Sabriel by Garth Nix – Spoiler Free Book Review

2568817Rating: 4/5 stars

First published: 1995

Genre: YA fantasy

Author: Garth Nix

Synopsis: 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 Abhorson, 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

Book Depository | Goodreads


This was a pretty unique book. It was published quite a while ago (it’s older than I am!), when YA wasn’t quite the big thing that it is now. I really enjoyed this book, for the most part. The story was really cool, it has to do with necromancers and traveling between life and death. I got an Underworld/ Dante’s Inferno vibe from it, which was really cool and not something that’s explored that often in YA.

I really enjoyed the magic system. It’s very rigorous and strict. Usually, you see magic as a sort of free, raw power that just manifests itself. But here, it’s very strict. It’s strictly tied to music, which I thought was really cool, and also to these symbols and runes and to magical objects as well. I found that really interesting to read about and I really look forward to exploring more of it.

I did enjoy the characters. I didn’t connect to them as much as I would have liked, but they were good characters. I love Mogget. Mogget is my favourite, he’s the only one that I actually connected with.

The world was pretty interesting. There’s this wall that separates the magical Old Kingdom from a version of the real world. I don’t think it takes place in our world, per se, but one side of the wall is like our world. They have cars and electricity and the same sort of societal structure that we do. I loved Abhorsen’s house in the Old Kingdom and I really hope we get to see more of it in future books. I also loved Death, which reminds me of the Underworld in Greek Mythology, but also of hell as depicted in Dante’s Inferno, with the nine circles. It’s really cool and interesting and I really enjoyed that aspect.

The one thing I didn’t really like was the writing. It’s not bad writing, it’s just not to my taste. I had a hard time connecting to it. It didn’t involve me enough in the story, or with the characters and as a result, I cared a lot less about them than I would have otherwise. Still I will be continuing with the series.

Down the TBR Hole #5

This meme was created by Lia @ Lost in a Story.

Stats:

Previous post

Books: #41-50

Last week’s final number: 350 | Current number: 361 | This week’s final number: 357 | Total books removed so far: 16 | Total books kept so far: 34 | Books added since I began: 32


Cismigiu et Comp. by Grigore Bajeanu

I actually own this book. But I don’t really see myself reading it anytime soon.

Verdict: Goes

Under the Never Sky by Veronica Rossi

I’m not really much into dystopia anymore these days, but I’ve heard some really good reviews about this from people I trust and I’ve heard that it’s got more of a post-apocalyptic vibe to it, than a dystopia one. So I will keep it for now.

Verdict: Stays

Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

I’ve only read Replica by Lauren Oliver, but I did enjoy it and this book sounds like it has a really cool concept. So I will give it a try.

Verdict: Stays

The Fever Code by James Dashner

I have no interest in reading this book anymore.

Veridct: Goes

The Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

I still really like the sound of this series every time I read the synopsis, so I’m going to give it a shot.

Verdict: Stays

Anne of Green Gables by L.M. Montgomery

I loved the film when I was younger. I watched it so many times. But I don’t see myself reading this. I’m happy with what I got from the film.

Verdict: Goes

My Man Jeeves by P.G. Wodehouse

I keep forgetting about this book, but then I read the description and it just sounds so hilarious. I need to sit down one afternoon and read this.

Verdict: Stays

Let’s Pretend This Never Happened (A Mostly True Memoir) by Jenny Lawson

I don’t read biographies much, but this is one that I really do want to read because it just seems very funny.

Verdict: Stays

 Padurea Spanzuratilor by Liviu Rebreanu

I somehow highly doubt I will ever read this. Unless I have nothing else to read. And let’s be honest, when will that happen?

Verdict: Goes

Gone With the Wind by Margaret Mitchell

I don’t know, I just… I have no interest in reading this book. I tried to summon some because it’s such a well loved book, but I just… don’t want to read it.

Verdict: Goes

 

A-Z Quotes – R

“There are different kinds of darkness; There is the darkness that 
frightens, the darkness that soothes, the darkness that is restful. There 
is the darkness of lovers, and the darkness of assassins. It becomes what
the bearer wishes it to be, needs it to be. It is not wholly bad or good.”
-Rhysand (A Court of Mist and Fury)

Have some Rhys. Because ACOWAR just came out and I cannot wait to read it!!!

