Top critical review
Not For Me.
on 2 November 2017
Read on in the knowledge that my two star review is definitely in the minority. But, for various reasons I'll come on to, I just could not connect with this book.
The idea is pretty cool - Sabriel and her dad are Necromancers. But instead of the usual Necromancer role, these guys can bring back people/dead rabbits/babies from the dead by chasing down their spirits (somehow, but this isn't particularly well explained). So that's how Sabriel knows that her father, a particularly gifted man of his craft, has gone missing. It's difficult for Sabriel to know if he's trapped in the land of the dead, or is actually dead, but that suspence will keep you guessing whilst she tries to find out.
Sadly that's about the only thing that did spike some interest in me. Because the remainder of the book, despite being exceptionally well written in terms of construction and dialogue, was quite boring. Sabriel is good at everything, requiring very little intervention from any secondary characters to excel at something or find a clue. What this also means is that there is no character progression - you wouldn't catch Harry Potter becoming a perfect wizard in one book would you? I like to see some struggle, some character growth in order to become invested in characters and there's very little.
That also pretty much hits the nail on the head too - I didn't really LIKE Sabriel as a main character. She's very logical, which is often nice because it allows for us to totally grasp what she's thinking. But the story and plot twists, particularly what Sabriel might do, are of no surprise because of that - I think it was missing the subtle humour element that I've come to really enjoy in YA Fantasy.
To be honest, I knew within the first few chapters that this book wasn't for me - you know when you're just not meshing with the protagonist but you keep going in case it gets better? Particularly with so many rave reviews - I always think I should keep plodding through because the amazing bit must be just around the corner. So maybe this book just didn't work for me; it clearly does for many others. And maybe if I had read this as a younger reader, or a reader newer to fantasy and magic, I would have loved it. But it was like a dry biscuit as opposed to a hobnob. And nobody ever picks the dry biscuit over the hobnob.