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Sabriel (1995)

by Garth Nix

Other authors: See the other authors section.

Series: Old Kingdom (1)

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
9,397274652 (4.18)1 / 444
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.
  1. 231
    Northern Lights by Philip Pullman (staram)
  2. 182
    A Wizard of Earthsea by Ursula K. Le Guin (wosret)
  3. 161
    Lirael by Garth Nix (xavierroy)
  4. 174
    Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone by J. K. Rowling (wosret, darzzled)
  5. 110
    The Dark Is Rising by Susan Cooper (electronicmemory)
    electronicmemory: Both books have beautifully written prose, elegantly sketched worlds, and stories that stay with you long after you've finished. Two young protagonists must face overwhelming dark forces as they struggle with isolation from their peers and allies.… (more)
  6. 40
    The Naming by Alison Croggon (geophile)
  7. 30
    Poison by Chris Wooding (cmbohn)
    cmbohn: Features a strong female protagonist, some creepy characters, and great combat.
  8. 20
    Cart and Cwidder and Drowned Ammet by Diana Wynne Jones (ed.pendragon)
    ed.pendragon: Both titles involve musical instruments (cwidder in one, bells in the other) which have extraordinary magical powers in the correct hands.
  9. 20
    The Ropemaker by Peter Dickinson (cammykitty)
  10. 31
    Tithe by Holly Black (wosret)
  11. 20
    Green Rider by Kristen Britain (geophile)
  12. 20
    The Amber Spyglass by Philip Pullman (Morteana)
  13. 10
    Charmed Life by Diana Wynne Jones (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: The roles of Chrestomanci and Abhorsen are similar- magicians who police the use of magic. Both books feature their protagonists growing into these roles.
  14. 21
    The Raven Ring by Patricia C. Wrede (ut.tecum.loquerer)
  15. 10
    The Sacrifice by Kristine Kathryn Rusch (wosret)
  16. 10
    Graceling by Kristin Cashore (ajwseven)
  17. 00
    The Shattered Gates by Ginn Hale (amaranthe)
    amaranthe: Abhorsen and The Rifter are both unique and distinctive stories, but they are also similar enough in tone and in certain other elements that people who like one may well enjoy the other. The Rifter is a little more obviously aimed at adults.
  18. 00
    Radiant by Karina Sumner-Smith (sandstone78)
  19. 00
    Ghost Ocean by Shawn M. Peters (infiniteletters)
  20. 00
    Geist by Philippa Ballantine (Rubbah)

(see all 21 recommendations)


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» See also 444 mentions

English (271)  Danish (1)  Dutch (1)  German (1)  All languages (274)
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
Recensione in italiano qui: http://thereadingpal.blogspot.it/2016/11/recensione-34-sabriel.html

Silence came at last. Gingerly, they let each other go.
Touchstone shakily groped around for his sword, but Sabriel lit
a candle before he could cut his fingers in the dark. They
looked at each other in the flickering light. Sabriel's eyes were
wet. Touchstone's mouth bloody.
"What was that?" Touchstone asked huskily.
"Astarael," replied Sabriel. "The final bell. It calls everyone
who hears it into Death."

Sabriel is the first book in a series written by Garth Nix. Sabriel, because of her father's death, becomes the new Abhorsen. And to be the Abhorsen means to leave behind your own life, to leave your relationships and your interests, to fight the Death that try to run away from their own place and come back to the living. The Abhorsen uses some bells that, with different sounds, get different effects on the Dead and, also thanks to Charter Magic, she manages to send them back to Death.
But Sabriel is not like the other Abhorsen: she knows nothing of her duty and the Ancient Kingdom from which she herself is from. And she doesn't know that one fo the Great Dead is coming back to conquer both Kingdoms separated by the Wall. And she is the only one who could beat him.
Sabriel, even if the first in a series, can be read on its own as the story of this period ends in this book. Lirael, the second book, is set 14 years later.

Garth Nix has got a particular writing stule that I like and, together with the story, made me go on with it. The world created by Garth Nix is full of original creatures, creatures of Free Magic and quite ancient, but also beings that came back from Death.
And thanks to Sabriel, who, being the Abhorsen, also walks in Death, we can see the structure of this realm, divided in 9 parts.