Previous Quote | All Quotes

Top Ten Books With Covers That Don’t Reflect the Inside

Top Ten Books With Covers That Don’t Reflect the Inside

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish. This week’s topic is book covers. I’ve chosen to tell you about 10 books that have covers that are simply discordant to their content. Whether the cover is beautiful and the book isn’t, or the other way around, or the cover simply has nothing to do with the book.


Caraval by Stephanie Garber

This book is gorgeous. Both the UK and the US editions are just so beautiful, I can’t even! But the actual story is absolute shit. I hated it so much, but it’s so beautiful that I’m never going to get rid of it. I have both a spoiler free review and a rant review of this, if you would like to know more about it.

Red Queen series by Victoria Aveyard

Another one where the covers are beautiful, but the books are just not. Well, the first book was okay. I absolutely hated the second one. I obviously haven’t read the third one because I’m not subjecting myself to another book of rage and frustration, but yeah… I hated Glass Sword. You can check out my review of it if you are interested in knowing more.

The Sin Eater’s Daughter series by Melinda Salisbury

This series has such cool covers! And it’s so… boring. I’ve only read the first book, but it was so boring that I cannot imagine what happens in two more of them. I am telling you, this was a 250 page book of nothing happening.

The US Editions of the Daughter of Smoke and Bone Series by Laini Taylor

These covers don’t do the series justice. The UK covers are stunning, but I would not be interested in these books at all based on these covers. They’re kind of ugly. And they really don’t have anything to do with the plot. What close ups of girls wearing masks or makeup has to do with this? I don’t know. This series is so beautiful and the writing is magical and these covers just don’t reflect that.

Poison Study series by Maria V. Snyder

I know there are some other editions of the books, but these covers make no sense to me. To me, this looks like some period romance/court intrigue series. It’s not. These covers just do not reflect the content of the books at all, in my opinion. Based on these covers, I would never buy these books. They’re not necessarily ugly covers, but they speak to me of a genre that I’m usually not very interested in.

The Artemis Fowl series by Eoin Colfer

I don’t think this series has an entire set of matching covers. There are like 5 different cover editions at least and none of them are complete as far as I could tell. It’s so annoying. And what’s even worse is that all those editions are just varying shades of bad. The one in the picture is the edition I hate the most. It’s just so… bad. It does not do the series justice. The series is awesome! I want them re-released in a nice edition where they all match. Is that too much to ask?

The Diabolic by S. J. Kincaid

the diabolic

It’s a really nice cover… I just don’t understand what a butterfly has to do with anything. I suppose the two halves of the butterfly could represent Sidonia and Nemesis, one soft and one sharp and serrated. But… why butterflies? They did that for Replica by Lauren Oliver as well. It’s like they have no idea what to put on the cover, so they just slap a butterfly on it and call it a day.

The Twilight series by Stephanie Meyer

Again, very aesthetic covers, just… what do they have to do with the books? I suppose the theme of black, white and red does capture the vampire-y, but why an apple, a petal, a ribbon and whatever else? Could have been some objects that reflect the story somehow? I mean, I like these covers. And they’re so iconic by now, that everyone would recognise them. But I just wonder what the thought process was when first printing this. “Hmm… so this is a book about vampires. It’s called Twilight… let’s put an apple on the cover.”

The US editions of the Mistborn series by Brandon Sanderson

Both the US hardback and the US paperback editions are just hideous. This looks like some shitty comic-book covers. They’re so, so ugly and this series does not deserve such ugly covers. Thankfully, the UK editions are really cool. I’ve only read The Final Empire so far, but it was so amazing, I can’t wait to read the rest of them. I have both a spoiler-free review of it and a rave review if you are interested to know more of my thoughts.

The US covers of the Kingkiller Chronicle by Patrick Rothfuss

These aren’t horrible, but they certainly don’t do the books justice. The UK covers are much better and I feel also capture the essence of the series much better. I absolutely adore these books, it’s one of my favourite series. I have reviews of both The Name of the Wind  and of The Wise Man’s Fear, if you are interested.

Stealing Snow by Danielle Paige – RANT

WARNING: THIS REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS. IF YOU HAVE NOT READ THE BOOK AND DO NOT WISH TO BE SPOILED, CHECK OUT MY SPOILER FREE REVIEW.

