Monday, December 5, 2016

A Vintage Reads Review: Sabriel



Sabriel (Abhorsen, 1) by Garth Nix, September 30, 1996 (originally published 1995). 491 pages. Published by Harper Collins. Source: Own.
Sabriel is the daughter of the Mage Abhorsen. Ever since she was a tiny child, she has lived outside the Wall of the Old Kingdom--far away from the uncontrolled power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who won't stay dead.

But now, her father is missing and Sabriel is called upon to cross into the world to find him, Leaving the safety of the school she has known as home, Sabriel embarks upon a quest fraught with supernatural dangers, with companions she is unsure of--for nothing is as it seems within the boundary of the Old Kingdom. There, she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life, and comes face to face with her hidden destiny. 
First Sentence:
It was little more than three miles from the Wall into the Old Kingdom, but that was enough.



It has been around six years since I last read Sabriel (if you want, you can read my terrible review from the first time I read it), and apparently in that time I forgot just about everything, excerpt for the bells and the ending, that happened. So, my reread was more like reading it for the first time.
  •  Yet another book that has me unsure of where to start, when it comes to discussing it! I cannot even begin to a properly begin to unpack this book. So, let's start with the role of Abhorsen because it was the one thing that really stuck with me; also probably the most fascinating thing about this book, too. I always found it interesting, and somewhat curious, that the book was centered around the role of the Abhorsen, that of sending the undead and creatures from beyond the gates back. It's curious as to how the author chose that as the basis for the characters role and the means to accomplish that goal. I admit, the nerdy side of me always liked the bells and how each one worked. It was the one thing that I did not forget over the last six years. 
  • At first glance, Sabriel is very one dimensional because all she cares about is getting her father back at any cost. Sure, she makes some atrocious mistakes, but given the fact that she has practically no idea of how things work in the Old Kingdom, nor the true meaning of the role she is forced to take up, I thought she handled things quite well. Sure, if she had made some different decisions things could/would have gone smoother but then again there would not have been as much to the story. All in all, I still liked her. It was not an easy task that was before her; yet she never ran away nor wavered from her path...even though she wanted to many, many times.
  • As for the world, it was an interesting semi-complex world. I liked the way it was set up as well as the difference between the Old Kingdom and (forgive me I'm terrible with names) the place beyond the wall where Sabriel was brought up. The contrast between the two sides of the wall was interesting. Yet, it was the glimpses of the past, like how the charter stones, the Abhorsens, and the fall of the kingdom that really fascinated me when it came to the world. Garth Nix did a wonderful job giving the world and characters backstory that would draw the reader in.

  • The final question remains: Was it as good as I remembered? Well, considering I barely remembered anything from the first time I read it, it's hard to say. Yet, yes yet, I found it to be quite enjoyable! Sure, there were things that were surprising, like Touchstone and his relationship to Sabriel. Overall, I think it held up pretty well compared to the last time I read Sabriel...at least it did not decrease in rating for me!!

Final Verdict: Sabriel- Twenty years after publication and this book is holding up quite well! Well thought out and fascinating characters make this an interesting read for young adults. 

Sabriel earns


I own a copy of this book. All thoughts are my own.

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