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Lirael

Daughter of the Clayr
By: Garth Nix
Narrated by: Tim Curry
Series: Abhorsen, Book 2
Length: 14 hrs and 44 mins
4.8 out of 5 stars (148 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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 the present and possibly futures, that is the very birthright of the Clayr.

Nonetheless, it is Lirael in whose hands the fate of the Old Kingdom lies. 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.

Don't miss books one and three of this trilogy! Sabriel and Abhorsen.
©2003 Garth Nix (P)2003 Random House, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"A must-listen for fans of the first book, Lirael will also fascinate listeners new to the series." (School Library Journal)

What listeners say about Lirael

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Love This Book

I have read this book numerous times and just finished listening to it for the second time. It never gets old and the excitement is always there, just waiting to be shared. Tim Curry reads very well and assists in capturing all the right moods. The female characters do sound quite masculine, but that is no drama at all. I would highly recommend to anyone - except maybe children. Some concepts might be a little frightening or mature for those under teen years.

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Keeps getting better

I loved it even more than the first book. Tim Curry's narration is pure perfection, wish he narrated all audio books :)

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Another great fantasy book

A great follow up from sabriel filled with high fantasy and mystery, very good story and awesome exploration of Ancelstierre

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Great series.

I have been enthralled with this series so far. Tim Curry has an amazing ability to bring the world and it's characters to life. Moving straight into Abhorsen!

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love this series. love the reading!

I'm new ro audio books but this is one of my favourite series. I really enjoyed it, and Tim Curry was the perfect choice to read these books.

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Prepare to go back to the old kingdom!

Tim Curry's performance is unquestionably brilliant in this audiobook. My fiancé has begged me to read this book for a while, and I think the audiobook certainly does the material justice.

Void of lulls or boring bits, the story surged toward a cliffhanger ending that makes me want to download Abhorsen immediately.

I have the smallest qualm with how weak the protagonists are, especially Prince Sammeth and his ceaseless whining. But I love how Lirael comes to find a hidden strength within herself.

I enjoyed this thoroughly and would reccomend it as a must read/listen.

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tim does it again

I love tim curry's reading of this no silly voices but he still differentiates characters and gives great feeling to the actions and story

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  • Jefferson
  • 18-04-2013

Charter Knows, a Library Can Be a Dangerous Place

In Garth Nix' Lirael: Daughter of the Clayr (2001), the second novel in his Abhorsen trilogy, Touchstone and Sabriel are now the King and Abhorsen (anti-necromancer) of the Old Kingdom lying north of the Wall that separates their land of magic and pesky undead from the world of machines and countries in conflict (reminiscent of our early 20th century world). And things are not well in their Old Kingdom. An unknown "Enemy" is manipulating Necromancers into attacking villages with bands of undead "Hands" and "Shadowhands," while at Red Lake something ominous is happening that even the clairvoyant women of the Clayr are unable to see.

All fourteen-year-old Lirael wants is to gain the Sight like the other girls and women of the Clayr. Her black hair and brown eyes already mark her as too different the others, while her father is unknown and her mother abandoned her when she was a little girl. And each year on her birthday Lirael has grown older without gaining the Sight while increasingly younger girls have come into their own. Luckily, she is given a job as Third-Assistant Librarian in the nautilus shell-like ancient library of the Clayr, which suits the increasingly anti-social and magically curious girl. But poor Sameth, the teenage son of Touchstone and Sabriel, is pulled out of his elite boarding school south of the Wall and returned to the Palace at Bellisaere, where everyone expects him to train to succeed Sabriel as Abhorsen, when he is physically and mentally unable to even touch the Book of the Dead. Instead, he prefers fabricating magical "toys," like a nifty flying, mosquito-eating frog. Both young people are good young adult fantasy Ugly Ducklings: they believe that they are flawed and cannot fit in and yet are really gifted in ways destined to become appreciated.

Despite his young protagonists' morose moods, Nix writes his novel with humor and imagination. He has carefully constructed his magical world, in which most of the Free Magic that randomly pulses everywhere is ordered by the Charter, a seemingly infinite set of marks a bit like Chinese characters which adepts write on paper or in the air to make magic. Necromancers bypass the Charter to tap into Free Magic to do unnatural things like transform dead people into cannon fodder minions, while Charter Mages access it to protect the Kingdom, and the sole Abhorsen walks into Death (leaving his or her frosty body behind in the world) and then rings any of a set of seven bells to force the undead back down through the gates set in the river of Death till they reach their proper state.

