Tuesday, April 2, 2013

Abbreviated Review: Sabriel by Garth Nix

Abbreviated Reviews are just shorter and use a more simple format. Here we go:

I saw this book at the used book store many times. I often picked it up, then put it back down. I mean, look at this terrible, boring, old-lady cover:
AWFUL cover
Then I read some other Garth Nix titles and saw a different cover... Boy am I glad I finally picked up Sabriel! It's definitely going on my Favorites Shelf!
BETTER cover!
Sabriel is an epic high fantasy, set in a world that is literally on the borders. The story revolves around the border between life and death. Sabriel is a necromancer, but not just any necromancer. She and her father, Abhorsen, are sworn to bind the death in Death. They often have to travel into Death themselves to do this. The story is set on another important border - between a realm of magic and that of ordinary (1920's ish) society. Both borders have been in a perpetual state of unrest for the last 20 years. The Dead aren't staying dead and scary Free Magics are creeping across The Wall into the rest of the world. Now Sabriel's father is trapped in death... or actually dead? She must find him and save the kingdom from a terrible enemy set on releasing all of the Dead and taking power for himself.

Sure. This sounds like your typical high fantasy, girl-on-a-quest-to-save-the-world novel. I thought so too. But Garth Nix weaves a story like no other. The setting is both beautiful and eerie. The magic is simple, but powerful. And the villains are really really scary. Sabriel is a hero worth believing in. She never whines or hands over the reigns to her male companion. Garth Nix knows how to write strong female protagonists. Count this book a new favorite.

Content appropriate for grades 9-12
5 stars

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