I read LIRAEL first even thought it's the second book in the series and really enjoyed it even though it ends with a cliff-hanger (I hate cliff-hangers). Then I went back and read SABRIEL and I have to agree with Margaret and Preeti -- it wasn't particularly interesting. Margaret said it best:
I think that the reason the book didn't particularly grab me was that there was very little emotional involvement between any of the characters and thus I was not emotionally involved.Lirael is one of the Clayr, a group of women who have the sight. All girls usually undergo a change between 9-12 and gain the gift of fore-sight. Lirael still hasn't changed by the age of 14 and is devastated and feels apart. She comes to the attention of the head Clayr and is given the job of librarian. Being a librarian is a dangerous job (thought this was really cool). The library is *huge*, with many long corridors and locked, spelled rooms containg all kinds of magic books. Librarians are given swords in case something escapes from the books and out of the magic rooms. Lirael loves being a librarian and unbeknownst to anyone manages to teach herself magic, fight magic creatures, and create a fascinating friend.
Sameth, is the son of Sabriel and Touchstone. He is the Abhorsen in waiting, but is terrified of death after an encounter with a necromancer. He's afraid to tell anyone of his crippling fear and feels completely inadequate.
Sameth and Lirael end up meeting as they try to figure out what power is causing problems and unrest in the west. There's a terrific surprise towards the end of the book when Lirael's destiny becomes apparent.
I'm looking forward to February when the third volume, ABHORSEN, comes out.--Edith (12 Nov 02)