beccaelizabeth (beccaelizabeth) wrote,

Lirael, by Garth Nix

Lirael is a bit of a frustrating book. Like, I can see it is a complete story, because Lirael starts out with a problem and ends up having more or less solved that initial problem, but the bits that get solved are all her personal growth. The actual outside her head problems all remain. It's frustrating.

Also both Lirael and Sameth, the point of view characters, are epically depressed at various points. One thinks of suicide kind of actively and the other sometimes just gives up for a bit. Sameth has a horribly traumatic first battle and has terrible problems with anxiety and depression thereafter. And unfortunately it makes them awkward and mean and foolish and not easy fun to read about.

And I just spent like ninety percent of the book wondering where these teenage children's caregivers are, and why they were raised to feel they couldn't ask for help, and why absolutely nobody seems to consider mental illness a thing, let alone an obvious consequence of trauma. Then I'd realise the entire kingdom just survived centuries of worse trauma, and have a local definition of normal that just teaches kids rhymes so they know how to avoid undead uprisings, and it's pretty obvious why they don't see the problem. Their own problems make it seem normal. And then there's no one left to be annoyed at, and it's all more depressing.

All the bits with the southern refugees and the government that stubbornly refuses to believe in magic even when it's raising undead armies to kill them... plausible, certainly, but not fun.

So now all the problems are set up, and two teenagers are on hand to do anything about them, and I should to to sleep and leave them hanging between books.

And I don't want to, because from here it mostly seems like mentally ill children in danger. I think I may have left the age range where I can read them growing through trauma into heroism and not just want to yell at the olders who should still be looking after them. Even though I know very well that they're about as old as kids who can join the army in the here now; that don't exactly sit right these days neither.

So basically I like the library bits, but I mostly want to get these kids proper mental health care and get actual mature adults who know what they're doing in to help.

And I'm fed up of magic that runs in bloodlines, too, but that's a different argue and more about politics. Still, it's why responsibilities land with crushing weight on these young people, instead of being taken up by a university full of responsible adults, so, fed up of it.

... I should go write my own stories. People in their forties setting out to have adventures because they've got enough experience in they think they can probably handle them. ... granted no one on their first adventure straight away can handle them, but more mature people can fail in more interesting ways.

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