Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel comes from a long line of necromancers. But instead of bringing the dead back to life, the Abhorsen family takes what has come back to life and returns it to death where it belongs. When her father sends a messenger from death bringing Sabriel his bells and sword -- the special tools of a  necromancer -- she knows her quiet life at school has ended. She must enter The Old Kingdom, her place of birth, yet foreign and lurking with danger, if she is to bring her father, trapped in death by an unknown evil, back to life.

Sabriel was a nice treat. It was classic high fantasy with swords and magic yet it was original. I wasn't sure what to expect and didn't think a story about necromancers would be my thing. But I was hooked from the first page. The idea of using bells as a magical tool was new and I enjoyed it. The descriptions were clear and easy to understand which was good because Nix has created a fascinating world with rules of its own. These "rules" are important in fantasy as they help build the setting and if you're going to bother writing fantasy then the creation of the world is very very important so you better do it right. And Nix does. The descriptions of the necromancer passing between life and death were nothing short of awesome.

The characters were interesting, too. I liked Sabriel. She was hard core and did not become obsessed with the romantic male figure. I appreciated that the focus of this book was not on a romantic relationship but an awesome story. It was refreshing. The secondary characters and villains were engrossing, too. I liked Mogget -- the magical being bound in a cat's body. It's sounds silly, I know, but Nix carries it off. 

Sabriel is a unique and adventurous tale sure to please teenage fantasy fans. This is some of the better storytelling I've come across in YA fiction in a very long time. Don't miss it! 

Publisher: Eos, 2004     Pages: 311
Rating: 5 Stars     Source: Public Library


  1. I loved Sabriel! I'm a huge fan of fantasy so I knew it was something I had to read. Glad you enjoyed it! :)

  2. I loved this book so much. I had a hard time getting into the second one, and still haven't read it. I plan to try it again soon.