To me, Abhorsen is all about duty and honour; it’s importance and how difficult it can truly be to pursue such a calling in life. Saving the world from certain doom is a great calling, if you are not the one who has to shoulder that responsibility. Lirael grabs this responsibility and her birthright with both hands and clings on. The way that she takes on a world of pain and obligation that she never thought was hers is inspiring and beautiful. It is a great reminder of the ways in which we should all grow a backbone and take charge of our own lives and destinies.
Lirael has long been one of my favourite literary heroines. She doesn’t quite fit in with her family, is immensely insecure, and is seriously struggling to find her place in life. Her multi-layered creation and the vulnerability in her tale pulls at the heart strings, and makes her all the more relatable to everyone who has struggled to find their place in life. From their teens to adulthood.
I love that this is a series about necromancers – it is different and unique in a way that no other series I have read is. The binary distinction between life and death is echoed in the wall between ‘The Old Kingdom’ and ‘Ancelstierre’. The anti-necromancer, or Abhorsen, just made the entire tale all the more entrancing – partner this with beautiful writing and an entrancing storyline, and I dare you not to fall in love with Sabriel.
Things went seriously wrong in Drink Deep, (although, there was a silver lining at the end) and Biting Cold is all about fixing these mistakes. Chasing down Mallory, coming to terms with Ethan’s return and just generally pursuing the personification of power gone wrong leads to an incredibly fast paced book that starts as soon as you break the spine of the book.
Neill has been brilliantly unfolding her supernatural Chicago throughout the Chicagoland Vampires series. As Merit slowly unfolds her new supernatural reality, we too are able to find out more about the world of things that go bump in the night. And in Drink Deep, Merit’s (and our) awareness of this world is expanded tenfold. This slow filtering of information and unfurling of their world slowly, but surely draws me into the reality of the world of Cadogan.
The ending of Hard Bitten shocked me in a way that no other book has – Neill did something to her main character that I have always wanted to do in my own work. The amazingly unpredictable finish to this story made me grab for the next book immediately – I just couldn’t believe that Neill would actually do that in her story. But, I digress, you’ll just have to read this book yourself to gain a true understanding of how amazingly potent and powerful a finale Hard Bitten had.
Ethan honestly irritated me – a lot in this story. I understand the tension between the characters, and his damage does make the tantalising love story in the background all the more spine-tingling and breath-taking. But, he was kind of an ass throughout. Partly that very frustration kept me turning the pages of the book, but it also made it easier to put down and walk away from. Being so frustrated with a literary character that you kind of want to hurl the book across the room might indicate that I get a little too attached, but it is also a great indication of how crappy they are being.
Some Girls Bite left Merit in a bit of an uncomfortable position. She had a lot of power, and a new place in the world – but it wasn’t one of her choosing and this very circumstance left her unhappy and in an emotionally compromised position. Friday Night Bites may primarily be about flinging her back into a world of political intrigue, but it is also about Merit coming to terms with this new turn in her life.
I read this book in one night, which is always a great sign of its ability to hold my attention and fascination. This story has a good, easy pace with just the right amount of intrigue within the story. It is also based around a university student who is working towards her postgrad – the realm of study and no money one that I am all too familiar with.
I would love for this short story to be part of a much bigger series – it caught me and fascinated me in the first paragraph. I thoroughly enjoyed the urban fantasy setting and the idea of witches each having his or her own type of power – they have limitations, just like everyone else. Caine was able to build a wonderfully realistic world that sat perfectly within our own.