REVIEW: Sabriel by Garth Nix

REVIEW: Sabriel by Garth NixSabriel (Abhorsen #1) by Garth Nix
Published: Harper Collins (1995), eBook, 491pg
Source: Bought
Genres: Fantasy, Fiction

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead.

But now her father, the Mage Abhorsen, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life -- and comes face to face with her own hidden destiny.... (from Amazon)

Though I’ve seen Garth Nix’s name being thrown around on practically every YA fantasy recommendation list, I’ve never given him a proper chance before. Mostly it was because I tried reading The Ragwitch before and hated it, and so it took me a while to try anything else of his. Anyway, somehow I came across Sabriel— it was on sale, I think– decided to give it a try, and it turned out I really liked it! Huzzah!

I had a rough start with Sabriel, actually. The writing kept tripping me up: it was slightly old-fashioned but modern enough that the mix was a bit weird. Luckily it either evened itself out later or I just got more used to it, but after about 30 pages in I had no more problems with the book (except being scared out of my mind a few times).

I really like the world in the Abhorsen series. It’s got quite a lot of interesting elements to it, like the use of bells as a magical weapon and the division between Chartered magic and Free magic. Plus I don’t think I’ve read a book before where a necromancer is both the protagonist and a white hat as well! I really like the characters, too, though I don’t think I’d be anybody’s friend– they’ve got good traits, especially Sabriel. She’s a really strong, courageous, determined young woman, and I admired throughout the book her even when she messed up or was scared.

The events in Sabriel are so exciting and thrilling that I had to put my ebook reader down every once in a while so I could take a breather. And it all led to a most wonderful conclusion (though somewhat sad due to a character’s death), and the hint of even better stories in subsequent books. I really enjoyed Sabriel, and I look forward to reading the rest of the series.

Read: May 2009

13 thoughts on “REVIEW: Sabriel by Garth Nix”

  1. Ooooh. I’ve always wanted to read a Nix book. And I’ve recently won a Sony e-Reader. This might be my first e-Book. I wonder if it’s available in a format I can use.

    1. Normally ebook retailers have their ebooks available in a variety of formats (except for places like Amazon or the Sony store); just be sure to check their FAQs and see what format is compatible with your reader. 😀

  2. So jealous of you for having a Kindle! Also, I have never been able to get myself to read Sabriel, although my sister owns it and it’s probably still on the bookshelf at my parents’ house. Your review sounds so good, maybe I will look for it next time I’m over there. 🙂

    1. lol, I don’t actually have a Kindle: I have an iPod Touch instead! It just seemed less bulky to use “ebook reader” than “iPod Touch.”

      You should definitely try it out! Give it at least 30 pages, and I think you’ll be hooked.

  3. I really enjoyed this book. I read it a long time enough, but liked it well enough that I got the second and third books in the series. I hope you enjoy them too!

    1. I’m actually stuck somewhere around the last third of book #2– I’m making progress, but really slowly! I don’t know why, since I like the characters and everything. Maybe I’m just dreading what’s going to happen, plot-wise (bad things! bad things will happen! eek!).

  4. I remember seeing this book on my library shelf every time I went when I was a kid, but I never picked it up. I’ve no idea why though, since your review makes it sound great.

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