As much as I love Sabriel (both the book and the character!), I was reluctant to read this again. Lirael’s role in the library is awesome, but both she and Sameth are rather too prone to self-pity to stand up well beside Sabriel’s example. Which is part of the whole point, that Sameth’s grown up in his parents’ shadows, but still. While Sameth has serious problems to deal with, he’s also selfish, doesn’t think things through properly, and would do a lot better if he’d open his mouth and let words come out. Sabriel and Touchstone might have a firm idea of their duty is, but I’m pretty sure that they would also understand that Sameth’s sickened fear would actually make a very bad Abhorsen.
Communication, communication, communication. My pet peeve in real life and in fiction, alas.
Lirael is more engaging, despite her bouts of self-pity. They’re more understandable, and she has the Disreputable Dog to put a stop to it as well. Her life in the Clayr’s glacier, her work in the library, her abilities with Charter marks and her explorations, all of those things are fascinating. And the Dog herself, too.
It’s difficult, because I do love this world, but Nix seems to have created a uniquely frustrating character/situation, perfectly balanced to annoy the heck out of me. I think I liked Abhorsen better, so I’m hopeful about that and Clariel, but it was disappointing how much of a struggle this was to reread.