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Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen seri Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn't always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.


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Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen seri Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn't always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

30 review for Sabriel

  1. 5 out of 5

    Kat Kennedy

    I picked this book up from the library and noticed stickers on the book declaring that it was part of a reading challenge here in NSW for grades 7-8. "This book is acceptable to read for 12-13 year olds? Fuck me, can we turn around and go back to the library?" I asked my husband. He shook his head and smiled at me. "Just try it. You never know." "It's for twelve-to-thirteen year olds! No sex! No swearing! Minimum violence! I don't fucking think so!" In the end, we brought it home and I sulked the wh I picked this book up from the library and noticed stickers on the book declaring that it was part of a reading challenge here in NSW for grades 7-8. "This book is acceptable to read for 12-13 year olds? Fuck me, can we turn around and go back to the library?" I asked my husband. He shook his head and smiled at me. "Just try it. You never know." "It's for twelve-to-thirteen year olds! No sex! No swearing! Minimum violence! I don't fucking think so!" In the end, we brought it home and I sulked the whole way. However yesterday I opened it up and thought I'd actually give it a try and I'm really glad it did. It actually managed to have more romance in it than Darkfever did, and that bloody book has NAKED people on the front cover, for crying out loud! I thought this was going to be a story about a young girl on a magical adventure with a sword and a bad hair-do. But it turns out it's about an eighteen year old woman with dark, deadly skills being chased and hunted by a terrible and deadly enemy. Sabriel has a good, clear head on her shoulder. She's smart, she's strong, she's a well-balanced and interesting character. The characters in Sabriel are all interesting and capturing in their way. Mogget was just pure win. He cracked me up. Touchstone was annoying at first but quickly won me over. The world is interesting and complex, filled with enough creepy things that go bump in the night to really freak me out. That's the best thing about this book. It's not TRYING to be a children's book. The rising action, climax and VERY short denouement had me on the edge of my seat. I was actually on the edge of my seat throughout most of the book. In some parts it's really freaky and quite scary, in other parts it's sad. This is the second male author I've come across lately that has written female characters BETTER than the women have been writing them lately. You can't even compare Sabriel to a character like Bella. Unless you were to really dumb it down into this: Bella - sucks, Sabriel - awesome beyond all belief. Give this book a go. It was fun, scary, action packed and I absolutely can't wait to read the sequels!

  2. 5 out of 5

    Miranda Reads

    3.5 stars Death and what came after death was no great mystery to Sabriel. She just wished it was. Sabriel and her father have a very unique brand of magic. They can communicate with the dead and the damned from the Old Kingdom. Only they can confront such creatures and send them back to the gates of death. Then, during the first semester of Sabriel's school, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing and Sabriel is unwittingly promoted to the Abhorson. Does the walker choose the path, or the path 3.5 stars Death and what came after death was no great mystery to Sabriel. She just wished it was. Sabriel and her father have a very unique brand of magic. They can communicate with the dead and the damned from the Old Kingdom. Only they can confront such creatures and send them back to the gates of death. Then, during the first semester of Sabriel's school, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing and Sabriel is unwittingly promoted to the Abhorson. Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? With the dead creeping ever closer to her friends and countrymen, Sabriel must go to find her father before it's too late and he transverses through one gate of death too many. Do not tarry, do not stop, no matter what happens. I've heard so many wonderful things about this one...that I...welll....I expected a little bit more... I just never felt a connection to this book - the magic, the characters, the plot - all meh to me. This book relies heavily on Charter Magic - which, from what I can tell, involves speaking certain words and following strict rules that are never fully explained to the audience. The most frustrating part is that there's no build to the magic, it's just there. It's kind of like if you jumped into the seventh Harry Potter book without the first few novels of magical background - it was frustratingly complex. The other thing that really bugged me was the "love" interest. Sabriel and the "love" interest were essentially acquaintances (or perhaps pals, if you want to stretch it) but all of a sudden, before the big battle, THIS happens: "I love you," he whispered. "I hope you don't mind. And I'm just sitting there like, what? When did this happen? Between the magic mayhem and the bland-to-non-existent-love, I never formed an emotional connection to any of the main characters or the plot (other than Mogget - Mogget was the shining star in the clouded night). It felt like I was being dragged on a journey rather than eagerly plunging into a new series. Maybe I'll feel more connected in book 2? Anyone else feel the same? Audiobook Comments Read by Tim Curry - and honestly this audio did the book NO favors. It was SO frustrating to have all these really cool concepts and absolutely NO excitement from the narrator. No tone. No characterization - other than Mogget. YouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Facebook | Snapchat @miranda_reads

  3. 5 out of 5

    Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin

    UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US 8/22/19 Tim Curry rocks the narration 😊💕 "Yes," said Abhorsen. "I am a necromancer, but not of the common kind. where others of the art raise the dead, I lay them back to rest. And those that will not rest, I bind-or try to. I am Abhorsen . . ." He looked at the baby again, and added, almost with a note of surprise, "Father of Sabriel." Oh, what a wonderful little book. I loved Sabriel so much. She was so tough and just got things done. She received a message from her fa UPDATE: $1.99 Kindle US 8/22/19 Tim Curry rocks the narration 😊💕 "Yes," said Abhorsen. "I am a necromancer, but not of the common kind. where others of the art raise the dead, I lay them back to rest. And those that will not rest, I bind-or try to. I am Abhorsen . . ." He looked at the baby again, and added, almost with a note of surprise, "Father of Sabriel." Oh, what a wonderful little book. I loved Sabriel so much. She was so tough and just got things done. She received a message from her father and she knew things were not right. She wasn't sure if he was dying or what was happening at first. She received his sword and other things through a messenger. She was to be the next Abhorsen of sorts. This message takes Sabriel on a journey to find her father and find and kill the evil that is happening across the land. It's a bit creepy at parts which is good =) She has a sidekick named Mogget that she picks up at her fathers house. He's a cat and he talks and he is really something different. And he is also bound from being free. Then they pick up one more person that Mogget names Touchstone and he was a guard to the Queen. There's a big story there but you can read it yourself. They go on a journey to get away from the evil that is trying to kill Sabriel while trying to set things right. Sabriel has powers herself but she can only do so much. The end of the story was pretty amaze balls. I look forward to the rest of the books =) Happy Reading! Mel ❤️ MY BLOG: Melissa Martin's Reading List AMAZON: REVIEW