Sabriel is a great character. Even if thrown in a world completely unknown to her, she almost doesn't whine and she goes on to complete her duty.
Mogget is an ambigous character, imprisoned but the Abhorsen to help the latter, he'd like revenge, but helps Sabriel anyway for a period of time.
Touchstone is an interesting character too, linked with a tight knot to Kerrigor, the deceased evil prince that tries to conquer the two Kingdoms.

The book was way up my expectations and I hope to read the next book soon! ( )
  thereadingpal | Jun 14, 2022 |
Sabriel is a professionally assembled and competently constructed commercial product of contemporary fantasy that strictly adheres to all accepted writing conventions. ( )
  whbiii | Jun 1, 2022 |
The audio version is read by Tim Curry. 'nough said. I didn't expect to like a book about a necromancer, and aside from the constant thoughts about the Dead (you can hear the capitals in his voice), it was an excellent story. Harry Potter fans might enjoy this. The characters are good, and the setting intriguing. ( )
  jennybeast | Apr 14, 2022 |
This was another one of my series-sampling audio listens, to see if I might want to pursue it in print someday.

Audio Narration
The narrator is Tim Curry. I thought his character voicing was a little inconsistent at times, and I’m not sure a male narrator makes the most sense for a book where the main POV character is a female (or vice versa), but for the most part I thought his narration was fine.

The main character is Sabriel, the daughter of Abhorsen, a necromancer. He’s not your normal raising-the-dead-and-causing-mayhem necromancer, though. The main way he exercises his power over the dead is by binding dangerous dead things to protect humanity. Sabriel shares his abilities, but she is inexperienced. When Abhorsen disappears, Sabriel tries to find him, and has to deal with a lot of things that she wasn’t prepared for along the way.

The story was moderately interesting, and I liked Sabriel pretty well, but I also had a lot of complaints. My first main frustration was how, despite having regular contact and a good relationship with her father, Sabriel was ignorant of too many things about the world and Abhorsen’s role that her father should have considered a priority to teach her. It felt contrived to keep the reader in suspense by keeping the character ignorant of things she really should have known. I was also frustrated by the instalove, but it didn’t dominate the story so it only annoyed me the few times it came up.

I think my biggest frustration was how many times problems were resolved via coincidence or Deus ex machina. Maybe not always Deus ex machina in the strictest sense, but in the “known thing doing heretofore unexpected and unknown and not terribly logical things” sense. Additionally, the magic system seemed to have rules, but they weren’t all that clear to me and sometimes it seemed like the rules were just there for the author’s convenience to wrestle the plot where he wanted it to go.

One spoilery comment: It made no sense to me that Mogget’s ring, which was presumably intended to bind Mogget in particular, could be used to bind an entirely different creature which would then generate its own separate ring. If the ring worked that way, Sabriel could have gone around throwing it over the head of everything that got in her way. I guess one could say it only worked this way because Mogget was inside of what’s-his-face, but I’m still not buying it. It generated a new ring for him! It makes no sense. :p

I’m marking this as a “probably not” for following up on it in print someday. Even though it’s part of a series, this book does stand alone well, and it’s a pretty quick read (or listen). ( )
1 vote YouKneeK | Mar 23, 2022 |
In form this is a classic fantasy novel. A young woman heads across the Wall to her country of origin to find her Father. Her Father was the Abhorsen, a mage who specialized in returning undead to being dead. He's missing and things are a mess in the Old Kingdom. I liked the world, the writing and the characters, though there really are only two of them. The magic system has a great magical feel to it without being the usual super-powered mess and Nix's take on death is interesting. ( )
  Karlstar | Jan 24, 2022 |
Showing 1-5 of 271 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (44 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Garth Nixprimary authorall editionscalculated
Curry, TimNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, DianeCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Dillon, LeoCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Feberwee, EricaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kattelus, KaisaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Raos, PredragTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Reece, GavinIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Villari Gerli, FabriziaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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To my family and friends.
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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Wikipedia in English (1)

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.

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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
Meet new Abhorsen
Sabriel: necromancer
banishing the Dead.

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