Publication Date: May 6, 2003
Publisher: HarperCollins Children’s Books
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. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories.
As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.
Holy cow! How have I not read this until now?! I must have been living under a rock. I first heard of Sabriel a few years ago, when an author buddy cited it as the book that made her want to be a writer. So I put it on my to-be-read list, and tried a few unsuccessful times to get it from the library. That should have been my first clue right there, it was always checked out. Finally, I requested it from another library in my county. If I had known how incredible the book was, I would have rushed to my favorite independent bookstore and bought it right then and there. (Pardon the shameless plug for indie bookstores, love them!) Garth Nix has quickly become one of my newly-found favorite authors, and Sabriel one of my favorite books.
Sabriel plunges the reader into a beautiful and dangerous fantasy world with terrifying monsters, wild magic and a strong and sympathetic heroine. Raised across The Wall, Sabriel has been training to become the next Abhorsen, the only Charter Mage allowed harnessing the seven bells that allow the user to cross into death and control the dead. The Abhorsen’s charge is to fight against Free Magic and the necromancers and creatures that use it. When her father’s spirit becomes trapped in death, Sabriel must travel across The Wall, find his abandoned body, locate his spirit somewhere among the nine gates of death and reunite the two. The book was well written, fast-paced, full of magic, adventure and yes, even some romance. Sabriel is easily the most original and engaging work of fantasy I’ve read in a long time. I’d highly recommend that you: