Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Review: Sabriel

           Sabriel, by Garth Nix is a unique fantasy led by a strong, capable young woman. Sabriel is set in an interesting world—a sort of mix between WW2 level technology and classic Tolkien swords and magic. The magic system is clever and well thought out. I loved that bells were an integral part of the magic of the Abhorsen… whose job it is to bind the dead.
The book follows an 18 year old woman named Sabriel, on a journey to bring back her father, the Abhorsen. But all is not well in the Old Kingdom… the dead are rising, and it is up to Sabriel to take her father’s place and put a stop to it. Along the way, she meets some memorable characters: the guard, Touchstone, and my personal favorite, Moggot, her guide. Sabriel herself is a wonderful character. She is strong and smart, but wholly human and vulnerable, too. It was a delight to follow her as she found her path. Touchstone is very likable, and Moggot is full of win—he is sarcastic and amusing but at the same time, incredibly intimidating. 
 I guess that the dead in this book could be considered zombies (well, yes, they are zombies in the simplest sense of the word) but they read very differently, though they are no less menacing. The underworld that Nix created is fantastic, and the influence from mythology is clear (and appreciated). 
The pace is extremely fast, never letting up for a second, which makes it hard to put down, and it’s a deliciously dark and scary romp. The constant state of danger and shadowy monsters lurking in every corner was enough to make me shiver. I will definitely be picking up the next book of the trilogy, Lireal. 
Sabriel is a perfect read for those looking for an excellent dark fantasy adventure—but not those afraid of the dark. 

Note: Here is an excellent rendition of Sabriel I found on DeviantArt... Check it out:

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