If you’re looking for a dash of Lord of the Rings in your next YA paranormal novel, Garth Nix‘s Old Kingdom Series should NOT be missed.
The YA fantasy trilogy is set in a colorful, complex world similar to, you guessed it, J. R. R. Tolkien’s sweeping Middle Earth.
The first book, Sabriel, tells the story of an 18-year-old necromancer who, unlike her evil counterparts, binds spirits and sends them to their final death beyond the Ninth Gate. This job was given to Sabriel’s family, the Abhorsen line, as part of the “Charter,” the magical entity of good and order in the Old Kingdom.
The tool of Sabriel’s trade used to bind undead spirits is seven bells, each named for the makers of the Charter. Each bell has its own power over the dead AND the Abhorsen, if he or she isn’t careful.
In the second book, Lirael, readers will learn more about the Abhorsen, the Clayr (seers) and the royal family. The title character, Lirael, is spunky, funny and brave – and that’s before she finds her trusty sidekick, the Disreputable Dog (One of my personal favorite characters.)
Abhorsen, the third and final book in the Old Kingdom Trilogy, takes place immediately after Lirael ends. In Abhorsen, all the balls set rolling in the first two books come to a satisfying stop.
Bells of the Abhorsen:
Ranna, the sleeper: Sleep is a fruitless endeavor until you’ve finished Sabriel.
Mosrael, the waker: Sabriel will quite literally wake a hunger in you to immediately read the followup, Lirael, which takes place 14 years after the events of Sabriel.
Kibeth, the walker: Like Sabriel and Lirael, you would walk many leagues to save the ones you love from bad fiction.
Dyrim, the speaker: It would not be unusual if you began telling everyone you know about Sabriel, the Old Kingdom and necromancy in general.
Belgaer, the thinker: Garth Nix’s mythology will get you thinking – could death really be like a river pushing the dead through nine gates? And just how awesome is it that one girl and seven bells could face the undead?
Saraneth, the binder: It’s going to be hard to let this series go. I promise.
Astarael, the weeper: Yes. I did weep at the end of the final book in the Old Kingdom trilogy, Abhorsen. Nix masterfully weaved together several plot lines that came together in an earth-shattering way.