Garth Nix is an Australian fantasy author, who has written a few fairly popular book series and Sabriel is the first book in Old Kingdom or Abhorsen series (depending on the country the book was printed).This book first came out in 1995 and was reprinted in 2013, there have been talks about movie adaptation, yet no further information is available and seems that the talks died in 2008. While reading I was actually thinking quite a lot about how this would look on the screen.
So in this book Sabriel is a necromancer in training and is learning Charter Magic, until one day her father – Abhorsen fails to show up at their usual meeting time and instead sends an unusual messenger with his necromancy tools. Afraid of what this could mean she decides to find out more about what has happened to Abhorsen and sets for her father’s home, which awaits her with many surprises and many challenges. Suddenly people start to call her the Abhorsen and her life changes completely, when she finds out of the many things happening in her lands.
This book was well written, the world was created having in mind that Sabriel doesn’t know all the secrets of it, yet when reading, it didn’t seem flawed or lacking information. It was flowing well, except for a few places that seemed a little tangled. It seems like very often authors have an image of the world in their minds while the protagonists do not know it too well, so they fail to explain it to the reader. But this wasn’t anything like it.
Although the book seemed to be done very well, for me it lacked emotional attachment and colourful layers. What I mean is that there were many adventures and dangerous matters resolved in this book, yet my heart wasn’t pounding and I didn’t feel like my breath was taken away. I didn’t feel the action although it was there and because of that it seamed very pale.
I have to admit that the second half of it was more entertaining and there were few things that made me want to frantically read more, yet, once I found out the things I had wanted to know they were either predictable or a bit underwhelming.
My favourite part of the book was when Sabriel was spending a lot of time with the cat Mogget in her house. The cat opened the door to the new world with a great character and sarcastic, funny and mysterious explanations. I think in general Mogget was my favourite character. True, I am a cat person, but I could imagine him putting his fluffy paw on a map to point where they are going, which added feelings to my reading experience, which as I said, I was lacking.
Sabriel’s character development was brilliant, she was just a child at the start the book, but she grows so much and I didn’t even notice how she evolved, until it was pointed out to me. But unfortunately I didn’t relate to her or Touchstone at all. And I think that is what I was missing in this book, the colourful layers of writing and emotions to make me care for them and love them.
Nevertheless the book ended very intriguing and I will definitely be reading the next one, because I just want to know the explanation to everything that happened, not to mention the furry friends and their adventures and destiny… and I guess, to know, if they are friends at all.
So I guess the only thing I actually disliked about the book was the romance, everything else I was alright with/didn’t care about/did care about, so I think fantasy fans could enjoy this. Perhaps ones that are a bit more into necromancy than I am. This book received three stars from me, because everything was fine, it got me a little excited, but that pretty much is it!