Review: Sabriel by Garth Nix

A book about Necromancy! Coooool. Garth Nix is one of those well known teen fantasy authors I’m just getting around to reading now. When you have a tight budget and books are expensive, you pick up whatever is cheap and has been on your ‘I’ll get to it’ pile for a while. Enter a used copy of Sabriel I found in a bookstore in Napier.

Sabriel is a mostly normal girl living in Ancelstierre, a world similar to our own, though she was born in the Old Kingdom, which is just a short ways away on the other side of the wall. Her father is also the Abhorsen, a necromancer who works to protect the Old Kingdom from evil magics. The novel kicks off when she is thrust into a world she barely knows in order to rescue her father, who is trapped in Death, with the aid of a cat named Mogget and a soldier named Touchstone, who was trapped in a ship’s hull for hundreds of years.

This was a fun, fairly fast-paced read. I enjoyed reading a story that revolved around new types of magic and sorcery than haven’t seen before. The world building was rich but not overbearing. There was also a map in the edition I had. Always a plus. I also liked the duality of the world. It reminded me a bit of Stardust. But I liked that the two were aware of each other, and there was crossover. One world wasn’t just this mysterious scary thing on the other side of a wall.

Nix is a very fluid writer and gives beautiful descriptions of the locations and items in his books. I particularly enjoyed reading the bits where Sabriel was in Death. The different concepts of what is in the afterlife always pique my interest.



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