Lirael gets to truly find her destiny alongside her faithful dog companion and her new nephew Sam. The chemistry between Lirael and Dog is the heart of the story. This is really a girl and her dog adventure. For all the magic and wisdom the Dog displays throughout, it's the moments where she displayed the most dog-like qualities that really made their relationship work. Sam wasn't as frustrating this time, his scenes don't derail the story like they did in Lirael. Both characters go on an adventure of self-identity that culminates in a dramatic finale. Once again Sabriel gets sidelined, which isn't a big deal now that her book is really a standalone feature in the Old Kingdom world. When it was part of the "trilogy" it was a little annoying to have such a fantastic character abandoned for the newbies. Conversely, now that Goldenhand has been added to the series, Abhorsen may become more of the second entry in Lirael's own trilogy. I haven't yet read it though because I wanted to reread Lirael and Abhorsen first. I'm really glad I did that because this is Lirael's big moment to make a name for herself. My only critiques of the adventure revolve around the villains. Orannis is good as the Galactus-esque Destroyer of Worlds, that's his purpose. Yet their solution once he's defeated is to do the same thing as before. What's to stop another evil necromancer doing the same thing Hedge and Chlorr did to set off the whole quest? As for Hedge, what was his motivation for helping Orannis? He'd get to rule over the Dead, but that seems rather boring after a while. Everything else worked really well for me, and I'm excited to finally plunge into Goldenhand.