  4. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1), Garth Nix First published in 1995. It is the first in his Abhorsen (Old Kingdom) series, followed by Lirael, Abhorsen, and Goldenhand. The novel is set in two neighboring fictional countries: To the South lies Ancelstierre, which has a technology level and society similar to that of early-20th century Australia, and to the North lies the Old Kingdom, where both Free magic and Charter Magic exist — a fact officially denied by the government of Ancelstierre and disbeli Sabriel (The Old Kingdom #1), Garth Nix First published in 1995. It is the first in his Abhorsen (Old Kingdom) series, followed by Lirael, Abhorsen, and Goldenhand. The novel is set in two neighboring fictional countries: To the South lies Ancelstierre, which has a technology level and society similar to that of early-20th century Australia, and to the North lies the Old Kingdom, where both Free magic and Charter Magic exist — a fact officially denied by the government of Ancelstierre and disbelieved by most of Ancelstierre's inhabitants. A wall separates the two countries. Near the border some magic crosses the Wall, especially on days when the wind is blowing out of the Old Kingdom. Since the fall of the Royal Family, dangerous entities roam, ranging from the immortal to powerful sorcerers and Free Magic elemental's. “Let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.” تاریخ نخستین خوانش: ماه مارس سال 2006میلادی عنوان: سابریل - سه گانه پادشاهی کهن کتاب نخست؛ نویسنده: گارت نیکس؛ مترجم: پریا آریا (پریا تجلی پور)؛ تهران، متن گستران آریا، 1383، در 291ص، نقشه، شابک 9648662002؛ موضوع داستانها نویسندگان استرالیایی - سده 21م مترجم: شهلا انتظاریان؛ تهران، افق، 1391، در 580 ص، شابک: 9789643698218؛ مترجم: پیمان اسماعیلیان؛ تهران، قدیانی، 1393، در 580 ص، شابک: 9789645369734؛ اگر هدف از ساخت را بدانی، اسم معنی خواهد داشت کتاب نخست، از چهارگانه ی «پادشاهی کهن»، اثر «گارت نیکس» را، چند بار خوانده ام؛ برای خوانشگر کشش بسیاری دارد؛ «سابریل»، دختر «ابهورسن»، به دور از کشور کهن، زندگی کرده، به دور از جادوی آزاد، و مردگانی که مرده نمیمانند، مدرسه اش را همانند خانه اش دوست میدارد، در کشور کهن دشمنی وجود دارد، که جان او، و مردمش را تهدید میکند؛ به نقل از تایمز: «داستان سابریل مملو از شخصیتهای جالب، صحنه های جذاب و هیجان است، خواندن کتاب لذت محض است.»؛ پایان نقل کتاب دوم سری: لیرائل (لیرایل)؛ کتاب سوم سری: ابهورسن؛ کتاب چهارم: کلاریل: ابهورسن گم شده؛ تاریخ بهنگام رسانی 10/11/1399هجری خورشیدی؛ ا. شربیانی

  5. 4 out of 5

    Lyndsey

    This book really should have been exciting but I actually would have had a much better time had I just blared Monster Mash from my stereo and danced around like a zombie with chicken skin pasted to my face. Jedi knight of the living dead! I feel like this was probably really cool in the 90's and if I had read it then, as my pre-Harry Potter 10 year old self. I probably would have loved it. But now, my brain has descended into different forms of oblivion and I laugh voraciously at danger. This book really should have been exciting but I actually would have had a much better time had I just blared Monster Mash from my stereo and danced around like a zombie with chicken skin pasted to my face. Jedi knight of the living dead! I feel like this was probably really cool in the 90's and if I had read it then, as my pre-Harry Potter 10 year old self. I probably would have loved it. But now, my brain has descended into different forms of oblivion and I laugh voraciously at danger. Ha-ha-haaaaa! Ah shiznit - I just used a Disney movie to demonstrate how "grown up" I am. Not to mention, I said shiznit. I'm going to give you my (bored face) half-hearted summary because the story is way to convoluted to go into much depth without lulling myself into a coma. Sabriel is told from the third person perspective of a young girl, named Sabriel (what a co-inky-dink), a necromancer whose father disappears into the realm of the dead. She tasks herself with going to retrieve him because she believes he's still alive. Blah, blah. Monster, monster. Magic, magic. Our heroine, Sabriel, who I probably would have thought was the kiss-ass queen of kick-ass when i was younger, seems to know exactly what to do all the time without any internal dialogue, insight, or even advice. Not to mention - training! How did she know all this stuff? Because she was destined to become the Abhorsen? Maybe that would have worked for me when I was young, naive and believed that I was going to marry Han Solo. But now, I need to see the character work and earn the right to their abilities. I need to see them struggle and angst over it like young Harry. [image error] The overall tone of the book was chilling. And I think if I was younger, I would have been thrilled and frightened during this book but now it just didn't phase me. I wasn't even all that interested. I just felt kinda 'meh' about the whole thing. Action scenes abound in the book; however, every single one felt completely contrived and many were repetitive. Sabriel meandered about with unclear goals and even more unclear talents. It wasn't easy to distinguish her allies from her enemies but I didn't get the impression that this was done out of poetic symbolism, merely from indistinct plotlines and story progression. I wasn't captivated by much of anything in this book. Although, I did like the cat, Mogget. Oh, and I'm saying its slow even though I was listening to it in audio. Usually I can tolerate slower books in audio form but this one really left a lot to be desired. The narrator was very good at distinct voices for each character but some of them, namely the monsters, were unbearable, with gasping and hissing and gurgling. He also has a teensy bit of a pretentious tone, which is understandable since he is the illustrious Tim Curry of The Rocky Horror Picture Show. But sometimes, it became annoying. The writing was good. The world-building was good. The narration was good but I never felt invested. I wasn't blown away or engaged in the story or characters. I was majorly bored. And it was loooooong. The scale of the book is huge, though. If you love sweeping epic fantasies that offer destiny as a solution to every problem with nothing to back it up (which, let's face it, is alot of fantasy), then you'd probably love this. I really do think that this would be great for a younger audience. I think it was good, just absolutely wrong for me at this age. And if I'm being completely honest, I would much rather do the Monster Mash 100 times than go through this again.

  6. 5 out of 5

    Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽

    Very good YA fantasy! The adventures of Sabriel, an innocent young woman, and her run-ins with various types of dead, undead, once dead, sorta dead and should-be-dead people and creatures. Luckily for almost everyone concerned (except the forces of evil and the dead ones they control), Sabriel is by heritage and training a necromancer, with a fair amount of power over death. Unluckily, some of these once-dead and should-be-dead creatures have apparently killed Sabriel's father, the necromancer-i Very good YA fantasy! The adventures of Sabriel, an innocent young woman, and her run-ins with various types of dead, undead, once dead, sorta dead and should-be-dead people and creatures. Luckily for almost everyone concerned (except the forces of evil and the dead ones they control), Sabriel is by heritage and training a necromancer, with a fair amount of power over death. Unluckily, some of these once-dead and should-be-dead creatures have apparently killed Sabriel's father, the necromancer-in-chief or "Abhorsen," and are in the process of taking over the kingdom. It's up to Sabriel and her companions, a talking cat with mysterious powers and a once-sorta-dead (for 200 years) guy, to try to turn things around. This is a well-written and enjoyable fantasy, occasionally a little on the grim and gruesome side, but still within the bounds of what I'd consider YA appropriate, at least for teens who aren't too sensitive. Garth Nix creates an intriguing and imaginative fantasy world. This is also the first book in a series, but it doesn't leave you hanging off the edge of the virtual cliff. It works quite well as a stand-alone read. I haven't gotten around to reading the rest of the series, but they're on my "probably, sometime" mental list. Content notes: Frequent battles with deadly creatures who sometimes resemble zombies. Some good characters die. The sexual content is very mild, but there's a scene where a character overhears lovemaking in the next room, and a somewhat *ahem* detailed description of a naked statue(view spoiler)[ who turns into an actual naked man, but that doesn't lead where you might be pardoned for thinking :) (hide spoiler)] .

