Sunday, 26 October 2014

By Garth Nix
Goodreads describes Sabriel as:
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. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof manner barely conceals its malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage long imprisoned by magic, now free in body but still trapped by painful memories. As the three travel deep into the Old Kingdom, threats mount on all sides. And every step brings them closer to a battle that will pit them against the true forces of life and death—and bring Sabriel face-to-face with her own destiny.

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.

If recently you have witnessed the release of Clariel, Garth Nix’s latest addition to his Old Kingdom series and wanted to read it, but found yourself wanting/wondering whether to read his other novels first, I highly, highly recommend you do.

Sabriel was published before I was even born, in 1995. This might be the same for you, dear fellow YA reader. But the absolutely wonderful thing about Nix’s books and just about every fantasy novel is that the story, the themes, its morals, just never become irrelevant or out of style, which can be a common thing with contemporary novels. As times change along with people’s interests and way of speech, contemporary novels can begin to feel old, fast. But as you can see from examples like The Lord of the Rings, fantasy remains. Sabriel is just as good a read as any other YA fantasy books released today.

Many young YA authors today have grown up with Sabriel as their very own heroine. In Lirael (the 2nd book in the series) it features a sword names Nehima, sounding very familiar to Sarah J Maas’s character Nehemia in her Throne of Glass series, showing her teenage love and respect for the books.

Nix’s writing is a mix of things, he paints such great images of his world and has some hard hitting lines, but he also manages to capture the teenage spirit and add humour despite its dangerous storyline.

Sabriel is the perfect heroine, she is a fabulous role model, she’s strong, intelligent, determined…I can’t sing praises about her enough.

The world of the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre are so well linked and described. Everything is explained and has a reason, for example phones, which if left unexplained could’ve become an easy plot-hole for readers to pick at. Having both places in the book allows the best of both worlds for the reader, and makes them want to live there, you still have a modern world with handy appliances like phones and yet still have a wonderful land of magic and adventure right next door!

The use of talking animals can often seem silly in books. But Mogget the cat is an unforgettable character, with a cheeky personality and layers to his character. You constantly have to question your liking for the cat, but Nix still makes you love him. Mogget goes beyond the usual talking animal in literature. Nix manages to weave him so well that it’s so natural for a cat to be talking as still keeps that animalistic sense of being a cat in everything he does, as often talking animals can act too human.

The little hint of a love story in Sabriel is wonderful, it doesn’t take away any of the spotlight on the story being about Sabriel, as can often happen if the author gets too invested in the building of a romance. It was great to have the girl save the boy (strong women-yay!).

Finally, the storyline is so wonderfully unique! I’ve never experienced any others like it. I’ll always remember Sabriel.

I would give Sabriel 4 out of 5 stars!

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