Sabriel by Garth Nix
Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy, and tells the story of Sabriel, daughter to Abhorsen and student of Wyverley College. Sabriel is coming to the end of her studies and is anxious to speak with her father about her choices for life after school. But when your father is the Abhorsen, necromancer, binder of the dead to death, what choices can you possibly have? A messenger from the other side, however, makes the choice for Sabriel as it becomes clear her father is trapped in death but not yet dead! How will Sabriel find him and who is the enemy she must face that has placed her father in this perilous place. Sabriel's quest begins but time is against her as is, it seems, most of the dead.
Aimed predominantly at the young adult market but appealing to adults alike this is the first Garth Nix book I have read. Whilst the prologue is written to grab your attention; which it most definately succeeds in doing, I must admit to finding the first part of the book less arresting. I must admit to plodding through the first half of the book, not uninterested but not entirely gripped.
"Charter Magic flared on Cloven Crest again, and Thralk sensed that it was strong and pure - but weakly cast. The strength of the magic scared him, but the lack of skill behind it was reassurig and strong magic meant a strong life. Thralk needed that life, needed it to shore up the body he used, needed it to replenish the leakage of his spirit back into Death. Greed won over the fear. The Dead thing left the mouth of the cave and started climbing the hill, his lidless, rotting eyes fixed on the distant crest."
The addition of 'Mogget' a character Sabriel finds at her father's house, brings much needed humour as do the Sendings, beings of Charter Magic, which appears to be magic used for good, whereas Free Magic can be used for both good and evil. There is also some excellent action quite early on in the story, no less the introduction of a most disagreeable being, the Mordicant, that certainly set the pulse racing.
The first part of any book I suppose is in some part given over to builing the characters, laying down the plot and giving form to the world around them; it's just that, the world of The Old Kingdom, where Sabriel must journey seems more than just bleak, it seems disjointed somehow and I really struggled to visualise it and let myself, my imagination, join Sabriel there.
No matter, for it is the second half of the book that really brings everything to life; even those that are dead! Sabriel finds and saves Touchstone, a young man who has been bound in an undead limbo for 200 years and who holds the key to Sabriel's quest to find her father the introduction of this character also brings a more rounded dimension to Sabriel, which seems somehow missing in the first part of the story.
The second part of the book picked up an immense pace, so much so I almost finished the book without realising just how much I had read; real 'can't put down' stuff. The build to the climax keeps you turning those pages without stopping for breath and the resulting resolution is very neat and definately different.
So is this a book of two halves? Well, it has obviously not been written that way and as this winner of many awards some (many?) would argue it doesn't read that way, but I can only give my personal opinion as to my reading experience of this book. It is a very enjoyable book it just took a while for me to immerse myself into it, but once there, fantastic. I'll certainly be reading more Garth Nix and now I am more accustomed to his writing style I hope to enjoy his books even more.
This Sabriel book review was written by Amanda White
All reviews for: The Abhorsen Chronicles
The Abhorsen Chronicles: Book 1
Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy, and tells the story of Sabriel, daughter to Abhorsen and student of Wyverley College. Sabriel is coming to the end of her...
The Abhorsen Chronicles: Book 2
Lirael has never felt like a true daughter of the Clayr, a powerful group of clairvoyant oracles responsible for assisting the Abhorsen and the Royal Family in keeping the ...
Have you read Sabriel?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Sabriel reader reviews
Elaine from Sweden
What amazed me was the magic system and the fact the main protagonist and her father are necromancers. In most fantasy books I've read so far, necromancers are evil and/or undead themselves and usually the bad guys of the story; even if used by the good guys, necromancy remains black magic. Not so amazing was the rest of it: the plot is rather predictable and the characters would've needed more depth and development.
Ethan from USA
This book creates a very imaginative and creative world and magic system, but the plot draws a blank line. Absolutely no plot twists whatsoever, and everything was predictable. One of the worst books I have read minus 50 Shades of Grey.
