Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen Series #2)

Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen Series #2)

by Garth Nix


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New York Times bestseller Lirael is perfect for fans of epic fantasy like Game of Thrones. In this sequel to the critically acclaimed Sabriel, Garth Nix draws readers deeper into the magical landscape of the Old Kingdom.

Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Abandoned by her mother, ignorant of her father's identity, Lirael resembles no one else in her large extended family living in the Clayr's glacier. She doesn't even have the Sight—the ability to see into possible futures—that is the very birthright of the Clayr. Nevertheless she must undertake a desperate mission under the growing shadow of an ancient evil—one that opposes the Royal Family, blocks the Sight of the Clayr, and threatens to break the very boundary between Life and Death itself. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, to help her, Lirael must find the courage to seek her own hidden destiny.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062315564
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Series: Abhorsen Series , #2
Edition description: Revised
Pages: 512
Sales rank: 107,856
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.40(d)
Lexile: 950L (what's this?)
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Garth Nix is a New York Times bestselling novelist and has been a full-time writer since 2001, but has also worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Garth’s many books include the Old Kingdom fantasy series, beginning with Sabriel and continuing to Goldenhand; the sci-fi novels Shade’s Children and A Confusion of Princes; the Regency romance with magic Newt’s Emerald; and novels for children including The Ragwitch, the Seventh Tower series, the Keys to the Kingdom series, and Frogkisser!, which is now in development as a feature film with Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios. Garth has written numerous short stories, some of which are collected in Across the Wall and To Hold the Bridge. He has also cowritten several children’s book series with Sean Williams, including TroubleTwisters and Have Sword, Will Travel.

More than six million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into forty-two languages. You can find him online at

Read an Excerpt

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 (AER). Copyright © by Garth Nix. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

