This may be the first book of yet another "cross-over" fantasy trilogy--theoretically equally appealing to both children and adult readers--but thankfully Sabriel
has enough verve and panache about it to reach just such a wide readership and to ensure that author Garth Nix has created a bandwagon all of his own. Constantly rich and meaty, the story is intriguing from the off. Page by page the tension builds and draws you into a highly imaginative landscape that has familiarity and originality in equal measures.
Sabriel attends Wyverley Girls College in Ancelstierre (Nix's version of normal) and has recently graduated with runaway firsts in every subject. But her particular school has certain extra-curricular activities, like the learning of Magic, because of its proximity to the Wall which marks Ancelstierre's border with the Old Kingdom. Over the wall, life is very different and the use of magic is commonplace. Then, on the edge of death, Sabriel's father, Abhorson, sends her a cryptic message that means she must venture into the Old Kingdom and calm the storm that is brewing there, and which will surely multiply at her father's passing. Refusing to accept his fate, Sabriel inherits the tools of her father's trade and his name. Her new duty is to lay the disturbed dead back to rest with the help of seven powerful bells worn across the chest. Sabriel seeks her father's slayer in a mammoth journey that is hindered by dark magic, monsters-a-plenty and shadowy unsubstantial evils.
The narrative builds into a luxurious tale of good versus evil, with a re-assuringly likeable central character to take us through it all. Nix's writing is solid and well-planned, his prose convincing and rounded. Make a note to look up the sequels Lirael and Abhorsen in due course--they're unlikely to disappoint. (Ages 10 and over)--John McLay
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. I congratulate Garth Nix.” Philip Pullman
“Fast pace, drama, vivid descriptions, excitement and humour… What more could you want?” The Guardian
"Every publisher thinks they have the next great children's fantasy writer. Harper Collins know they have." Nick Holt, AML
"Pacy, gripping and totally absorbing…I loved it." Wayne Winstone, Children's and Non-book Director, Ottakars
"An unputdownable book, completely fabulous." Claire Nuttall, Children's Fiction Buyer, W H Smith
"This 'good versus evil' tale is raised above the rest of the fantasy genre by the quality of Garth Nix's imagination and the beauty of his writing…destined to become a classic." Helen Davies, Books Etc
"Captured the mood of fantasy with such realism that I was enthralled from beginning to end, a really cracking story!" Diane Sinclair, Sales Promotions Manager, Askew's Library Services