  7. 5 out of 5

    Nicole

    Sabriel was probably the oldest (numbering wise) fantasy sitting on my Goodreads shelf. When I first came across it, I was in one of those weird periods where I only liked to read about female protagonists... yeah, don’t ask. And from the cover, I’ve assumed that Sabriel is a boy.. And then it just wasn’t the right time and it sat there until I mentioned to my friend that I want to read it this year. We ended up buddy reading it last week and we shared the same opinion basically. Both of us have Sabriel was probably the oldest (numbering wise) fantasy sitting on my Goodreads shelf. When I first came across it, I was in one of those weird periods where I only liked to read about female protagonists... yeah, don’t ask. And from the cover, I’ve assumed that Sabriel is a boy.. And then it just wasn’t the right time and it sat there until I mentioned to my friend that I want to read it this year. We ended up buddy reading it last week and we shared the same opinion basically. Both of us have read a lot of fantasy so this book simply wasn’t on the same level. But it had lots of potential. I was ready to love it. I was ready to give it 5 stars and it’s one of the rare cases where my I expect to love the book but don’t. And I would’ve… if I read it 6 years ago when I still new to this genre. I understand why many who grew up reading Sabriel enjoyed it because it is for its time but now? Not so much anymore. This genre has evolved very much since 1995. This book tells the story of Sabriel, the daughter of Abhorson. Her father sent her their necromancing kit basically meaning he was either dead or between life and death. Sabriel then leaves schools hoping to her father. What follows is her adventure as the new Abhorson (turns out this is a title) against one of the evil greater dead. This was a nice book that can be read as a standalone because Lirael, the sequel, is a story about different characters. Which I will read. One day. Okay now to the story itself, my main was the whole Charter thing was underdeveloped. I couldn’t understand if he’s a god or just a magic entity or what? It was almost like a religion. Almost. We discovered more about the world and the Old Kingdom thankfully in the second part of the book but I wanted more understanding about the magic and how it works. Some background about Charter Mages or anything. The romance was very abrupt and there was no buildup whatsoever beyond a few passing words. Again, that was acceptable maybe in the 90s but not by today’s standards. Also, Touchstone? Seriously? What the heck is this name? I would’ve liked this book much better if the chemistry between Sabriel and Touchstone was better developed. The writing was decent of course, I don’t think anything back then with not a good writing would’ve saw light. But I found myself getting distracted all the time and making little to no progress. I kept checking my social media instead of reading because I simply wasn’t feeling it. I mean the characters and the story were nice and interesting but something about the writing didn’t click with me. I wasn’t in a reading slump (if anything I’m on a roll) so the issue wasn’t “me”. I wanted to love Sabriel so much that I feel bad about writing these things. I’m even annoyed at myself for not liking it more. I really wish I read this one when I first came across it but I also believe great books should be enjoyed regardless of how old you are when you read them. Don’t get me wrong I still enjoyed this book and I want this half star so bad I’m ready to organize a petition to demand Goodreads a half star rating already. The characters were likable and Sabriel was nice to read about. But at the same time, I would be unfair to the other fantasies that I’ve rated 4 stars because I liked them better. Yes we should sign a petition for the damn half star.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Charlotte May

    “Then Sabriel hears it - the massed grinding of Dead joints, no longer joined by gristle; the padding of Dead feet, bones like hobtails clicking through necrotic flesh.” Now, I’ll admit a book involving the dead (or zombies if you will) wouldn’t be a normal pick for me. Despite this, Sabriel kept my attention and there was plenty of magic and world building to hook me in! Sabriel’s father is the Abhorsen - a necromancer with a difference! He returns the dead to their resting place, sends creature “Then Sabriel hears it - the massed grinding of Dead joints, no longer joined by gristle; the padding of Dead feet, bones like hobtails clicking through necrotic flesh.” Now, I’ll admit a book involving the dead (or zombies if you will) wouldn’t be a normal pick for me. Despite this, Sabriel kept my attention and there was plenty of magic and world building to hook me in! Sabriel’s father is the Abhorsen - a necromancer with a difference! He returns the dead to their resting place, sends creatures that should be dead into death and generally protects the living from the dead! When her father goes missing Sabriel must leave her boarding school, travel over the wall into the Old Kingdom and face all sorts of enemies (mainly dead or half dead or bodies taken over by dead spirits- you get the idea.) With delightful descriptions such as this: “like an apple corer punching the Dead spirit out of the rotting corpse.” The main magic system is that of Charter Magic - the use of symbols to create spells, and anyone who is a Charter Mage will have a symbol on their forehead to indicate this. It was a fantastic and creative system. The other characters were great - Mogget the talking yet mysterious cat and Touchstone - the poor chap who has been trapped for 200 years and has just been rescued. I really enjoyed this, it was a quick read and though parts of the magic system were a bit tough to figure out I thought it was a great concept and I’ve never read anything else like it! “Let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.”

  9. 4 out of 5

    Merna

    “Let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.” I really wish I had liked Sabriel more than I actually did. It had a decent idea, however, as I kept reading I continuously kept thinking about events in my life or my plans for the next day. My mind kept drifting off because I was purely so bored. I believe merely saying a book is boring isn’t a convincing or a valid reason to conclude that the book wasn’t good. Have you ever read a book where endless things are happen “Let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.” I really wish I had liked Sabriel more than I actually did. It had a decent idea, however, as I kept reading I continuously kept thinking about events in my life or my plans for the next day. My mind kept drifting off because I was purely so bored. I believe merely saying a book is boring isn’t a convincing or a valid reason to conclude that the book wasn’t good. Have you ever read a book where endless things are happening after another, but you feel as if barely anything is occurring, because the action is always so similar to the previous ones that ensued in the book and it feels overused? The plot essentially went like this: Something bad happens Sabriel defeats it Something bad happens Sabriel escapes Something bad happens Sabriel escapes Something bad happens Sabriel Defeats it Anyway, I thought the concept for the story was intriguing at first. The story is set in two fictional countries. To the south lies Ancelstierre where technology and society is comparable to the 20th century England, and to the north lies the Old Kingdom where magic and spirits wander the land. In the Old Kingdom there is always a sorcerer with the title Abhorsen who puts the dead (spirits) to rest. The dead are raised by Necromancers or black magicians, who roam the Old Kingdom. Basically an Abhorsen is a Necromancer themselves, only they do the opposite. Sabriel is an Abhorsen who lives in Ancelstierre and her dad lives in the Old Kingdom. She sets on a journey to the Old Kingdom after her father’s sudden disappearance. However, quarter way through the book: Sabriel was a likable female character, so I have to give the male author some applause for writing believable female character. On the other hand, I felt no connection with Sabriel since her emotions where rarely expressed, instead there was a massive amount of description about many other things that caused me to yawn endlessly. Her love interest is - well, not interesting. He was flat and dull. I feel as if I’m betraying the fantasy genre for not liking this as much as I probably should. I feel an obligation to like fantasy books that have original concepts, considering fantasy is one of my favourite genres. Oh well, I still praise the idea of the story very much and I think that solely earns 3 stars, but I didn't find it to be an entertaining or engaging read for it to earn anymore than that.

