Author: Garth Nix
Publisher: HarperTeen, 1997 (first published 1995 in Australia)
Narrator: Tim Curry
Rating: 5 stars
Sabriel has been around for 17 years at this point, and I read it back when I was in 8th or 9th grade for this first time. Recently I discovered a prequel is coming out in October of this year, and to prepare I decided to reread the three books in the series.
Sabriel is 18, and gets excellent marks at Wyverly College, where she has been a student since age 5. Her father, Abhorsen, visits every once in a while, either in the flesh or via the spirit world, as his work requires he be in the Old Kingdom across the wall. He is Abhorsen, necromancer and sorcerer who lays the dead to final rest, when they might walk the earth instead of staying in death. But when Sabriel receives her father's sword and his bandolier that holds the bells which control and banish the dead, she knows something is wrong and sets out to find her father, whom she suspects is trapped in death. Little does she know what kind of journey she will be undertaking; there is much more than her father's life at stake, and it is up to her to bring the Old Kingdom back from the chaos that has taken hold.
Garth Nix is a master. The world he has created is incredibly lush, dark, and complex, one that stuck with me long after I finished reading the books. And Sabriel is one admirable and amazing heroine. I remember wishing I were brave like her, comparing some of my discomforts with what she has to go through in this book and thinking my life wasn't so bad. Plus, the magic (both free and Charter) and dead creatures that walk in life are thrilling and chilling. I don't think I realized this is kind of a zombie book when I first read it; I loved it just as much upon rereading it, and zombies usually freak me out. So high fives to Nix for creating world with all kinds of zombies that is creepy, but won't give me nightmares. There is too much beauty and excitement in the Old Kingdom to keep me from reading about it.
One little note: I did listen to the audiobook the second time around, and as it's narrated by Tim Curry, it was pretty great. I did find myself having to rewind a lot though, as Curry's voice is pretty soothing and I found myself zoning out. But, I recommend it.
Disclosure: I got this audiobook from my local library.