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Sabriel by Garth Nix

Sabriel (1995)

by Garth Nix

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Old Kingdom / Abhorsen (1)

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7,158218497 (4.21)383
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» See also 383 mentions

English (214)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (217)
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
Sabriel by Garth Nix
3 stars
Sabriel lives in a world where magic and necromancy exist in tandem with a “real” England that appears to be early 20th century. She is a mage and an hereditary necromancer whose job is to vanquish the evil forces of death. Nix has created elaborate overlapping societies with rules and rituals of magic. There are magical creatures and creations, a little romance and a climatic battle between good and evil. Sabriel is a kind of fantasy fiction that I would have found very appealing 25 years ago. I think Garth Nix is considered to be a YA author. I came across some of his other books on the youth shelf at Borders.
This was an audio book narrated by Tim Curry whose lovely voice kept me listening even though I felt strongly that I have long outgrown this genre.
( )
  msjudy | May 30, 2016 |
Terrific fantasy novel with an interesting and strong heroine. ( )
  NTG_Library | May 22, 2016 |
While it is classified as a YA book, adults will enjoy this harrowing fantasy as well. ( )
  debs913 | Apr 2, 2016 |
Does the walker chose the path, or the path the walker? ( )
  thebookmagpie | Mar 13, 2016 |
Two of my biggest peeves in SFF are present in this book.

1) A magic system that remains vague and unexplained. I don't mind mysterious magic as long as it's a side dish; not tied to the main stakes. But if every major scene involves magic without rules? Fail. That's lazy world building. If anything can happen at any time, then the characters are never in danger and there's no real suspense.

2) A sarcastic, bitter, enslaved sidekick. I don't get the appeal. In science fiction, this character is often an A.I. or a spirit bonded to the main character. In "Sabriel," it's a demon type of thing in the form of a cat, bonded to Sabriel, the main character. He's basically her slave, and he's bitter and sarcastic. This type of character is usually enough to make me quit reading.

I don't see enough good in Sabriel to root for her. She doesn't struggle much. Magically powerful, an heiress, well-educated, lots of friends, and a pro at swordplay. Her skills are never grown or explained; we're just told that she's super talented. The quest to save her father could make her sympathetic, but she never seems to question the fact that she inherited spirit-slaves from her father. Her new slaves are depicted as endearing servants (or a sarcastic cat). This made it harder for me to like a character with the powers of a generic fantasy heroine.

So I stopped reading at the flood & paperwing scene.

This book has some cool setting details, and hints of interesting enemies. The prose is flowing and fast-paced. It will appeal to people who like epic fantasy that departs from the usual setting tropes--as long as you don't mind character tropes. ( )
  Abby_Goldsmith | Feb 10, 2016 |
Showing 1-5 of 214 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (31 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Garth Nixprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kattelus, KaisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villari Gerli, FabriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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First words
It was little more than three miles from the Wall into the Old Kingdom, but that was enough.
Sabriel digested this in silence, staring at the swirls of fish and sauce on her plate, silver scales and red tomato blurring into a pattern of swords and fire. The table blurred too, and the room beyond, and she felt herself reaching for the border with Death. But try as she might, she couldn’t cross it. She sensed it, but there was no way to cross, in either direction – Abhorsen’s House was too well protected. But she did feel something at the border. Inimical things lurked there, waiting for her to cross, but there was also the faintest thread of something familiar, like the scent of a woman’s perfume after she has left the room, or the waft of a particular pipe tobacco around a corner. Sabriel focused on it and threw herself once more at the barrier that separated her from Death. -- p.73
The marks became silver blades as they left her hand, mind and voice, flashing through the air swifter than any thrown dagger. -- p. 107
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Book description
Sabriel, the daughter of the Abhorsen (a 'lawfully-good' necromancer charged with putting the dead back into death) finds herself on a journey to find out what happened to her father after she is sent his necromancer's tools. At her father's house she meets a cat with strange and dangerous abilities, the sarcastic Mogget. She soon takes up her quest as an Abhorsen and finds that looking for her father is looking for trouble as she accepts her fate. But evil waits for her in Death...
Haiku summary

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0064471837, Mass Market Paperback)

After receiving a cryptic message from her father, Abhorsen, a necromancer trapped in Death, 18-year-old Sabriel sets off into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands. Unlike other necromancers, who raise the dead, Abhorsen lays the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him--and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father's title and duties--to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible exhaustion, violent confrontations, and terrifying challenges to her supernatural abilities--and her destiny.

Garth Nix delves deep into the mystical underworld of necromancy, magic, and the monstrous undead. This tale is not for the faint of heart; imbedded in the classic good-versus-evil story line are subplots of grisly ghouls hungry for human life to perpetuate their stay in the world of the living, and dark, devastating secrets of betrayal and loss. Just try to put this book down. For more along this line, try Nix's later novel: Shade's Children. (Ages 12 and older) --Emilie Coulter

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:16:44 -0400)

(see all 7 descriptions)

Sabriel, daughter of the necromancer Abhorsen, must journey into the mysterious and magical Old Kingdom to rescue her father from the Land of the Dead.

» see all 6 descriptions

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