  10. 4 out of 5

    Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)

    I shall write a wee bit about my thoughts on this book as I read, for I do not trust my foggy brain to keep up with them if I wait until the last minute. *I like the juxtaposition of 20th Century (early) Ancelstierre with a medieval-esque world of the Old Kingdom. It threw me for a loop at first, how the prologue was very medieval (pre-Industrial), and the first chapter was modernesque. I was thinking, are they immortal or something? But further reading clears that up. *I don't read as much pure f I shall write a wee bit about my thoughts on this book as I read, for I do not trust my foggy brain to keep up with them if I wait until the last minute. *I like the juxtaposition of 20th Century (early) Ancelstierre with a medieval-esque world of the Old Kingdom. It threw me for a loop at first, how the prologue was very medieval (pre-Industrial), and the first chapter was modernesque. I was thinking, are they immortal or something? But further reading clears that up. *I don't read as much pure fantasy (which I am working on changing), but this magic system stands out to me. The Charter concept. The magic system is based on sketching out these symbols that have a magical power behind them. They can also be whistled or sung, if bells are not available. *There are some geniuinely creepy elements that make this story borderline horrific, if not dark fantasy in tone. There were moments that held me breathless, my stomach tight with dread. I like the manner in which Nix incorporates zombies. Zombies are not a favorite horror element of mine. But this type of zombie is scary, because the emphasis is on the dark spiritual (if you will) aspects. The ability of dark Charter mages to command spirits to come back from the realms of the Dead, binding them in service. Dark stuff. The loss of free will is a big sticking point with me. Nix succeeds in unnerving me in a deeper way, and doesn't focus on the gory, squeamish aspects of zombies that repel rather than cause the fear response. *The author's ability to describe and propel the narrative without being too dense. I like a more natural, simplistic form of prose when I'm reading. That is what has kept me from starting some of the magic fantasy sagas, thus far. *The welcome elements of subtle humor. Mogget is a spirit in the form of a cat. He could not be more feline in personality. I love this scene: Mogget had no time for such introspection, mourning or pangs of responsibility. He left her watching, blank-eyed, for no more than minute, before padding forward and delicately inserting his claws in Sabriel's slippered foot.. That's exactly what one of my cats would do to get my attention. Haha. So far, I'm enjoying this read. I didn't even turn on my computer and get on Goodreads last night. I just read my book. And I turned off the tv to better concentrate. That's it for now... Update: 4/25/10 Okay, I finished this book after 1am this morning. I loved it. It was intense, it was moving, it was written in a manner that allowed the story to flow, but with a richness of detail that made it visually stunning as I read. The magic was fascinating. Intricate, but written so that the reader doesn't feel clueless. I absolutely loved Sabriel. She's a strong girl. She went through such a harrowing experience. I mean, there are some truly dark moments in this story. Her father must have been so proud of her. I know I was. Although the book doesn't really show Sabriel with her father, (the present Abhorsen (a person who sends the restless dead back where they belong), all that much, I loved the relationship between the two. A rich father-daughter relationship always appeals in a story, and I think readers of a similar mind will enjoy this part of the book. For many years, I didn't read fantasy. I am sad about that, and resolved to make up for lost time. Urban fantasy and paranormal romance rekindled my childhood love of this genre. This book has truly lit me on fire to read more fantasy. I was drawn to the heroism, but also the ambiguity of this world, where the power of magic has the power to corrupt those who are not strong of mind and spirit. I'm drawn to a story where the heroine is on a journey that tests her spirit, and she comes out of it a stronger, wiser person. Sabriel definitely fits the bill for that kind of story. Although Sabriel is the major focus of this story, I felt that Mogget and Touchstone were strong characters that added to the texture of this story. The light romantic elements between Sabriel and Touchstone were more than welcome. Sabriel was a vivid, captivating, often scary introduction to the Abhorsen series, and my first read by Garth Nix. It will not be my last.

  11. 4 out of 5

    destiny ♡⚔♡ [howling libraries]

    #1 Sabriel ★★★☆☆ #2 Lirael ??? #3 Abhorsen ??? #4 Clariel ??? #5 Goldenhand ??? Five Great Charters knit the land Together linked, hand in hand One in the people who wear the crown Two in the folk who keep the Dead down Three and Five became stone and mortar Four sees all in frozen water. I first read Sabriel as a preteen, and while I know I loved it – I must have, as I asked my parents to buy me the second book in the series, too – I never continued the series, nor did I remember any of the details wh #1 Sabriel ★★★☆☆ #2 Lirael ??? #3 Abhorsen ??? #4 Clariel ??? #5 Goldenhand ??? Five Great Charters knit the land Together linked, hand in hand One in the people who wear the crown Two in the folk who keep the Dead down Three and Five became stone and mortar Four sees all in frozen water. I first read Sabriel as a preteen, and while I know I loved it – I must have, as I asked my parents to buy me the second book in the series, too – I never continued the series, nor did I remember any of the details whatsoever. In recent years, I met so many people who cherish this series that I just knew I had to reread the first book, and I’m so glad that I did. While this wasn’t a perfect read for me by any means, it set the stage for what I genuinely believe is going to be an incredible series. “Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” → necromancy ← I’m such a sucker for necromancy books in general, and the way the world of the Dead and the Abhorsens is created in this book is wonderful, but not as fleshed out as I hoped it would be. I adored every single sentence about the world of the Dead, the bells, the magic, and the ways in which Abhorsens (Sabriel’s family of necromancers) interact with all of the above, but it was never quite enough. Had I gotten an extra 50-100 pages of pure, unadulterated world-building, I believe this would have been a 4-star read for me, if not better. That said, the setup we do get is magnificent: the act of necromancy is portrayed in such a fascinating and risky way, and the Dead themselves are downright creepy. These aren’t wispy ghosts and quiet whispers in shadowy halls; these are looming, vicious creatures, on a mission to regain their status among the living, no matter the cost. Death and what came after death was no great mystery to Sabriel. She just wished it was. → Sabriel ← The second double-edged sword in this book was Sabriel’s character, who I wanted so badly to love – and I did love, by the end – but I had such a hard time connecting to her! She feels very ingenuine for the first 2/3 or so of the book. Any time she feels a particularly strong emotion, it’s described to us, but in a way that feels too clinical and detached to relate to. I think this was definitely just a sign of inexperienced writing, because even by the end of the book, I was able to connect with her more solidly, and I hear that this particular writing issue is one that is resolved in the other books in this series. Even without feeling like Sabriel is a three-dimensional, complex character, I still soundly enjoyed who she had the potential to be. She’s tough, intelligent, and warm, without an evil bone in her body. I think the biggest reason her lack of development frustrated me was simply because, with better writing, I could have seen Sabriel becoming one of my absolute favorite heroines (and, in fact, I do remember adoring her as a child). “I love you,” he whispered. “I hope you don’t mind.” → romance ← Finally, the reason I just could not bring myself to give this book a higher rating: insta-love. Funny enough, it was more of an issue with the love interest than it was with Sabriel (which, at the very least, was a refreshing change from the trope of the female in an f/m relationship being the first to fall). I won’t give any spoilers, but I will say that the quote I used at the heading of this section actually made me laugh out loud and roll my eyes a little bit. It’s not just that these two characters spend so little time together before confessing their love; it’s also a matter of the fact that they barely speak to one another throughout the entire book, as most of their limited time together is a tumultuous, stressful, and fairly quiet journey. On the other hand, a fellow blogger recently gave me some interesting food for thought: insta-love can be used as a plot device, to depict how naïve the characters are, and that could easily be said for the pairing in Sabriel. If that was the author’s intentions, I can respect it, but I still don’t feel like it was the best route; in fact, I think my preference would’ve been for this book to be entire romance-free. “You are the fifty-third Abhorsen, Sabriel. I have not taught you as well as I should – let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.” → final thoughts ← All in all, this book has a lot of flaws, but it’s got so much potential and such an interesting and unique storyline that I would ask you not to let this 3-star rating convince you for a moment that I didn’t enjoy it. On the contrary, I had a wonderful time rereading Sabriel, and I’ve already ordered myself a new copy of the second book so that I can see what else Garth Nix has in store for the series. You can find this review and more on my blog, or you can follow me on twitter, bookstagram, or facebook! --- First buddy read with Terry, my love!

