This reader's personal opinion, ©2018, all rights reserved, not to be quoted, clipped or used in any way by goodreads, Google Play, amazon.com or other commercial booksellers*
I'm glad I read this after Sabriel. It's hard for me to give this one a star rating. From the first book, I was intrigued by the Clayr (seers in their own society) and what happened next with the Abhorsen, the Old Kingdom, etc.
It's a very good book that suffers from comparison to first in series. Seriously, this is a good fantasy genre book.
I'm not sure I completely warmed up to Lirael, though. I think my problem was that about the time I'd start to or the story got interesting, it would change. The library and the dog (avatar? nicer version of Mogget?) could really have gotten interesting on their own. So before that was Lirael as someone not yet finding her place with the Clayr. So after that was Lirael traveling to Old Kingdom to confront necromancer and join characters from the first book. Any of those three would have made a good book; putting all three in one book made it sort of the lite version. Didn't leave a lot of room for developing other characters, including Prince Sameth (son of Sabriel and a Touchstone, the h/H of first book) despite a lot of chapters from his POV. No romance, which worked well for this tale (particularly given some spoilers).
Lacked the intensity but more happened than in first book. No cliffhanger ending, but also no real surprises (and I'm usually easily surprised). Behind the necromancer and a lot of the still unresolved political machinations is a never revealed Big Bad. Which, while slightly disappointing, points to this possibly being a "filler" in the series.
I think I would have starred it higher or lower had I not expected more from a book about a Clayr librarian.
*©2018. All rights reserved except permission is granted to author or publisher (except Penumbra Publishing) to reprint/quote in whole or in part. I may also have cross-posted on Libib, LibraryThing, and other sites including retailers like kobo and Barnes and Noble. Posting on any site does not grant that site permission to share with any third parties or indicate release of copyright.
Ratings scale used in absence of a booklikes suggested rating scale:
★★★★★ = All Time Favorite
★★★★½ = Extraordinary Book. Really Loved It.
★★★★☆ = Loved It.
★★★½☆ = Really Liked.
★★★☆☆ = Liked.
★★½☆☆ = Liked parts; parts only okay. Would read more by author.
★★☆☆☆ = Average. Okay.
★½☆☆☆ = Disliked or meh? but kept reading in hopes would improve.
★☆☆☆☆ = Loathed It. Possibly DNF and a torturous read.
½☆☆☆☆ = So vile was a DNF or should have been. Cannot imagine anyone liking. (Might also be just an "uploaded" word spew or collection that should not be dignified by calling itself a "published book." If author is going batshit crazy in the blogosphere over reviews -- I now know why they are getting bad reviews. Or maybe author should take remedial classes for language written in until basic concepts like using sentences sink in. Is author even old enough to sign a publishing contract or do they need a legal guardian to sign for them?)