I’ve noticed that most blogs have a few books or series that they talk about constantly, no matter how obscure the book might be. For Virtually Read, one of those series is The Old Kingdom Chronicles by Garth Nix, but until recently, they were Shanti’s fandom. Once she spent a whole week blogging only about Garth Nix. She fangirls about them all the time. But I gave this series a second chance, and I’m so glad I did. This is the second Old Kingdom book, and here is a list of reasons to love it.
Reasons you will like Lirael
- The Disreputable Dog. Everybody loves a good animal sidekick, right? This strangely magical, loveable, and very practical Dog is one of the best animal sidekicks ever. She’s very sarcastic and helpful and talks and is just the best.
- The Great Library of the Clayr As fictional libraries go, this only comes second to the Great Library of Zosma in Strange the Dreamer, but is a more important setting than the library in that book is. It’s huge and full of mysterious rooms and dangerous creatures and strange situations. I loved how the setting of the library (and the Clayr’s glacier in general) was so well built.
- Lirael shows you don’t have to be talkative to be strong There’s so many outgoing heroes? But Lirael literally talks to as few people as possible, hides behind her hair at the slightest sign of attention, and writes notes instead of talking. But she’s still a very powerful and courageous charter mage, and totally a strong and shy heroine. She’s bookish and strong.
- Your sister won’t spoil it for you Well, I hope that she won’t if you have one. Shanti revealed a very spoilery piece of information that comes at the end of lirael once when trying to persuade me to read them, and I somehow remembered ever since. So if you read it, you can be happy that this doesn’t happen to you.
- Fantasy can still confront real-life issues I’m pretty sure this isn’t a big spoiler, but the issue of refugees and what to do with them is very relevant both to Australia (in 2001 and now) and Ancelstierre. (I don’t know if I’m spelling that right. It was an audiobook. But that spelling looks right)
- Teenage angsty princes They’re a little spoiled but ultimately mean well, plus are really angsty. Much angst. Much lack of communication.
- Magical boats I tried sailing this summer, and it was interesting but required a lot of knowledge. Now I just want a sailboat that can practically steer itself, doesn’t need any help tacking, and listens when you say you want to dock.
- Amazing magical tools Pan pipes, mosquito-catching frogs, clockwork mice that scurry around, miniature bells. The magic system is soooo fun.
- Creepiness, but the right level I often can’t handle too much creepiness in books. But even all these creepy dead creatures and strange magic somehow just fitted the aesthetic and didn’t scare me.
Lirael is a jolly good book, and I don’t mind that The Old Kingdom Chronicles are becoming a Virtually Read ‘thing’. If you don’t read them, its your fault.