  12. 5 out of 5

    Heather Turner

    Possibly one of the greatest fantasy adventures of our times, Garth Nix's first novel is a lush, magical, dark-witty adventure about a young woman's battle with the hideous Dead. The story starts with a flashback in which a special necromancer named Abhorsen saves his baby daughter Sabriel from a creature called Kerrigor, in the spiritual river of death. Many years later, at an English-esque boarding school, Sabriel must take up her father's magical sword and bells and try to find out what has ha Possibly one of the greatest fantasy adventures of our times, Garth Nix's first novel is a lush, magical, dark-witty adventure about a young woman's battle with the hideous Dead. The story starts with a flashback in which a special necromancer named Abhorsen saves his baby daughter Sabriel from a creature called Kerrigor, in the spiritual river of death. Many years later, at an English-esque boarding school, Sabriel must take up her father's magical sword and bells and try to find out what has happened to him. To do so, she must leave her relatively high-tech home for the Old Kingdom, where magic rules and evil things are stalking her. Along the way, she is accompanied by the guard Touchstone and the menacing/funny cat-spirit Mogget. They must try to defeat the evil Kerrigor, who wants to blast the Charter which keeps all things from descending into evil. Sabriel is the best fantasy hero I've read about since Lord of the Rings. Too many fantasy heroines are either damsels or warrior women--Sabriel is neither. She acts and thinks precisely like a young woman in her position. Strong, intriguing, and no slack with a sword in a bad situation, she is a wonderful role model. Touchstone is a darling, but Mogget really is unique. Is he evil? Good? Or some peculiar mix? This ancient spirit forced to live as a cat is enslaved to the Abhorsen family for the good of everyone (we get a glimpse of how dangerous he is). The world that Garth Nix dreamed up, a mixture of Tolkien and WW2 England, is unparalleled in the fantasy genre. It's populated by animated ghouls, ghastly Mordicants, the almost-human sendings, Charter ghosts, the inhabitants of the river of Death, where only Abhorsens go, and so on... His writing style is lush and hypnotic--you can actually see the events unfolding in front of your eyes, in this wintry but inviting world.

  13. 5 out of 5

    April (Aprilius Maximus)

    3.5 stars

  14. 5 out of 5

    Dannii Elle

    Years before I was aware of the online bookish community, the YA genre was one I was never exposed to. I read primarily classics, fantasies, and thrillers for lighter relief. One day my auntie deposited a stack of books next to me and ordered to read them all. Some of the titles included were The Hunger Games series, the Divergent series, and the first two or three books in the Abhorsen series. There were others, that I have now forgotten, but these three series are ones I can vividly recall rea Years before I was aware of the online bookish community, the YA genre was one I was never exposed to. I read primarily classics, fantasies, and thrillers for lighter relief. One day my auntie deposited a stack of books next to me and ordered to read them all. Some of the titles included were The Hunger Games series, the Divergent series, and the first two or three books in the Abhorsen series. There were others, that I have now forgotten, but these three series are ones I can vividly recall reading and returning to page one to reread again immediately after finishing them. I was hooked on the YA drug. Despite some older fantasy series, penned in the same time as this one, not standing the test of age for me, I was delighted to find that returning to this series brought me the same amount of joy as it had previously. Nix has constructed a fantasy world that echoes the one found in A Game of Thrones, despite perhaps a simpler version more easily accessible for younger readers. His protagonist, Sabriel, is one both fiercely independent and woefully vulnerable. The interaction between the two made her a character I immediately rooted for and empathised with. Her journey felt unique in its construction, despite following in the well-worn tread of the heroine’s journey to save the world from an imminent dark threat. I look forward to continuing on and discovering what more delights this series has to offer me.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Caz (littlebookowl)

    4.5 stars

  16. 4 out of 5

    TS Chan

    Sabriel is a captivating and original tale of destiny. Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? I picked up this book because Brandon Sanderson recommended it in his review for Goldenhand, the 5th book in the Abhorsen series. He termed this as "one of the fundamental experiences that helped me shape my philosophy on magic systems and worldbuilding." With such an endorsement from my favourite author of all time, I cannot possibly pass over this book. And I am glad that I didn't. As Sabriel is a captivating and original tale of destiny. Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker? I picked up this book because Brandon Sanderson recommended it in his review for Goldenhand, the 5th book in the Abhorsen series. He termed this as "one of the fundamental experiences that helped me shape my philosophy on magic systems and worldbuilding." With such an endorsement from my favourite author of all time, I cannot possibly pass over this book. And I am glad that I didn't. As a novel categorised as young adult fantasy, Sabriel is a well-crafted tale with all the necessary elements which make fantasy so enjoyable, be it for the intended target audience or more mature readers. First of all, the Prologue hooked me right from the start. It quickly establishes the notion that the titular character, Sabriel, is going to be someone special together with a glimpse of this world's magic. The narrative then jumps ahead eighteen years where Sabriel was now in the final semester of her college studies when she discovered that her father, the Abhorsen, is in mortal danger and decided immediately to head into the Old Kingdom to rescue him. Now, let's appreciate the worldbuilding a bit. The Old Kingdom is separated from the modern world by a Wall, which keeps the Dead who wouldn't stay dead away from Ancelstierre. And if you now start to think, "Hey wait a minute, isn't that similar to ASOIAF", I would like to point out that Sabriel was published a year before Game of Thrones. The modern world, Ancelstierre, is akin to our early twentieth century where there is electricity, motor vehicles and tanks, guns and ammunition. And the magic of the Old Kingdom - both in the form of Free Magic and the Charter - gets weaker the farther away one is from the Wall which demarcates the boundary between both lands. What is unusual is how the Old Kingdom appears as a completely different world. Step through the gate in the Wall, and one experiences a time and reality warp of sorts, where for one moment one is in sunny and warm Ancelstierre and then the next, in a cold and wintry landscape. Even the stars are several degrees off in the night sky, and time passes asynchronously to Ancelstierre. Its name, the Old Kingdom, also alludes to the fact that with the existence of magic, modern technology had not taken hold in this land as it did just over the Wall. I won't go into much detail and hence spoil the fun but I will mention that the two magic systems - Free Magic and the Charter - are somewhat anathema to each other. The exposition of these two branches of magic is deftly woven into the storytelling, which avoided the dreaded info-dump. There is an aspect of music in the magic of necromancy (i.e. bells) and the Charter that I found most intriguing and, for lack of a better word, cool. Great worldbuilding and cool magic systems alone do not make a great fantasy book. Characters are the mortar to the bricks of good, solid storytelling. Sabriel is a great protagonist who acts her age, has her doubts, is not infallible and just feels authentic. In other words, she is not perfect, and the author does not try to make her so. Although she is quite special in her own right, the narrative does not focus on trying to hammer that fact into the reader's brains. Sabriel Without having much knowledge and experience required to survive the Old Kingdom in her quest to rescue her father, she has to rely on the assistance of an aloof cat, Mogget, and a young Charter Mage, Touchstone. There is always something about animal characters, whether they are capable of speech or not and this one does, that elevates the reading experience for me. In short, Mogget is superb. If I have to pick an issue with this novel, it is the romance which felt like it came out of nowhere. Fortunately, this only appeared in small doses closer towards the end, where the book concluded most satisfactorily with an exciting page-turning climax. For a fantasy book written before the new millennium, I take the view that it reads just as well if not better than some of its present peers - YA or otherwise. I look forward to continuing with the Abhorsen series and will recommend this to fantasy readers who are looking for well-written young female protagonists. This review can also be found at Booknest

