This is most definitely a novel written to conclude a trilogy, and it works well as that. It is not, however, the sort of book which you could pick up and read on its own. Well, I guess you could, but it would probably leave you pretty confused.
It's a suitable ending to the series; all the knots are tied off, Sabriel and Touchstone feature (something I missed in 'Lirael') and Lirael finds out exactly why she was never chosen to be a true Clayr. It's just not as good as 'Sabriel' - possibly because, as sadly often happens with book sequences, by the time the conclusion is out, your enthusiasm has waned rather.
If you can, read 'Sabriel' and 'Lireal' first - re-read them if you've read them once. Trust me, you'll get far more out of the novel.
Abhorsen, the brilliant conclusion of the "Old Kingdom Trilogy", basically sums up the events that take place as Lirael and Sameth leave the Abhorsen's House.
Desparate to defy the Dead (note capital letter) who have reawakened against nature's laws, Lirael and Sameth travel down to Ancelstirre in hope to find Sameth's friend Nicholas, gone missing, and to capture and bind into death the necromancer and sorcerer Hedge, who is awakening the Dead.
However, that is not all they have to confront. With a sudden discovery about a ninth Great Spirit, somehow linked with Sameth's frind Nichloas, things may as well be written in a death book... so, we ask that common question: will they (Lirael and Sameth) be enough to face this monster? And what of Sabriel?
Excellent Book! At the beginning, We find Lirael and Sam in the Abhorsen House, Figuring how to escape as "Chlorr" (dead necromancer, brought by Hedge)and her army of dead are surrounding the house in a fog. The Adventure starts in immediatly. You really have to pay attention, as every little thing is vital to understand what's going on. At the end, Nix leaves a few things unanswered, but not many. It a really good book, and I reccomend it! But, of course, read "Sabriel" and "Lirael" first to completely know what's going on. I loved it!