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Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (Abhorsen Trilogy Series #2) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 335 reviews.
WitchyWriter 9 months ago
Please excuse me while I gush about one of my favorite books ever. SO GOOD. The world you get in Sabriel is amazing and beautiful and dark and you get EVEN MORE of it in Lirael. Not to mention a protagonist who you might be able to identify with a lot more, if you’re anything like me. I actually love Sabriel, but in a way that absolutely pales in comparison to how much I love Lirael, as soon as I read this book. I didn’t know what I was missing, and then there it was, and it was so satisfying. Lirael’s journey starts out with less physical journey-ing in the beginning. Sabriel kind of sets off right away in her book, but Lirael doesn’t do that. For good reason. We get to spend some time really getting to know her fears, her motivations, her history, all the feels before we get plunged into more by-the-map journeying. Mogget is still my favorite, but I know about half the population would like the predominant secondary character in this book more than Mogget. Dog is just—a whole different level. Fans of Ponch from the Young Wizards series will absolutely love her. I absolutely love her, though I still love Mogget just a tiny bit more throughout the books. I think my favorite thing about Lirael, as a character, is that she’s so awkward. She’s realistic, she’s unsure of herself, but brave when she really needs to be. That rings true, for me. So much of this book hit home with me, right in the gut. There’s so much beauty and darkness warring in this world, and within the characters. Life can be sucky and awful sometimes but everyone is still fighting in the name of Life, metaphorically and literally. There’s one particular scene where Lirael sort of finds out who she is, and it’s juxtaposed with another character, Sameth, finding out who he’s not, and it’s just beautiful. Perfectly timed, and perfectly at odds, and since you care about the characters you can feel both feelings. You can probably tell that I enjoy re-reading these books every few years. It’s been awesome to re-read them with actual new content to look forward to, in the form of Goldenhand. New and old fans can be glad that Nix decided to continue this really fabulous series. Keep reading, because you’ll want to get to Goldenhand—spoiler: it’s really good.
January_F on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Ok - annoying that the first book (Sabriel) is a standalone novel, but this book isn't, and is continued in Abhorsen. I'm not sucked into the story, so it might be a while before I start Abhorsen.
farnsworthk on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This book was so good, I had difficulties putting it down. While I really liked Sabriel, I didn't fully appreciate the world-building until I started Lirael and walked through it again. The world in this series is really excellently done and the characters are interesting as well. The real beauty of Lirael is the library though. I can hope Nix revisits it in the next book.
Pool_Boy on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Book two of the trilogy was a very good and quick read. The world is still rich and interesting, but I found the two main characters a tad annoying (whining, complaining, unsure of themselves) - granted this was probably by design, but the two-by-four belaboring this point used was not necessary. That said, this is just a nitpick. Still quite enjoyable and looking forward to the final book of the series.
aleahmarie on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
The second installment of Garth Nix' Abhorsen trilogy surprised me. In book one we watch Sabriel grow up into a top-notch Abhorsen who kicks undead butt. I was really ready to watch her give them hell in book two, but it wasn't meant to be. Instead I only glimpsed Sabriel from afar as seen through the eyes of her nearly grown son, Sameth. Sam is supposed to be the next Abhorsen but he has a nearly phobic aversion to the responsibility. He is such a pitiable figure that it's uncomfortable to be in his skin for any length of time. Luckily, most of the story is told from the point of view of Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr. The Clayr are a community who live in the northernmost reaches of the Old Kingdom and whose responsibility it is to use their Sight to aid the Abhorsen. Lirael is well past the age when she should have received her Sight and finds herself more and more isolated from her sister Clayr. But rather than presenting a pitiful figure, Lirael is a survivor. She finds solace in the library and with her only real friend, the Disreputable Dog.The Clayr have a vision that forces Lirael out of her comfort zone and out of the only home she's ever known. Will she find her true calling? What will it be? Although not what I expected, another fun read from Mr. Nix. I'm quite excited for book three.
alwright1 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lirael is one of the few Clayr not to have received her sight before her 14th birthday. She's never fit in with the rest of the Clayr. She's in despair until she's able to get a job as a (Third Assistant) Librarian in the Great Library. Here Lirael can feed her thirst for knowledge and adventure while avoiding most human contact, until her adventures in the library lead her far from the only home she's ever known. At the same time, Prince Sameth is in line to become the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, b...more Lirael is one of the few Clayr not to have received her sight before her 14th birthday. She's never fit in with the rest of the Clayr. She's in despair until she's able to get a job as a (Third Assistant) Librarian in the Great Library. Here Lirael can feed her thirst for knowledge and adventure while avoiding most human contact, until her adventures in the library lead her far from the only home she's ever known. At the same time, Prince Sameth is in line to become the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, but he's terrified of Death and all Abhorsen business since encountering a necromancer in death during an attack. He's got to find a way to save his kidnapped best friend without having to enter death once again.I have to love awesome librarian characters. I miss Sabriel from the last book, but Lirael has her own strengths, and the Disreputable Dog is wonderful. I can't wait to find out what happens next.
