“Death and what came after death was no great mystery to Sabriel. She just wished it was.”
When I picked up this book on a whim (it was on sale and the cover was so gorgeous) I wasn’t intending to read it right away. But then my husband decided to get a haircut and I started it while I was waiting, and then I couldn’t put it down. I’ve honestly been in a bit of a reading slump lately, and this book finally broke it.
What’s it about: Sabriel’s father fails to arrive for a visit at her boarding school, and one of his monstrous dead servants arrives in his place, carrying a sack of her father’s necromancing tools. Sabriel knows this can only mean one thing – that her father is trapped somewhere within death and only she can find him. Taking up her father’s tools of a sword and set of bells, Sabriel must cross the magical wall into the Old Kingdom to find her father and learn what it means to be a necromancer.
What I thought: This book is so awesome. This world-building is absolutely fantastic and is absolutely the highlight of this book. The detail that has gone into creating the magic of necromancy and the world of the dead is wonderfully vivid. I know the plot of girl’s-parent-goes-missing-and-she-must-find-him doesn’t seem the most original, but when set in such a beautifully original world, it doesn’t feel the slightest bit derivative.
“Fear and realisation of ignorance, strong medicines against stupid pride.”
I loved Sabriel as a character. She was brave and intelligent and wasn’t constantly doing stupid things like so many protagonists seem to these days. She’s an extremely sensible girl who is polite and studious. Despite being quite powerful, she never flaunts her power or uses it for selfish purposes.
There is also a sassy talking cat that is a quite delightful addition to the mix.
“I used to think like that at school,” Sabriel answered. “Dreaming about the Old Kingdom. Proper Charter Magic. Dead to bind. Princes to be –“
Okay, so there is a bit of romance in this book that is not entirely convincing and all happens a bit abruptly, but it doesn’t really detract from the marvelousness of this book as a whole, because there is so much marvelousness.
This is the kid of book where even though you are only half way through the first book, you feel you have to go out at 10 pm in the dead of winter to buy the rest of the series at the 24-hr Kmart. That’s exactly what I did. I just had to have them.
I would recommend this book to any lover of YA fantasy.
I rate it 4.5/5 stars.