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Sabriel (Abhorsen #1)

4.16 of 5 stars 4.16  ·  rating details  ·  106,213 ratings  ·  3,769 reviews
Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him. She soon finds companions in Mogget, a cat whose aloof m ...more
Published October 31st 1996 by Harpercollins Publishers (first published 1995)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Kat Kennedy
Jun 24, 2010 Kat Kennedy rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fans of LOTR and Fantasy Genre
I picked this book up from the library and noticed stickers on the book declaring that it was part of a reading challenge here in NSW for grades 7-8.

"This book is acceptable to read for 12-13 year olds? Fuck me, can we turn around and go back to the library?" I asked my husband.

He shook his head and smiled at me. "Just try it. You never know."

"It's for twelve-to-thirteen year olds! No sex! No swearing! Minimum violence! I don't fucking think so!"

In the end, we brought it home and I sulked the wh
This book really should have been exciting but I actually would have had a much better time had I just blared Monster Mash from my stereo and danced around like a zombie with chicken skin pasted to my face.

Jedi knight of the living dead!

I feel like this was probably really cool in the 90's and if I had read it then, as my pre-Harry Potter 10 year old self. I probably would have loved it. But now, my brain has descended into different forms of oblivion and I laugh voraciously at danger.

 Danielle The Book Huntress (Angels Weep For Goodreads)
I shall write a wee bit about my thoughts on this book as I read, for I do not trust my foggy brain to keep up with them if I wait until the last minute.

*I like the juxtaposition of 20th Century (early) Ancelstierre with a medieval-esque world of the Old Kingdom. It threw me for a loop at first, how the prologue was very medieval (pre-Industrial), and the first chapter was modernesque. I was thinking, are they immortal or something? But further reading clears that up.

*I don't read as much pure f
Apr 03, 2007 Heather rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young Adult, Adult
Shelves: readandloved
Possibly one of the greatest fantasy adventures of our times, Garth Nix's first novel is a lush, magical, dark-witty adventure about a young woman's battle with the hideous Dead.

The story starts with a flashback in which a special necromancer named Abhorsen saves his baby daughter Sabriel from a creature called Kerrigor, in the spiritual river of death. Many years later, at an English-esque boarding school, Sabriel must take up her father's magical sword and bells and try to find out what has ha
When an otherworldly visitor tells Sabriel that her father has been trapped in the world of the dead, she has no choice but to leave her student's life in Ancelstierre and venture into the Old Kingdom to save him. There, in her father's absence, she must take up the mantle of Abhorsen, a necromancer charged with making sure that the dead stay dead.

Although she does not believe herself to be up to the task, Sabriel must make the journey, with only a mysterious talking cat named Mogget, and a re-
“Let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die.”

I really wish I had liked Sabriel more than I had anticipated. It had a decent idea, however as I kept reading I continually kept thinking about other events in my life plus my plans for the next day, and not paying attention to the story - clearly because I was purely so bored. I believe merely saying a book is boring isn’t a convincing or a valid reason to conclude that the book wasn’t good.

Have you ever read a book whe
This is the story of Sabriel, an innocent young woman, and various types of dead, undead, once dead, sorta dead and should-be-dead people and creatures. Luckily, Sabriel is by heritage and training a necromancer, with a fair amount of power over death. Unluckily, some of these once-dead and should-be-dead creatures have apparently killed Sabriel's father, the necromancer-in-chief or "Abhorsen," and are in the process of taking over the kingdom. It's up to Sabriel and her companions, a talking ca ...more
Shayantani Das
This book takes an excruciatingly long time to really pick up its pace. To be honest, if I had not bought this book about a year ago, I would definitely have quit. I have picked it up and abandoned it quite frequently over the year, mostly because about 50 pages through the book, I would start yawning. Now that is a privilege especially reserved for school textbooks, thus my reluctance. But, once you go through those first mind numbing 100 pages, this book is actually pretty decent.

The novel is
Aug 01, 2009 Jon rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Jon by: GoodReads Fantasy Book Club August 2009
3.75 stars

Sabriel attends Wyverley College, a boarding school for girls on the Ancelstierre side of the Wall. In addition to reading, writing and arithmatic, she studies Charter Magic and necromancy. Her father, the Abhorsen, usually visits from the Old Kingdom once or twice a year. He trains her in binding the Dead so they stay dead using The Book of the Dead, Charter Magic and the Bells.