  17. 4 out of 5

    Madeline

    "Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?" I’ve had a long-term project going for about five years now, where I try to hunt down and read all the YA adventure series that I was supposed to read when I was in middle school (instead, I spent those years re-reading the Prydain series, and also every single one of those Royal Diaries books – no regrets!). Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, checks off another box on that list, although I’m pretty sure t "Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?" I’ve had a long-term project going for about five years now, where I try to hunt down and read all the YA adventure series that I was supposed to read when I was in middle school (instead, I spent those years re-reading the Prydain series, and also every single one of those Royal Diaries books – no regrets!). Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series by Garth Nix, checks off another box on that list, although I’m pretty sure that I wasn’t even aware of these books until very recently. But I’m sure that they would have been right up thirteen-year-old Madeline’s alley – I can’t speak for the rest of the series, but Sabriel is sort of like a blend of Tamora Pierce and Lloyd Alexander, with a heavy dash of Goth elements. In short, a fun, coming-of-age adventure, featuring zombies! The world of Sabriel reminded me a little of George RR Martin’s Westeros, because we have a country (here called Ancelstierre) that’s kept separate from the Old Kingdom – a land of magic and danger. Sabriel spent the first few years of her life in the Old Kingdom with her father, a necromancer known as “the Abhorsen”, but has lived in Ancelstierre for her entire adolescence. When Sabriel is eighteen, she receives a distress message from her father. He’s trapped somewhere in Death, and Sabriel has to use the skills she learned from him to travel back to the Old Kingdom and rescue him. Along for the ride are a cat that’s not a cat, and a man who was trapped as a wooden statue for two hundred years. Oh, and evil zombies who serve an undead demon are also tracking Sabriel. As you can probably guess from the above description, there’s a lot of action and creepy elements in this book, as well as magic, sassy sidekicks, ghosts, and (my favorite) totally frank depictions of sexuality aimed at preteen audiences! (At one point, Sabriel considers all the implications of pursuing a sexual relationship with another character, and her mental list of Things to Deal With includes contraception! Hooray for you, Garth Nix!) Speaking of fantastic moments, I knew that Sabriel and I would get along as soon as Nix’s narration shared this tidbit with the readers: when Sabriel got her first period, she used her necromancer abilities to summon her mother’s ghost for advice. Which, frankly, why wouldn’t you? Even though this is part of a multiple-book series, Sabriel doesn’t end on a cliffhanger, and it can easily be read as a standalone novel. However, if you’re like me, you’re going to want to continue with the series, if only to find out how Sabriel continues to explore her role as a necromancer, and what other adventures Nix has planned for his heroine. (one more note: I listened to the audiobook version of this novel, which had two distinct advantages: first, I learned that Sabriel does not rhyme with “Gabriel”, like I assumed, but is pronounced “Sah-briel.” And second, the audiobook I found is narrated by Tim Curry. He’s not the best candidate for voicing an eighteen-year-old girl’s dialogue, but I didn’t even mind because his villain voices are on point. Voice like buttah, I’m telling you.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Judith Arvesu

    When an otherworldly visitor tells Sabriel that her father has been trapped in the world of the dead, she has no choice but to leave her student's life in Ancelstierre and venture into the Old Kingdom to save him. There, in her father's absence, she must take up the mantle of Abhorsen, a necromancer charged with making sure that the dead stay dead. Although she does not believe herself to be up to the task, Sabriel must make the journey, with only a mysterious talking cat named Mogget, and a re- When an otherworldly visitor tells Sabriel that her father has been trapped in the world of the dead, she has no choice but to leave her student's life in Ancelstierre and venture into the Old Kingdom to save him. There, in her father's absence, she must take up the mantle of Abhorsen, a necromancer charged with making sure that the dead stay dead. Although she does not believe herself to be up to the task, Sabriel must make the journey, with only a mysterious talking cat named Mogget, and a re-awakened amnesiac guardsman, Touchstone, by her side. Garth Nix is easily my favorite YA fantasy author of the moment, and one of my favorite authors full stop. Sabriel made him popular and respected among fans of the genre, and I can see why. It's a brilliant, fast-paced book that is quite impossible to put down. This means a lot coming from someone like me, with an average attention span of 20 pages or less. It has a solid plot, realistic characters, and a unique world built so seamlessly, it's entirely believable. Garth Nix is a good world builder in that he lays down the foundation of a brand-new world and lets the "fantastic" details seep through not by long-winded info-dumps but by winding them so neatly through the narrative that you hardly notice what he's doing. The world and magic of the Old Kingdom is unlike many magic systems I've come across, and it's great how he never once spends more than two pages to explain things away. Of course, this means that a number of things are left unexplored but I suppose since there are two more books in the series, there's still time to explore them there. His characters are also some of the most human I have ever come across. Sabriel and Touchstone are competent as heroine and hero, but are flawed enough to be interesting without ever falling into the "emo" or whiny and melodramatic pits that adolescent characters are wont to do in this genre. For all the strangeness of the world they live in, the characters are as real as can be, and the relationship between Sabriel and Touchstone develops with taste and subtlety. Most admirable is how Sabriel is portrayed as a normal girl with normal concerns rather than either a weeping, confused damsel or an overly masculinized (is that a word?) warrior woman. Also, she doesn't dissolve into a spineless, sex-obsessed sap when presented with a boy, despite clearly having the usual anxieties and feelings in that regard. She proves to be a quick-witted heroine, and Garth Nix doesn't cheapen her character and throws her into some really awesome, breathtaking conflicts. As a last note, although this is the first book of a trilogy, it's a solid story all on its own so you can pick it up with no worries as to whether you should complete the series or not.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Lindsey Rey

    Really enjoyed this one! Although there wasn't much character development, I didn't really care because Sabriel is a total badass. I'm very excited for the sequel. Really enjoyed this one! Although there wasn't much character development, I didn't really care because Sabriel is a total badass. I'm very excited for the sequel.

  20. 5 out of 5

    nicklein

    Where was this book when I needed it? 5 stars! Seriously, this book was GLORIOUS. If you want fast-paced, will-keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, action-packed book, this one is for you. Mogget is hands down my favourite character in this book. He's so sassy and sarcastic and morbid and fluffy and I just love him! “It sounds like a terribly brilliant plan to me,” muttered Mogget. “The genius of simplicity…” The character development of Sabriel and Touchstone was brilliant especially Sabriel's. Sh Where was this book when I needed it? 5 stars! Seriously, this book was GLORIOUS. If you want fast-paced, will-keep-you-on-the-edge-of-your-seat, action-packed book, this one is for you. Mogget is hands down my favourite character in this book. He's so sassy and sarcastic and morbid and fluffy and I just love him! “It sounds like a terribly brilliant plan to me,” muttered Mogget. “The genius of simplicity…” The character development of Sabriel and Touchstone was brilliant especially Sabriel's. She's totally a different person by the end of this book. And Touchstone is so dreamy. Ay kennat. I'm not so sure about the romance though. Don't get me wrong, you guys know I'm a sucker for romance and can ship almost every character with any living things but the romance here felt like a throwaway. It felt off. I don't know maybe it's just me. I still love our main couple though. I ship them with all my heart and wish them a fruitful relationship. Lmfao. The world Nix created was so complex and stunning. His descriptions were so clear that you could picture the world so vividly in your head. I am looking forward to read the next books in the series!

