by: Garth Nix

Challenges: First in a Series, 2009 YA Challenge

Series: The Abhorsen Trilogy

Published: 1995

# of pages: 491

My sister-in-law loaned me this series and I'm so glad she did! It was refreshing to read such a great young adult fantasy. After seeing the cover and glancing at the print inside, I expected it to be a little too young adult, but no worries, this is a book adults can enjoy just as much. I don't know why I expected it to be too juevenile. I suppose the print is a little larger than in some books, but the writing style and vocabulary were advanced.

Sabriel is a young woman who is about to graduate from her boarding school when she receives a disturbing message from her father, Abhorsen. She believes his spirit is trapped in Death, but his body is still alive and trapped in the Old Kingdom, the land beside the one in which she resides. She immediately starts off on a journey to rescue him...and rescue the Old Kingdom in the process. On the way, she meets many interesting people (and things). She learns about the Old Kingdom's history and magic and more about her father.

The worlds Nix created are fascinating and unique. I like that the world Sabriel was raised in is more like our modern world in the early 1900s. They have cars, airplanes, electricity, and guns. Magic is not officially recognized or well known, except near the border of the Old Kingdom. The Old Kingdom is a land of magic that is the typical fantasy world. There aren't any modern conveniences, only magical inventions. I thought this was original on Nix's part and helps the reader relate to Sabriel's confusion at entering a magical kingdom, but still gives us what we typically expect from a fantasy novel.

I also loved the characters. I don't see how anyone can dislike Sabriel. She's brave, but not unnaturally so. She's compassionate and strong, but still shows annoyance, fear, and weakness. The "cat," Mogget, was one of my favorite characters, if not my favorite. Although he's a spirit in a cat's body, he still has feline qualities. I love cat characters in fantasy books that can speak. I find it interesting that in many books they are guiding and wise characters, while being aloof and distant, of course! And Touchstone is a mysterious character that I still want to know more about. I hope he is explained a little more in the next book of the series, Lirael.

Overall, I recommend this book to young adults and adults who enjoy fantasy. The beginning of the book took me a little while to get into. The whole Death and Charter magic and necromancy were a little confusing and topics I didn't expect to read about in this unique book. However, I'm glad that this book is different from other fantasy novels and so try to give it a chance even if you don't enjoy the first few chapters.


Nymeth said...

I love this series! I'm so glad you enjoyed the book. And I think the second book is even better. At first I had to get over my shock over the fact that Sabriel is no longer the protagonist. But as much as I love her, I grew to love Lirael even more. She's a librarian. Need I say more? :P

Myckyee said...

Great review! I like fantasy. I just asked my daughter and she has it but doesn't know where it is! ARGHH!!! Ah, well another book for my TBR pile.

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