Book Review: Sabriel by Garth Nix

SabrielSabriel by Garth Nix
Title: Sabriel (Book 1 in the Old Kingdom series)
Author: Garth Nix
Social Media: Facebook and Twitter
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
Price: $15.00 (paperback) $7 (eBook)
Rating: 5 out of 5

About The Book:
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen trilogy, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

About The Author:
Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing ‘Hail the Conquering Hero Comes’ or possibly ‘Roll Out the Barrel’. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.
Despite a wheel literally falling off the Austin, Garth survived to return to Australia and study at the University of Canberra. After finishing his degree in 1986 he worked in a bookshop, then as a book publicist, a publisher’s sales representative, and editor. Along the way he was also a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve, serving in an Assault Pioneer platoon for four years. Garth left publishing to work as a public relations and marketing consultant from 1994-1997, till he became a full-time writer in 1998. He did that for a year before joining Curtis Brown Australia as a part-time literary agent in 1999. In January 2002 Garth went back to dedicated writer again, despite his belief that full-time writing explains the strange behaviour of many authors. He now lives in Sydney with his wife, two sons and lots of books.

I am a massive fan of Garth Nix, I loved The Old Kingdom trilogy and I loved The Keys to the Kingdom series, and then I found out that Garth Nix was planning on publishing Clariel (a prequel to The Old Kingdom trilogy). I also found this interview on youtube:

So I figured instead of just reading and reviewing Clariel, I would read and review all four books (in publishing order) in The Old Kingdom series.

Reasons You Should Read Sabriel (if you haven’t already done so):
~Interesting Plot
-The Abhorsen’s job is to make sure the dead stay dead, to use necromancy for good, which I hadn’t read about being used in that way before. There’s also charter magic, the Clayr (who can see into the future), Free Magic creatures (usually trouble). I enjoyed the detailed world-building and the interesting divide between two different societies and how problems in one effected the other (it’s a reoccurring theme).

~Great Characters
-Sabriel: The main character and an great heroin. What I like about Sabriel is that she’s an active character who can take care of herself and uses her brains to solve problems, she’s also aware of and admits to her faults and works within them, like her lack of experience in the Old Kingdom and limited charter-mage knowledge
-Mogget: The obvious favorite, a mysterious Free-Magic creature construct that takes the form of a cat and delivers knowledge/advice/history about the Old Kingdom and Free-of-charge Snark, what more could you want in an interesting side-character with complex back-story?
-Touchstone: Berserker warrior trapped in a physical/spiritual stasis for 200 hundred years, comes with a red and gold kilt, tragic back-story and lots of knowledge about charter-mage symbols. Touchstone is a good lancer to Sabriel’s Hero, I think they balance each other out.

~Stand Alone Books
-While there is some continuity between Sabriel and Lirael, you can read them as stand alone books. Apparently a lot of people read Lirael, then go back and read Sabriel afterwards. It’s entirely up to the reader (though I personally prefer reading them in order).

Also, here’s some interesting fan-art of Sabriel and Mogget, Touchstone (coloured by snerk) and Lirael by Iberghol

So, my questions for the readers are:
-Have you read the Old Kingdom books? Why or Why not?
-What’s your favorite fantasy series you read as a teenager and still enjoy reading today?
Let me know in the comments section 🙂

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