Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel (Old Kingdom, #1)

by Garth Nix

Breathtaking novel, the first of a trilogy, from a brilliant newcomer to the Collins fiction list.

Sabriel is sent as a child across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. Away from magic; away from the Dead. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands - for her father is none other than The Abhorson. His task is to lay the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him - and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father's title and duties - to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible challenges whilst discovering her own supernatural abilities - and her destiny.

Reviewed by nitzan_schwarz on

4 of 5 stars


Originally posted on my blog.

3.5 stars

I've read Sabriel for the first time somewhere at the first years of high-school, and 
it left such a big impression on me that the name stuck - among all the other books I've read at the time, Sabriel is the only one (that didn't have Harry Potter in the title) that I could easily name.

I realize now with this re-read that I remembered very few things of the book. I remembered Mogget (though not his name) and the final, final battle. I remembered a stone penis (which, turns out was actually a wooden penis, lol), probably because I felt so very "adult" at the time to read a book that actually had one. I remembered a guy coming to life from a statue, and a blooming love between the MC and him. I also remembered he was a prince , and that Abhosren was her father.

But I didn't remember this book was about the Dead and and keeping the dead... dead. I didn't remember Abhorsen is a title, not just Sabriel's father. I didn't remember the many layers of the plot, or the evil dude, or anything of that sort.

And honestly, I still love this book. It's action filled, very interesting and I love this world - though I think I'd be far too scared to ever live in it. I loved Sabrieland Mogget and Touchstone. (But, for god's name, what's his real name?!).

Sabriel is a strong heroine, even though she is very unprepared for being one. Moggat was both adorable and absolutely hilarious. Touchstone was serious and aloof but in the kind of way you could swoon after and make you wish you were the one to make him crack a smile.

But I've also noticed some of the weaker aspects of it now, under more cynical and mature eyes.

The romance... I love Touchstone and Sabriel together. Always have, always will. But I realized while reading this book again that I don't know why they love each other. They barely talked. So, yes. He was heroic, and she was heroic, and it definitely started to make them look at each other differently... but I felt like the book was missing the step between that attraction - to actual love.

Also, I hated where this book ended. I wanted to see the consequences of that aftermath, I wanted to see more about Sabriel and Touchstone and where both of them go from here - how can he reclaim the throne that he never thought of as actually his? 

And, My god - how didn't I realize this was a part of a series when I read this the first time? But then, the next books are not about Sabriel so I think my curiosity will go unanswered. Damn.

On a side note, how cool is that that we're getting a forth book?

Originally posted on my blog.

Original Comments
I've read Sabriel a LONG time ago. I still remember some of the details - and the fact I LOVED it. I had absolutely NO idea this was a series, though, and now I really want to re-read this book (preferably in English) and read it all!

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