This is my second one star review in as many months. To be fair, I started reading this book AGES ago. Like, 6 months ago. Yes. I hated it that much! I actually have the perfect gif to sum up my feelings about this book.

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I was promised a Snow Queen retelling. This wasn’t no snow queen retelling. I mean, it had some elements, but it had elements of so many different things that it’s irrelevant. It was all over the place. What’s more, to me the Snow Queen was always quite dark and the magic in it was really dark. Especially the mirror. That is the best pat in the story and it was completely ruined in this book. Instead of being a mirror that reflected only ugliness and its shards taking away love and joy from people and all that, it was some weird weapony thing that wasn’t really explained, but everyone wanted it. I just… ugh, I hated it.

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When I first started the book and saw it was set in a mental asylum I was so excited. I thought it was going to be this dark, psychological type of story. And then a pretty boy came to our heroine in a dream and convinced her to go through a magical tree by promising to help her find another pretty boy who had been kidnapped and dragged through said magical tree. Or through a mirror? I think it was a mirror? (Yeah, I’m confused too)

giphy1

And that is when I knew there was going to be a love triangle. But I was wrong. Oh, I was so wrong. No, this wasn’t a love triangle. This was nymphomania. Our dear Snow was attracted to every. single. male. she. met. I wanted them all to die, just so I would not have to read one more agonizing second of her basically being like “Oh, Kai is so hot. But no! Bale, what about Bale?! But he’s so hot. I’ll kiss him, Bale won’t mind.” and then while kissing him “Oh, but Jagger had much softer looking lips.” UGHHHHHHH!

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This book made no sense. At all. So, you’re telling me that doctors with a medical license and like… any common sense… lock up a child in an asylum for over 10 years and put her on full blown medication BECAUSE SHE CRASHED INTO A MIRROR ONE TIME WHEN SHE WAS 6? Because fuck logic, right?

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And I’m not even going to go into the topic of how mental illness was treated in this book because… let’s just not go there. I will say only this… it was a disgrace. A fucking disgrace. All the patients in that hospital were basically a cardboard cutout of their illness. As if the only relevant thing about them was their illness, and to add grievance to injury, it wasn’t even a particularly accurate portrayal. I mean, I have very little experience with most of those conditions, but even I could tell they were inaccurately portrayed. Just… a disgrace.

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But the asylum thing wasn’t the only thing that made no sense. Just the whole book felt so discordant. I have so many questions. It was like Paige wasn’t really sure what she was trying to write. Like she couldn’t decide whether she wanted to do like a magical coming of age, training thing or a heist thing or what? Was her dad evil or not? I guess her mum was evil for sure? Bale was… I don’t know who Bale was, really? He ended up being the Enforcer, but what  does that have to do with him liking to set things on fire? And was he evil or being controlled? Greta was a werewolf? I guess? Why? Don’t know. Who exactly was Jagger? What about the witches? If hr mum was a witch, did the other witches know she was evil? What exactly was that prophecy thing? What exactly is it with the tree? I don’t know, it was just all over the place.

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There was no world building. I can sum up the whole world into one word: snow. There was a lot of snow. And the world building wasn’t the only lazy piece of writing in this book. Everything was. There is nothing in this book that is in any way original or interesting, or not a copy paste cliche. Lost princess? Check? Special, special, special snowflake? Check. Convenient family members? Check. Incredibly convoluted, but utterly predictable ‘plot twists’? Check. Insta-love? Check. I feel exhausted just writing this review. It drains me of life and joy.

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I hated Snow. Snow was such an entitled, special little snowflake, I could not even. She was supposed to be badass, but she was just a whiny, horny teenage girl who did nothing but throw temper tantrums and think about boys. Also, how exactly she went from having zero knowledge or control over her magic, to conjuring a pack of snow wolves in like a week?

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The writing was clumsy and bland and just… bad. It was bad. It felt like a first draft, rather than a finished novel. I don’t understand how this book got published. Honestly, what publisher bought this? What editor let this go through? It had no substance whatsoever. It was just an all around awful book. I was so disappointed. I’d heard only amazing things about Dorothy Must Die. And I have read so many reviews from fans of that series who were just shocked at how appallingly bad this book was. I still might give Dorothy Must Die a shot, but this was a hot mess of a book.