Nix has great fun with that setting, imagining various nearly sentient magical books, constructs, sendings, spells, and artifacts. The most enjoyable such magical things in the novel are a pair of droll and mysterious talking "pets," the hungry, spunky, and loving Disreputable Dog, and the sarcastic, cynical, and sleepy white feline Mogget, both of whom are much more than they appear to be. The great thing about it all is that Nix often describes the magic with magical prose, vivid, sensual, and sublime, to evoke a sense of wonder, beauty, and terror (which are nearly absent from YA magical fantasy like the Harry Potter series).

Take, for example, the time Lirael loses control of a spell and "She tried to scream, but no sound came out, only Charter marks that leapt from her mouth towards the golden radiance. Charter marks continued to fly from her fingers, too, and swam in her eyes, spilling down inside her tears, which turned to steam as they fell." Even when nothing magical is happening, Nix may summon magic, as when Lirael is exploring the Library and finds herself in "a vast chamber, bigger even than the Great Hall. Charter marks as bright as the sun shone in the distant ceiling, hundreds of feet above. A huge oak tree filled the center of the room, in full summer leaf, its spreading branches shading a serpentine pool. And everywhere, throughout the cavern, there were flowers. Red flowers. Lirael bent down and picked one, uncertain if it was some sort of illusion. But it was real enough. She felt no magic, just the crisp stalk under her fingers. A red daisy, in full bloom."

And at his best, Nix writes suspenseful scenes that develop his world and characters and excite the reader, as when Lirael meets a stilken (a woman-shaped Free Magic entity with silver eyes and arms as long as her legs ending in the claws of a mantis), or when his heroes sail beneath a mile-wide bridge-city and are targeted by a crossbow bolt shooting assassin and a fiery Free Magic and swine-flesh construct masquerading as human.

When I read Lirael several years ago, I found it overlong and burdened by mopey characters, but I thoroughly enjoyed every bit of the audiobook version, largely thanks to the virtuoso reading of Tim Curry. He deftly balances on the Edge of Too Much, reading with infectious relish lines by foul necromancers gloating over how they're about to kill you or Disreputable mongrels getting ready to sink their teeth into your calf to snap you out of your funk or snarky magical cats asking for fish after just failing to help save your skin. And isn't there a hint of Dr. Frank N. Furter in his Mogget?

Sabriel is a fresher and more self-contained book, whereas Lirael really makes part one of a duology completed by the third volume in the "trilogy," Abhorsen. But fans of imaginative and dark young adult magical fantasy and of Tim Curry should enjoy this book.

11 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Cher R. Eaves
  • 07-10-2007

Stands alone

This thread of the story is close enough to Sabriel to be an old friend, but far enough to be new and interesting. Excellent as sequels go, Lireal doesn't burden the returning reader with reruns of Sabriel. It's a great stand-alone story, too. Tim Curry is the kind of narrator who could enthrall by reading a cereal box.

9 people found this helpful

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  • Arwen
  • 01-07-2012

Artfully crafted coming-of-age fantasy

It was delightful to revisit the series that my twelve-year-old self counted as my absolute favorite of all time. I cannot think of a more talented or appropriate narrator for this book than Tim Curry. Between the excellent prose and Curry's performance, this familiar coming-of-age tale took on a new level of greatness. What I love most about Lireal is Nix's ability to portray a strong, but fallible human being who goes through the same insecurities that we all face while taking on impossible odds. The world of fantasy constructed by Nix is further explored and illuminated in this novel, and if anything, this sequel is better than its predecessor, Sabriel, which is also excellent. I would recommend it to readers of all ages because this book, and series, is one of the most artfully crafted, enthralling, and lingering fantasies I've ever encountered.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Anne C.
  • 16-10-2019

Flawless narration, mediocre story.

This was nowhere near as good as Sabriel. The characters aren't nearly as compelling, although I liked some more than others. My favorite portions were the explorations by Lirael and the Disreputable Dog. It may be awhile before I continue with this series... 3 stars.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Daniel P.
  • 11-08-2019