  21. 5 out of 5

    BAM Endlessly Booked

    Tim Curry narration!!!!! OMG! Imma gonna pee my pants! So far a strong 3.5 storyline 5 Tim Curry His voice for the cantankerous cat spirit is superb! This was quite engaging, especially the last couple of chapters. I can see why it instantly became a classic YA fantasy series. Sabriel searches for her father, the Abhorsen, a sort of necromancer, who is lost in the land of the dead. Along the way she meets a spirit under the control of the Abhorsens for about fourteen centuries and a sailor nickna Tim Curry narration!!!!! OMG! Imma gonna pee my pants! So far a strong 3.5 storyline 5 Tim Curry His voice for the cantankerous cat spirit is superb! This was quite engaging, especially the last couple of chapters. I can see why it instantly became a classic YA fantasy series. Sabriel searches for her father, the Abhorsen, a sort of necromancer, who is lost in the land of the dead. Along the way she meets a spirit under the control of the Abhorsens for about fourteen centuries and a sailor nicknamed Touchstone. Constant adventures follow. The bad thing about audio books is I never know how to spell the special words in a fantasy novel. There is a villain who wishes to kill all of the Abhorsens and take control of the kingdom that the trio constantly battles. His breath is described as having "the scent of a thousand abattoirs." I will finish this series-all Tim Curry Bahahaha Read#2- I totally forgot how directions are given in this series. I crack up every time! This repeat read has fleshed out the humanity of Sabriel. She falls in love. I didn't really focus on her heart. It breaks on her adventure-for her father, for her role she must assume. 2017 Reading Challenge: first in a series Summer Fantasy Fest read #21

  22. 4 out of 5

    Katie.dorny

    Sabriel is one hell of a kick ass character. No whinging, no feeling sorry for herself - she gets shit done! Anyone who loves ya fiction, magic and dystopian universes definitely needs to give this book a try!!

  23. 5 out of 5

    Argona

    I have read many fantasy books and I can say with certainty that this is one of those stories that stand out. Sabriel is a very unique, interesting, complex story. Like many other fantasy books, it takes a little time to understand what is going on and really get into the story, but when that happens, you will most likely take a deep breath, dive in and refuse to come out before the end. Sabriel is a young girl but she is an adult inside. A strong female character is a gem! She is not annoying or I have read many fantasy books and I can say with certainty that this is one of those stories that stand out. Sabriel is a very unique, interesting, complex story. Like many other fantasy books, it takes a little time to understand what is going on and really get into the story, but when that happens, you will most likely take a deep breath, dive in and refuse to come out before the end. Sabriel is a young girl but she is an adult inside. A strong female character is a gem! She is not annoying or dense and she understand what it means to have a responsibility.This book has great characterization. Touchstone, Maggot...all are very unique and interesting and memorable. The magic system rocks! If you like Necromancy, you have to read this. Is this a romantic book? Not really, this a is very intense fantasy book and romance isn't a primary element. Is there a very beautiful love hidden in the pages? Hell yeah! A grown up kind of love! In my opinion, this is a dark fantasy. Certain parts completely took my breath away. You just have to imagine and put yourself in Sabriel's place and you will successfully scare the hell out of yourselves. I really enjoyed reading this book. I may not remember all the details after a long time but this book is unique enough that I will never confuse it with something else and I just need a few hints to remember it all. Are you looking for an intense, rich, fascinating fantasy book? Try this.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Carolyn

    Sabriel's father is the Abhorsen, the most powerful of necromancers who can bind the dead and stop them breaking through to the real world.Since her mother died when she was born, Sabriel is sent away to boarding school and only sees her father twice per year. The Kingdom they live in is divided into two parts with a wall protected by strong magic. Ancelstierre, the southern kingdom, where Sabriel is sent to school is safe and people live uneventful lives without the use of magic but the norther Sabriel's father is the Abhorsen, the most powerful of necromancers who can bind the dead and stop them breaking through to the real world.Since her mother died when she was born, Sabriel is sent away to boarding school and only sees her father twice per year. The Kingdom they live in is divided into two parts with a wall protected by strong magic. Ancelstierre, the southern kingdom, where Sabriel is sent to school is safe and people live uneventful lives without the use of magic but the northern part of the kingdom, the Old Kingdom where Abhorsen must live is full of magic, good and evil where the dead can break through more easily and come back to attack the living. When Sabriel is about to leave school she receives the news that her father is dead and she must travel to the Old Kingdom to find out what has happened. This is a very well told YA fantasy for young and old. Sabriel is a strong female character who nevertheless makes some blunders and grows into her role. Helping her she has Mogget, a cat shaped spirit who provides some humour by making snide comments at her expense and Touchstone who becomes more likeable as the book goes on. The world building is good, with the good, safe non-magical kingdom separated from the more chaotic, magical side and the system of magic is interesting, based on an agreed Charter as well as free magic that has no rules.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Anthony

    This left me very unmoved throughout. I was initially somewhat intrigued by the original depiction of the realm of the Dead, and I’m always interested in an exploration of magic interacting with dead (and undead) creatures and beings. But I would hope that a story that has so much death in it would also have some sense of the impact of death on life, and on the living, and it barely scratched that surface for me. The writing is competent, the dialogue mostly flows, but the plot just feels like on This left me very unmoved throughout. I was initially somewhat intrigued by the original depiction of the realm of the Dead, and I’m always interested in an exploration of magic interacting with dead (and undead) creatures and beings. But I would hope that a story that has so much death in it would also have some sense of the impact of death on life, and on the living, and it barely scratched that surface for me. The writing is competent, the dialogue mostly flows, but the plot just feels like one incident knocking into the next, ad nauseum, with very little urgency (beyond the artificial “we only have ten minutes to do the thing we need to do!” sort of urgency) and no sense of organically connected themes and motivations. I understand that this book, when it was released, represented a welcome change in fantasy literature in that it features a capable, courageous, intelligent young woman as its protagonist, and I can certainly appreciate and applaud that fact. But she deserves a much richer story than what she’s given here. It was such a middle of the road reading experience for me that I won’t be continuing the series.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Shayantani

