I'm going to go ahead and say it: these books are better than HDM. The reason is that at NO POINT do these characters ever turn into mouthpieces for the authors own agenda, and therefore they are far more convincing to the end. Sabriel is an exciting, orginal piece of fantasy - Lirael and Abhorsen togehter fully deserve the name 'masterpiece'. Not only are we presented with an intensely real and multi-layered fantasy world which leaves you itching to explore, but also truly human characters with quirks, strengths, fears and flaws (even the non-human ones). Mogget and Dog are brilliant creations, at one time the essence of ambiguous cat and loyal dog and also of unhuman supernatural semi-deities. I think that Garth Nix changed the face of children's fantasy with these books, opening the door to the cross-over audience in a way that no other author, even Pullman or Rowling, have done. Complex, welll written and perfectly paced, these books are the cream of the cream of fantasy fiction, and have a permanent place on my shelf.
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