Abhorsen by Garth Nix.
By far the best of the three, Abhorsen completes the story of Lirael with life, death, sacrifice and duty.
This book reads like a bullet train. The plot is concise and has a drive that didn't allow for pages of over-elaborate descriptions. A very visual book that I found nicely disturbing in some parts. The thought of a small shard of metal coursing around in someone's blood stream enough to make me cringe while thinking about it.
Lirael and Sameth became more and more likeable further into the book. I was so very relieved at a revelation half way through about a failed murder attempt. Garth Nix is certainly a capable craftsperson with words, I have a very clear vision of each of the 9 gates of death that will stick with me for a long time. I can feel the chill of the river right now! Well no, it's just cold here.
As the last book of a trilogy it is typical that the last chapters are devoted to rounding off storylines from all previous books. Not this book, after the main event has happened and is over, there are only four pages devoted to wrapping up in an epilogue and it's not even about the protagonists! I am looking forward to more stories from this world.