When her father fails to visit, Sabriel grows worried and seeks to find him across the Wall in the Old King
Karly *The Vampire Ninja*
Possibly the greatest compliment that I could give this book is to say that it reminds me, in a non copy-cat way, of the first fantasy series to really sweep me away in my teenhood! That would be none other than The Belgariad Series by David Eddings!!

Sabriel is a story about a badass heroine who is charged with saving the world! I love that shit, guys!!

The world building, although at times tedious, is amazing - I love the way this world is created, how death itself is portrayed AND necromance
If you don't know already, I love zombies. Because of this, I was really, really looking forward to reading this book. And I really enjoyed it.

Sabriel, the character, is a bit complex. One the one hand, she's 18. She wants to be young and pretend responsibilities don't exist. Unfortunately, she can't do that. Her dad kills Dead things, and is bound to complete this service at the sacrifice of his own life (the kind with kids, a wife, a dog, white picket fence, etc), and from a young age, Sabrie
Mike (the Paladin)
Read this quite some time ago and have been meaning to get to the sequels for some first I reread this one...:)

This is an interesting YA novel set in a world that is split. There is Ancelstierre, the southern Kingdom which is a technological society about at the level of World War I era Earth (that would be our Earth). It seems much like the UK (as they play rugby and cricket at the boarding schools). There is no magic in Ancelstierre. As a matter of fact they (mostly) regard magic and
Mar 17, 2009 Sarah rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: trash cans
piece of trash. dont even bother starting this, i was bored the whole time. Its totally weird and what the heck. i never really got what they were doing and why they were doing it. I never got what the bad guys were. This book is confusing and so boring you dont even want to try to figure out whats going on. Dont waste your time on this, you have better things to do like hitting your head agaisnt the wall.
I took an extended leave from the fantasy genre; yesterday afternoon, I decided to come back to the world of witchcraft and sorcery. Highly recommended by fellow peers, I chose Garth Nix's well-known 'Sabriel'. Frankly, I was so impressed and drawn into the story that I finished it in two days and rushed to write an amazingly complementary review.

The plot was fantastic and fast-paced; there wasn't a moment I wasn't on the edge of my seat. Exhausting chapters of worthless garble is a common trait
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by Candace Cunard for

The first thing that hit me when I finished reading this book was that I should have read it much sooner. I'd been meaning to read it for the past six or seven years but never quite getting around to it--and that was a mistake. In SABRIEL, Garth Nix introduces the reader to a compelling fantasy world that comes alive through the actions of the title character and others.

The Old Kingdom is a place of magic, both Charter magic, wielded by those with
Sabriel is a wonderful fantasy quest story that takes all the familiar tropes and makes them seem fresh and new. There really isn't anything that's groundbreaking in this novel, but it somehow seems like a story that's totally unique. Sabriel made me feel that same youthful excitement for reading that the Harry Potter books did, and it was much shorter. Nix did a fabulous job of creating a very rich, magical world in a small number of pages. This is proof that fantasy does not have to cover ten ...more
4.5 stars. Good characters, strong world-building and an EXCELLENT magic/necromancy system that was very unique, well developed and internally consistant. With as much fantasy as I read, I am always thankful when I come across something truly unique and engaging. This certainly fits the bill. The magic of the Abhorsen and its connection and exploration of the "various stages" of death was very well done and, in my opinion, the best feature of the story. Will defintely read the next book in the s ...more
Reading this book was a pleasant experience. While considered a YA book, its tone was dark and forbidding, with the lead character being a necromancer and practioner of Charter Magic. She uses her newly learned powers to give the Dead their final resting and to keep the sinister denizens of the land of the Dead from making reentry into the world of living. Sabriel is the heir to a great power, and a greater responsibility role.

