. Elsewhere in the Old Kingdom, Prince Sameth, son of King Touchstone and the Abhorsen Sabriel, is convinced he is unfit for his inherited duties. Slated to succeed his mother in protecting the Kingdom from the ravages of the Dead, he finds that his first journey into Death has left him too frightened to return. Despite his fears, he sets out to rescue a friend headed into danger. Lirael's and Sameth's paths converge, and they learn more about their pasts and the nature of the Old Kingdom's magic as they continue their quest together. While less immediately appealing than Sabriel, the heroine of Nix's first book about the Old Kingdom, (HarperCollins, 1996), the two teen protagonists share a mixture of insecurity and courage that will speak to adolescent readers. The fast-paced plot is packed with harrowing encounters with necromancers and magical foes. Nix continues to unfold the mysteries of the Old Kingdom, exploring the haunting and unusual, exhaustively and flawlessly conceived connections among its rulers and guardians, and the magic that infuses them all. A must-read for fans of the first book, Lirael will also fascinate readers new to the series.-Beth Wright, Fletcher Free Library, Burlington, VT (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Gr. 7^-12. Years have passed since the events in Sabriel (1996). The Old Kingdom is again under threat, this time from a sinister necromancer bent on freeing an ancient, incredibly evil being. Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr, despairs of ever gaining the gift of Sight that will mark her as an adult. Even so, she finds the fate of the kingdom in her hands and in those of Sameth, teenage son of the Abhorsen Sabriel and King Touchstone. With the help of the Disreputable Dog and Mogget, an elemental bound in the body of a cat that serves the Abhorsen, Lirael and Sameth wage a deadly war to stop the evil forces. There is some contrivance in the story, but the characterizations are appealing, and Nix not only maintains the intricate world he created for the earlier book but also continues the frenetic pace of the action and the level of violence. The cliffhanger ending sets readers up for a third book, to be called Abhorsen. --Sally Estes
Horn Book Review
Sabriel's quest to find her father begins without warning when she is pulled from her life at a select private school and plunged into the Old Kingdom, a world of magic, spells, and mystery. In the sequel, Lirael's adventure starts in the Great Library of Clayr, whose ""old levels"" are so hazardous they can only be entered armed. The pressurized sense of danger that drives these fantasies makes both of them ideal choices for audio. Curry is a master of the deftly placed pause, using silence the way an artist uses negative space. The voice he chooses for the narrator, deliberate and grave, is a foil for his seamless transits from character to character. And at over twenty-five hours in recorded time, there is ample opportunity for listeners to take root in Nix's richly imagined landscape. (c) Copyright 2010. The Horn Book, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Kirkus Book Review
In a riveting sequel to his acclaimed Sabriel (not reviewed), Nix recreates his trademark mélange of horror and fantasy. For the 18 years that King Touchstone and Queen Sabriel have battled necromancers and their Dead minions, orphaned Lirael has grown up among the Clayr sisterhood. Bereft of their prophetic Sight, she finds consolation in their labyrinthine library, honing her magecraft amid its ancient tomes and artifacts, and solace in the company of the Disreputable Dog of ambiguous magical provenance. Meanwhile, Prince Sameth has left school, shamed by his less-than-regal character, and terrified of inheriting Sabriels duties opposing the Dead. But when a long-buried evil begins stirring up necromantic menaces and meddling in inter-kingdom politics, Lirael and Sam are forced to abandon their fears and dreams in order to shoulder burdens they could never imagine. This is pure-quill epic fantasy, with satisfyingly intricate world building that still propels the plot. Nix subtly invests minor characters, objects, even the landscape with vivid life, and his villains are acidulous distillates of pure malevolence. Lirael and Sameth possess rich personalities, sufficient to sustain the complex parallel narrative in which they do not meet until near the conclusion; in a refreshing departure from gender stereotypes, Lirael is mature, restrained, and analytical, while Sam is passionate, impulsive, and creative. The sarcastic feline familiar, Mogget, and the engagingly enigmatic Disreputable Dog add charm and sly humor to a tale that would otherwise be desperately grim. Readers who like their fantasy intense in action, magisterial in scope, and apocalyptic in consequences will revel in every word, especially the last three: To be continued. (Fiction. YA)