Review: Sabriel by Garth Nix


Sabriel is sent across the Wall to the safety of a school in Ancelstierre. After receiving a cryptic message from her father, 18-year-old Sabriel leaves her ordinary school and returns across the Wall into the Old Kingdom.


I’d been nagged for years to read this books.  By friends, family and fellow bloggers and I tried once but I just wasn’t in the mood to read it at the time.  So, this December I made a real effort and picked it up again.  Plus, my cousin leant me her copy to read and I knew that Andrew from The Pewterwolf would go nuts at me if I didn’t read it soon.

Sabriel is a fantasy set novel about two worlds that co-exist but don’t always overlap.  Ancelstierre is more akin to the world we know and The Old Kingdom is the fantasy-filled world.  Sabriel is the daughter of Abhorsen, a great necromancer, who goes missing and she is forced to return to The Old Kingdom to try and save her father from Death and to help protect both worlds from the Dead returning and causing havoc.  With a cat-shaped being called Mogget and a soul, trapped in time for over a hundred years, that returns to his body; Touchstone.

Now; I will start by saying that I did enjoy this book and found the mythology very clever and the characters all had interesting edges to them that made their part in the story very fascinating.  It’s a beginning to a series of books that has many possible avenues it could follow and lots of potential to it.  I felt the cold when it was snowing and I felt the sadness when Sabriel had to make hard decisions to protect the world she knows.

The trouble for me is that I think I’ve read this book many years too late.  

Let me explain:

When I really got into YA, (yes; off the back of twilight), my first port of call was books in this genre.  I loved fantasy and devoured the likes of Cassie Clare, Richelle mead, Maria V. Synder and more.  I adored following the world building and the love interest thrown into the mix to make your heart quiver.  However, now I feel like I’ve lost my lust for it because I’m more interested in story that have reality at their roots.  I want to see real life in my books or I want complete absurdity and mayhem.  So, I can review this book and say I enjoyed it but wasn’t in love with it like others I know.  However,  I think I feel like this because I’ve overdone it with this genre very early on and now a fantasy book really has to hook and consume me for me to adore it.  This one didn’t but I can see why it has done for other people.

Sabriel is published by Harper Collins and is available now in bookshops and online.

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