xfry on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I didn't enjoy it as much as the first book, but I did like it. The setup into the next book is a little far fetched, but works. The characters are well fleshed out.
dk_phoenix on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I kept seeing the 'Group Read' thread for this one, and... though I started months after everyone else... I finally succumbed to temptation and picked it up. Of course, now I'm a little miffed because my planned reads pile is enormous enough already without adding [Abhorsen] to it right now, but how can I not read the next book with an ending like that?However, I was rather surprised at how long it took for things to get going in this book. I don't recall the plot being delayed for quite so long in [Sabriel], but at least everything else that happened in [Lirael] was interesting enough to keep me reading regardless of the missing plot. When things did pick up, I saw how the earlier events tied into what was happening, but still... an impatient person might put the book down before then. Mind you, if you're invested in the characters (very easy to do), you'll keep reading & find yourself entertained by it.I also preferred the worldbuilding in [Lirael] to what we had in [Sabriel]. At times in the first book, it felt like explanations were missing, like Nix threw us into a world without direction -- but in here, we get a deeper explanation of the Charter, how Charter stones and symbols work, and (I thought, anyway) a clearer picture of what it means to go into Death.I won't say much else other than this: Don't read it without the third book sitting by your side. When everything comes together, it really comes together, and you'll be itching to start book three as soon as this one ends.
mazeway on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
About half-way through, I thought, "This is the best zombie book ever!" It's supremely creepy,when you really think about what's going on. But it's not about the monsters, and Lirael is a very engaging character. Butt-kicking librarians, what's not to like? When I started it, I was a little annoyed to have lost Sabriel as a main character, as I'd really come to like her, but Lirael replaces her quite nicely.
cookiecat on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
My favourite of the series I think.
conformer on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Perhaps a little overlong, with a drawn-out pair of parallel quest stories, and not enough Sabriel cameos, but a decent follow-up to Garth Nix's counter-fantasy fantasy. As the future Abhorsen incumbent, Lirael of the Clayr is at her most appealing in the first half of the story, when, cursed without the Clayr's gift of precognition, first spirals into suicidal depression, then gets a job as a librarian, a turnaround of events that serves to endear her to the reader through both her semi-pathetic self-loathing and grim spirit.If you read it, prepare to be mad at the end, which all but stops like a train against a wall of cinder block emblazoned with the words, "TO BE CONTINUED." That's right, Nix wrote a 400 page story and couldn't even finish it on time.
CeridwynR on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is one of my favourite books ever, with one of my favourite heroines. It's odd, because Lirael is full of self pity, but I like how active she is about things. Her journey is wonderful. The Disreputable Dog is a fabulously original character and her mystery interests me every time I read about her. I like the deepening of the world we discovered in Sabriel and the ongoing adventures. I like the way Sameth is self-doubting and cowardly but it is then revealed that he's just been caught up in expectations that don't fit with who he is. Both characters hold a beautiful message for young adults in their discovery of who they are versus who they expected or wanted to be.It is really obvious that Lirael and Abhorsen were written together and quite a while after Sabriel.
nm.spring08.t.keeton on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another hit by Garth Nix as he brings in a lot of new characters to love and a lot more adventure to keep you on the edge of your seat. A very different story from Sabriel, Lirael is just as captivating but retains a self figure that makes it much different from the previous or next book but just as good.
babemuffin on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lirael is a Daughter of the Clayr and yet, at 14, she still had not had the Sight. This depresses her most as she feels like she does not belong, an outsider within the family. She avoids speaking to other Clayrs as she can but certain twists of events sent her out of the Glacier into the wide world. The Old Kingdom needs her but what is she supposed to do?Prince Sameth is the son of Touchstone (now King) & Sabriel (now Abhorsen & Queen). He is looked upon as the Abhorsen in waiting but yet he is afraid of Death. He breaks out in cold sweat just thinking of The Book of the Dead - unable to open it, much less study it. The Kingdom faces many threats from different directions, how is Sam supposed to help his mother, the Abhorsen, with these threats when he just cannot make himself walk in Death?
Dog_Ogler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I've just read a few other members' reviews & have noticed a certain amount of complaining (whining, even - ironically) about the emotional challenges and struggles with sense of self that Lirael & Sam go through in this book (& its sequel). I love the fact that Lirael & Sam experience real emotions; it makes them believable and interesting. Many, many people today in Australia & elsewhere suffer from depression, and by creating a lovable, ultimately victorious fantasy hero character who goes on that kind of emotional journey, Nix has taken a risk and done something truly unique. I'm sorry to see that some readers see this as a drawback to the book, as that would suggest that these readers wouldn't be able to deal with emotions like sadness or grief in a friend or even in themselves. And not being able to honestly face one's own difficult emotions (which are inevitable in life, unfortunately) tends to lead to much more serious psychological problems.