Just OK just like book one

After the second book in the Abhorsen series, Lirael, I’m still not that impressed. Although I did think this was slightly better than the first book it was just ok to me. I did enjoy the charater of Lirael more than Sabriel and I like the addition of Sammeth but I never really felt that connected to any of the characters. Although Sabriel and Touchstone are still in this book this takes places years after book one and the focus has shifted to a new protagonist, Lirael, and their son Sammeth. Just like the first book, this book wasn’t all bad though and I enjoyed the side characters more than the main characters. The Disreputable Dog was a good addition and we got more to see more of Mogget which is my favorite character of the series. I also like Sammeth’s friend Nick and his view on magic and the world, I’d like to have seen a bit more of his character in the story though. The world and magic systems are also interesting but I’d just like to know more about both of them. I’m not sure what it is but this book is almost good and if Nix would have provided more information and world building I think this could have been an excellent book. Although I’m not sure what’s going to happen in book three but this book definitely ends on a cliff hanger. It almost seems like book one was written as a stand-alone and I’m assuming books 2 and 3 are going to be like a duology. I’m interested to see how the story ends and I’ll read the third book but unless it really hooks me I doubt I’ll read any other books in the series. As far as the narration goes I’m not a huge fan of Tim Curry for this book. Everything is read clearly and it was a bit better than book one but it’s just a dull reading of the book to me. I guess that fits with my thoughts on the book though, the books just ok and his narration is just ok.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Tcana
  • 11-05-2019

Didn't love it

I really liked Sabriel and was expecting more. There were too many coincidences and stupid decisions that will make you upset .

1 person found this helpful

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  • Bblhoops8
  • 01-03-2019

slow slow EXCITEMENT slow TRUE HORROR

after reading Sabrial this book is starkly different. it's much slower and the characters are absolutely passive in their power over the story. I look forward to Abhorsen to finally finish this story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • A. Standiford
  • 22-10-2018

A bit of a disappointment...

Compared to the first book, this book is disappointing. The two main characters are so whiny and depressed. A lot of the book is them complaining about how awful their life is and feeling sorry for themselves. ughhh.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Robert
  • 01-02-2018

good follow up, but it's no sabriel!

Tim Curry as always was great. My only problem is how whiny Sam and Lirael were, I get that it's who they are but only so much I can take.

1 person found this helpful

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  • AA
  • 03-08-2017

Weak story great world building

Super slow start. Both characters are incredibly insecure and it mainly picked up by the end. But as always the world building and magic are awesome. I did like the cliffhanger!

1 person found this helpful

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  • Mrs H Spurr
  • 09-02-2011

Loved it!

Having loved the books I got these audio versions and haven't been disappointed! The narrator does a fantastic job and I have had many happy hours listening! Already listened to them all twice! Fantastic!

3 people found this helpful

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    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Ian
  • 16-02-2009

Excellent part of the trilogy

We loved Sabriel, and embarked happily on Lirael. It's a good book, and a vital part of the trilogy that culminates with the brilliant Abhorsen. Of all the three, though, this one dragged a tiny bit in places... particularly with the drawn-out angst of Lirael and Sameth as they discover their identities. Still, an excellent book and a guarantor of quiet and happy car journeys.

2 people found this helpful

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  • LittleMissTotoro
  • 19-05-2019

Always a great listen!

This entire series has been the best. Bringing a childhood favourite to life! I listen to all of the books on a cycle of repeat.

1 person found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Debs
  • 01-03-2019

Fantastic

Fantastic follow on from Sabriel, these three books are simply brilliant. And Tim Curry is a fabulous narrator.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ross Holden
  • 18-10-2018

loved it was great from start to finish.

Tim Curry does an excellent job of conveying the drama and brilliance of the characters and the story.

1 person found this helpful

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  • David Connor
  • 18-09-2018

Boatub

Tim Curry is as outstanding as ever! Very enjoyable set up for the third book!

1 person found this helpful

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  • R. Olver
  • 30-08-2018

Feast for the imagination

Very clear that this was the second book in the trilogy, with the plot mainly taken up by character building rather than fast-paced action. The deliberately frustrating self-pitying tendencies of both main characters gradually become easier to deal with as the action increases. The descriptive writing and vivid world are brilliant throughout.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Dawn Martin
  • 21-08-2018

Tim Curry Rocks!

A great book, entertaining, touching and funny, the best characters are the non human and mischievous cat and dog duo!Read with sympathy and brio, highly recommended.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Sophie
  • 08-07-2018

Garth Nix is a genius, performance is alright.

Tim Curry is a legend but I don't think he's really got the characters. He reads them all the same and the different voices are not that great. This trilogy (at the time I first read them, it was only a trilogy!!!) is absolutely brilliant and Garth Nix is a genius.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Kevin Glover
  • 03-04-2018

Garth Nix and Tim Curry/spaghetti and meatballs!

Stephen Fry reading anything at all, Rob Inglis reading Tolkien and Philip Pullman reading his own books. It REALLY makes all the difference in the world to get a narrator that fits as perfectly as these pairs, Tim Curry does that for Garth Nix, excellent book preformed to perfection

1 person found this helpful