Rating: 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
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.