willowcove on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Really good series. The first volume is the best though.
francescadefreitas on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
I found Lirael whiny, especially compared to Sabriel, and I was irritated when she chose to keep secrets. But post-series reflection makes me more irritated with the Clayr than with Lirael.
maailmaniag on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
It was a pretty good book, overall.
tiamatq on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
This is, without a doubt, my favorite book in the Abhorsen series. It may have something to do with being a librarian, but I think it has much more to do with Lirael and her insecurities, strengths, and maybe even her dog. I mean, the Disreputable Dog may be the best talking dog EVER. The only time I found myself slowing down with this book is during Sam's parts. I wish I liked Sam more, but he tends to irk me with his whining and avoiding of problems. I'm not sure why I'm cool with Lirael's depression and not Sam's, but there you go. The only thing that makes this book better is listening to Tim Curry read it. This is a great mix of fantasy, a little horror, magic, and some issues that every teen (and older) deals with.
vintage_books on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Another excellent book by Garth Nix, writer of the Abhorsen Trilogy. Similar in storyline to Sabriel, this story is about a new character Lirael, who does not realize she has many unusual and potential talents waiting for her. The book plays up her unqiueness, while introducing the reader to her amazing skills and unknown legacy. A definate read for the fan of the Abhorsen Trilogy.
bell7 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
(Second in a trilogy - spoiler warning for Sabriel)Fourteen some-odd years after Touchstone and Sabriel defeat Kerrigor, all is still not well in the Old Kingdom. Lirael, a daughter of the Clayr, chafes that she cannot See into the future like all her relatives; Prince Sameth, going to school in Ancelstierre, has such a terrible encounter in Death that he fears going back, though he is the Abhorsen-in-waiting.The third-person narrative moves back and forth between Lirael and Sam's points of view, giving readers a more complete but not whole picture of events going on. An unnamed enemy seems to be doing something that is still breaking Charter stones and blocking the Clayr's sight. Neither Lirael nor Sameth are particularly happy with their lot, since they don't seem to fit in with other people's expectations. This was a little annoying at times, but completely understandable (especially as they're teenagers...). In truth, however, they both have important roles to play. Mogget returns, and another talking animal/magical being is introduced - the Disreputable Dog, a character which made me laugh many times by its very doglike behavior.
cay250 on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr. Now, two years past the time when she should have received the Sight that is the Clayr's birthright, she feels alone, abandoned, unsure of who she is. Nevertheless, the fate of the Old Kingdom lies in her hands. With only her faithful companion, the Disreputable Dog, Lirael must undertake a desperate mission against the growing shadow of an ancient evil.
selfmanic on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Utterly love this entire series. The story of Lirael and her quest completely absorb you and swallow you whole. Wonderful read.
stonelaura on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Even though this is a sequel to Sabriel (along with the finale Abhorsen) it was perfectly understandable and entertaining on its own. The careful development of the character, the thorough descriptions of the setting, and the magical elements of the story will attract readers who like their fantasy well-thought-out rather than frivolous and comical. We meet Lirael when she is just turning fourteen and despondent because she has not yet ¿received the sight¿ ¿ the visionary abilities of the Clayr, the women who live a sequestered life in their glacier. Because of this she leads a very solitary existence among the many -- that is, until on one of her many secret ¿explorings¿ she manages to bring the Disreputable Dog to life from an ancient stone statue as she is bravely fighting off a terrible ancient creature found in the depths of the glacier. As the years pass we begin to realize, even if she doesn¿t herself, that Lirael is a very talented young lady, even without the sight, so it¿s no surprise when she is called upon one day to sail off to rescue a young man the Clayr have seen in one of their visions. We have met this man in the parallel story that begins about a quarter of the way through the book. Nick is the best friend of Prince Sameth, the Abhorsen-in-waiting (the next necromancer after his mother Sabriel). It seems that Nick is being used for nefarious purposes by the evil necromancer Hedge, and Sam and Lirael must come to Nick¿s rescue, the outcome of which we will discover in the last book, Abhorsen. The considered pacing of the story is lightened by the dry comments of the Disreputable Dog and Moggit, the sleepy talking cat who seems to accompany Sameth everywhere.
tloeffler on LibraryThing More than 1 year ago
Second book in the Abhorsen trilogy. Lirael doesn't understand why she does not have the Sight as all other Daughters of the Clayr do. She is past the age when it shows up for everyone else, and her impatience is expressed in defiance of rules. Sameth is the son of Sabriel and Touchstone from Book 1, and although he is supposed to be the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, he doesn't want to be. He runs away in search of his friend, meets up with Lirael, and they learn some interesting things about each other, as they adventure into the next book of the series!