Sabriel by Garth Nix

I saw this book listed a couple of years ago on a post from The Hub about strong female protagonists. I had actually requested it from the library in November for my N author last year, but it didn’t make it through the system until January. Now, instead of filling in that N author nearly last, I’ll get it nearly first!

Published: 1995

Genre: YA fantasy

Length: 311 pages

Setting: various locations in the Old Kingdom and near the Wall in Ancelstierre, 1940s technology level

Summary: Sabriel has nearly graduated from Wyveryly College, a girls school, and is thinking about what to do with her life. That changes when her father fails to meet her for their monthly chat. He is trapped among the Gates of Death and Sabriel is the new Abhorsen, committed to sending the dead permanently through the Gates. She heads back to the Old Kingdom and Abhorsen’s house, pursued by an undead Mordicant. There, she learns more details of what happened to her father and what is pursuing her. She heads to Belisacre, accompanied by Mogget, a servant who is more than he seems. Along the way, she frees Touchstone from a stasis spell that froze him before the first Gate of Death. They find the Abhorsen’s body at the site of the Great Charter Stones. Two hundred years ago, Rogir corrupted and broke the stones with his sister’s and mother’s regal blood. Rogir, now known as Kerrigor, plans to finish the task using the Abhorsen’s blood, but Sabriel and Touchstone escape with Sabriel’s father’s help. They now have to destroy Rogir’s bespelled body to have any chance of beating him.

Final thoughts: Again, it too me a bit to warm up to the book. However, once Sabriel got into the Old Kingdom, I was invested. She had been kept safe in Ancelstierre, which became a problem when her father died before he could explain everything that was going on to her. She enters a lethal battle unaware of who she’s even fighting, and her only help is Moggett, who doesn’t necessarily have her best interests at heart, and Touchstone, who’s been frozen in time for 200 years. Even so, she does succeed, after a fashion. I liked that she didn’t actually kill Rogir – that would have been unlikely. Stronger Abhorsen’s than her had tried and failed to kill Rogir/Kerrigor. I get annoyed when kids are left to do a job that their parents failed at. If the adults with lots of training couldn’t succeed, why should a younger version who has less knowledge succeed? (I’m looking at you, 39 Clues series.) She does conquer him, though. All is not fixed, but at least there’s no impending doom. I also enjoyed the unique Gates into Death. There are several gates you pass through on the way to absolute Death, each with their own challenges to traversing. Overall, a good book and I’ll be finished the series!

Title comes from: The name of the main character.

Reading challenges fulfilled: book #11 for the year, and an N in my author Reading the Alphabet Challenge

If you’re interested in purchasing the book, you can click on the cover image to follow an Amazon affiliate link to the book and thanks for supporting my blog!


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