6.5/10 from 3 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
The Weirdstone of Brisingamen
When Colin and Susan are pursued by eerie creatures across Alderley Edge, they are saved by the Wizard. He takes them into the caves of Fundindelve, where he watches over t...
The Dark is Rising Sequence
On holiday in Cornwall, the three Drew children discover an ancient map in the attic of the house that they are staying in. They know immediately that it is special. It is ...
Three Hearts and Three Lions
The gathering forces of the Dark Powers threaten the world of man. The legions of Faery, aided by trolls, demons and the Wild Hunt itself, are poised to overthrow the Realm...
His name is West. Her name is Cally. They speak different languages and come from different countries thousands of miles apart, but they do not know that. What they do know...
The Chrestomanci Series
Diana Wynne Jones
Orphans Eric Chant (nicknamed Cat) and his sister Gwendolen, a gifted witch, are whisked away to live in a castle with Chrestromanci, a much-revered man of magic, wealth an...
It has lain lost and forgotten for fifteen hundred years in the ancient heartland of England – a scrap of glass and metal melded by fierce fire. It is the lost core o...
Charlie Keeper has been forced from her home by a bloodthirsty and terrifying stranger. But in escaping she discovers her house holds the gateway to the Realm of Bellania -...
The Tragedy Paper
Every year at an exclusive private boarding school in New York state, the graduating students uphold an old tradition – they must swear an oath of secrecy and leave b...
The Very Best of Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint
Charles de Lint, a fantasy author who has left the same mark on the genre of myth and legend much as the likes of Sir Thomas Malory, Christian Anderson, Grimm, who has foun...
The Testament of Tall Eagle
John R Fultz
A young warrior's vision-quest unveils an alien city full of magic and mystery. As a tribal rift threatens to destroy Tall Eagle's people, night-crawling devils sta...
Out of Oz
The marvellous land of Oz is knotted with social unrest: The Emerald City is mounting an invasion of Munchkinland, Glinda is under house arrest, and the Cowardly Lion is on...
Alif the Unseen
G Willow Wilson
He calls himself Alif - few people know his real name - a young man born in a Middle Eastern city that straddles the ancient and modern worlds. When Alif meets the aristocr...
After an inexplicable catastrophe on Earth, John Bridgeman is left to scrap out a solitary existence, surrounded by bodies and haunted by the girlfriend he cannot allow to ...
R.H. Ragona's Circus of Magic is the greatest circus of Ellada. Nestled among the glowing blue Penglass - remnants of a mysterious civilisation long gone - are wonders ...
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages:
- Recommended high fantasy books/series
- Recommended parallel universe / Alternate reality books
- Recommended young adult fantasy books
Best of 2016
A small group of commuters and tube workers witness a fiery apocalypse overtaking London. They make their escape through a service tunnel. Reaching a door they step through......
It is for the entities known as Sleepwalkers to cross the doors between dreams, and hunt the nightmares that haunt sleeping minds. Theirs is a world of impossible vistas, wher...
Books of the Month
A selection of books - old and new alike - that were a joy to read.
When Vivian is evacuated from London in 1939, she expects to be staying in the countryside. Instead, she is whisked away to Time City – a place that exists outside time and space. It is a strange and remarkable place, where technology rules – yet important events of both past and future are marked by the appearance of mysterious Time...
The Guns of Empire
As the roar of the guns subsides and the smoke of battle clears, the country of Vordan is offered a fragile peace... After their shattering defeats at the hands of brillian...
At the Convent of Sweet Mercy young girls are raised to be killers. In a few the old bloods show, gifting talents rarely seen since the tribes beached their ships on Abeth....
Events are coming to a climax in the Banished Lands, as the war reaches new heights. King Nathair has taken control of the fortress at Drassil and three of the Seven Treasu...
For Kivrin Engle, preparing an on-site study of one of the deadliest eras in humanity's history was as simple as receiving inoculations against the diseases of the four...
The Banished Lands are engulfed in war and chaos. The cunning Queen Rhin has conquered the west and High King Nathair has the cauldron, most powerful of the seven treasures...