    This book takes an excruciatingly long time to really pick up its pace. To be honest, if I had not bought this book about a year ago, I would definitely have quit. I have picked it up and abandoned it quite frequently over the year, mostly because about 50 pages through the book, I would start yawning. Now that is a privilege especially reserved for school textbooks, thus my reluctance. But, once you go through those first mind numbing 100 pages, this book is actually pretty decent. The novel is This book takes an excruciatingly long time to really pick up its pace. To be honest, if I had not bought this book about a year ago, I would definitely have quit. I have picked it up and abandoned it quite frequently over the year, mostly because about 50 pages through the book, I would start yawning. Now that is a privilege especially reserved for school textbooks, thus my reluctance. But, once you go through those first mind numbing 100 pages, this book is actually pretty decent. The novel is set in two neighbouring fictional countries: The Old Kingdom to the north, where magic works and dangerous spirits roam the land and the :Ancelstierre, to the south, the “muggle land” with people blissfully ignorant except for those few who live near the border between the kingdoms. The dead refuse to stay dead, and are often raised by evil Necromancers to do their evil bidding. Here the Abhorsens comes to the rescue and puts the dead to rest. Sabriel, our protagonist, is placed with this huge responsibility of being an Abhorsen, when suddenly her father goes missing, thus, likes all fantasy heroes and heroines, she is placed with the duty of saving the world and rescuing her father. Need I mention that great adventure, life threatening dangers, amusing characters and a little romance greet her on this epic journey? In some aspects, Sabriel definitely follows all the fantasy clichés. Yet, with a powerful plot, decent writing, loveable characters and good pacing (again, not for the first 100 pages!), I cannot bring myself to complain. The world building is amazing, with a lot of care given to minute details. The ingenious concept of death by passing through the seven gates, Saraneth and the bells, Clayrs and free magic soon made me forget about the agony of the slow start, and I found myself thoroughly enjoying the book. So, 4 stars for the book, although I don’t reckon I would read the next part basically because, there is going to be a different set of characters, and I can’t imagine this series without Mogget. I did mention the talking cat, right? MOGGET, BEST CHARACTER EVER!

  27. 5 out of 5

    Mara

    Wickedly amazing world building but sadly too little character portrayal, if that's even a thing? It was too adventure-driven for my taste and while the setting immediately fascinated me, I never felt like I knew the characters and thus could never rly connect with them. Wickedly amazing world building but sadly too little character portrayal, if that's even a thing? It was too adventure-driven for my taste and while the setting immediately fascinated me, I never felt like I knew the characters and thus could never rly connect with them.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Karlyflower *The Vampire Ninja, Luminescent Monster & Wendigo Nerd Goddess of Canada (according to The Hulk)*

    Possibly the greatest compliment that I could give this book is to say that it reminds me, in a non copy-cat way, of the first fantasy series to really sweep me away in my teenhood! That would be none other than The Belgariad Series by David Eddings!! Sabriel is a story about a badass heroine who is charged with saving the world! I love that shit, guys!! The world building, although at times tedious, is amazing - I love the way this world is created, how death itself is portrayed AND necromanc Possibly the greatest compliment that I could give this book is to say that it reminds me, in a non copy-cat way, of the first fantasy series to really sweep me away in my teenhood! That would be none other than The Belgariad Series by David Eddings!! Sabriel is a story about a badass heroine who is charged with saving the world! I love that shit, guys!! The world building, although at times tedious, is amazing - I love the way this world is created, how death itself is portrayed AND necromancers.... I love the idea of necromancers!! (Theoretically, of course) The writing, while sometimes slow, is really well done. The characters - especially Sabriel herself - are wonderfully dimensioned. The evils and dead creatures are masterfully depicted and fantastically intertwined. Chris was RIGHT!! (Ugh I hate saying this :P) I love me a badass female.... one who has responsibilities that she didn't ask for but trudges on ceaselessly because she has to.... the very world she knows depends on it! Sort of spoiler: (view spoiler)[ I thoroughly enjoyed the love interest here and that Touchstone didn't even appear until over the halfway mark. Instalove *boohiss* this romance didn't feel to me. I will note that I guessed his linage very early BUT I really don't think it's supposed to be a surprise to the reader. It took nothing away from the story, for me, that I guessed it almost the minute he showed up. (hide spoiler)] Her burden, no matter how heavy, and how feeble her shoulders currently felt, she had to bear it. I'm excited to read the next in the series.... I think Nix may be my N in my A-Z Challenge, guys! Gifs courtesy of the fact that I restarted watching "Buffy" while on winter holiday!

  29. 5 out of 5

    Scarlett Readz and Runz....Through Novel Time & Distance

    Wondrous storytelling ♡ Sabriel will be the last Abhorsen/Necromancer, but not before escaping the gates of death. Born to a mother gone cold at childbirth, the Abhorsen brings the blue infant back to life and saves Sabriel as his daughter. First via wetnurse and later on at a boarding school in Ancelstierre. Sabriel is a great student and interested in the subject of Magic. Her inborn ability to reach deep within herself to rescue others from death is something she keeps hidden for as long as po Wondrous storytelling ♡ Sabriel will be the last Abhorsen/Necromancer, but not before escaping the gates of death. Born to a mother gone cold at childbirth, the Abhorsen brings the blue infant back to life and saves Sabriel as his daughter. First via wetnurse and later on at a boarding school in Ancelstierre. Sabriel is a great student and interested in the subject of Magic. Her inborn ability to reach deep within herself to rescue others from death is something she keeps hidden for as long as possible. Sabriel's father visits her only annually at her boarding school and when a parcel and letter arrives instead of him one day, she realizes something terrible has happened and she must save him. In an amazingly imagined world that has both elements of beauty as well as darkness, Sabriel learns of the Old Kingdom and the 9 gates of death a living thing will go through to its final demise. As she embarks on her journey to search for her father she encounters magical creatures and makes friends and foes. While danger lurks in the Old Kingdom, she pushes on beyond more and more gates to rescue her father, presumably dead. What ensues is the dark unleash of forces from the Old Kingdom and a race against time. As the old Abhorsen puts it, there is a time for everyone to die, in the end, there will be only one Abhorsen left at the brink of death, but was it the right time? *** This was a magical read with a most captivating beginning. If you are in search of a creative story that's very imaginative from world to creatures and love elements such as a boarding school and magic, then this will be a great one to try. I had this novel on my shelf for a long time and it turned out to be such a nice gem. When I can start a new book and it captures me with something different, the little extra something, it always makes me happy that I opened just that book at that time. Some of the imaginative elements in this novel reminded me of Neil Gaiman's writing and storytelling. If you like that sort of flavor, then you understand what I mean. It is difficult to pinpoint exactly if it's more character-driven than fantastical, it simply is a symphony of all magical, good, and evil. These perfect ingredients made Sabriel (Abhorsen,#1) a great start of a trilogy, I hope you will enjoy as well. Happy Reading! More of my reviews here: Through Novel Time & Distance

  30. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

    The Good: I’ll start by saying that I would have loved this when I was 13. It is full of cool ideas - the standard fantasy setting here is under threat from an undead wizard and its hordes, and also happens to border (via a magical wall) a setting analogous to early 20th century Britain. All protected by a line of hereditary necromancers. The action scenes are very well written, especially the ending, and there is the most badass cat I’ve ever met in a book. The Bad: I know this is intended for a Y The Good: I’ll start by saying that I would have loved this when I was 13. It is full of cool ideas - the standard fantasy setting here is under threat from an undead wizard and its hordes, and also happens to border (via a magical wall) a setting analogous to early 20th century Britain. All protected by a line of hereditary necromancers. The action scenes are very well written, especially the ending, and there is the most badass cat I’ve ever met in a book. The Bad: I know this is intended for a YA audience, but the prose seemed unpolished in a lot of places, particularly the dialogue. This made the characters feel a bit flat. There was also the issue of the magical solutions to the various problems all seeming to appear as required. 'Friends' character the protagonist is most like: Like many YA heroines, Sabriel is Monica Geller. Despite being a rookie necromancer raised in the fantasy equivalent of a pre-WWI English finishing school she is extremely relatable.

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