Character depth wasn't a big plus to this one, but I feel most of th
UPDATED BELOW. I started this and wanted to give up in frustration about one fifth of the way in. But the book gets an awful lot of love from many well-respected friends on GR and I'm tempted to give it another go. My problem was mostly with the quality of the writing, which I found awful, to be frank. There are various things that just seem wrong, although one can make out the intended sense. And there is much more that just seems heavy and clunky: odd word choices, labored explanations of the ...more
Některé knihy jsou prostě "jen" KRÁSNÉ, nemyslíte? Tahle k nim určitě patří.

It was lovely to reread Sabriel. I think I read it quite a few times when I was younger, but luckily, Garth Nix seems to have lost none of his charm for me. It helps that he has a female protagonist who isn't perfect, who ends up with a near-broken nose, battered to bits, and still finds love -- but that love isn't the most important thing: the important thing, the thing Sabriel really has to accept, is the passing on of her father's duties to her, and her own entry into adulthood.

I enjoy the fa
This was my first book by this author and I loved it! Garth Nix writes extremely well. I really liked his world building and his original ideas. I especially enjoyed reading about Charter Magic versus Free Magic and the journeys into Death. Sabriel is a good, strong female lead, Moggett is wonderful and Touchstone redeemed himself by the end of the book. I read a lot of fantasy and this was one of the better ones I have read in ages.
Aug 27, 2010 Tatiana marked it as abandoned  ·  review of another edition
No, can't do it, unfortunately.

I have nothing negative to say about the book except that it couldn't hold my interest. Corpse and necromancy are just not my thing I guess.

I am also starting to think that I only like fantasy that is very light on magic and very heavy on romance. Otherwise it just goes over my head.
Sabriel takes place in two fictional countries: Ancelstierre; a safe country (sort of like early 1920s England) where Magic does not work, and the Old Kingdom; a dangerous place where the two types of Magic: 'Charter Magic' (good magic) and 'Free Magic' (bad magic) flow and where the Dead refuse to stay dead and instead roam freely. A wall separates the two countries.

The main protagonist is an 18-year-old named Sabriel who leaves Wyverly College (an all-female boarding school she has known as
"Death and what came after death was no great mystery to Sabriel. She just wished it was."

The first time I read this book I did not like it and had to abandon it at page 25. Now after having finished the whole thing in less than 36 hours, I realized I hardly gave it a fightingchance and that wasn't fair because it's actually good. GarthNix surprised me in that all the objections I had about Sabriel as a character are remedied later on in the book. I have never been bored enough with a book toaba
This one is the final read for the Tolkien Professor’s Faerie & Fantasy podcast seminar . I started out really liking the book as the world, and especially the necromantic magic system, we are introduced to was really rather clever and interesting. The story itself isn’t bad, a bildungsroman following a young girl, the titular Sabriel, who leaves her boarding school home to find out what has become of her father. Of course we soon find out that the boarding school, which appears to exist in ...more
Hiroshi Sasaki
I had originally rated this YA fantasy at 4.5, but now find it a full 5 stars. Why the change? The world this book creates is so fun to think about. I'm delighted that the YA F&SF Discussion group is exploring this yarn as March's group reading: it's Nix's debut (jealousy!), and while it can stand alone (as it provides lovely closure), it's also followed by two other books rounding out a trilogy, which means I'll get to hang out in this world I love so well with characters so v ...more
Miss M
I've been on a bit of a fantasy kick lately, and Sabriel does not disappoint. The world Garth Nix creates is rich and expansive. It's darker fantasy, and the treatment of magic is much more deep and interesting than shouting a simple 'Expelliarmus!'

Sabriel is the daughter of Abhorsen--A man who is a 'Good Necromancer', of sorts. Rather than raising the dead, he puts them to rest. It's a daunting task, and Abhorsen is the only one who can perform it. Sabriel finds out that her father is in troubl
Také tesné 4*. Vlastne som si chvíľu myslela, že dám len 3* a potom dosť dlho, že 3.5*, ale druhá polovica a koniec ma napokon presvedčili.

Sabriel je rozhodne skvele vymyslený uzavretý (!) príbeh zasadený vo fascinujúcom svete. Problém je, že kniha mala dosť pomalý rozbeh a ťažšie sa čítala.

Recenzia na blogu:
blog | twitter | wattpad

Protip: Don't google image search this book unless you're looking for Sam Winchester + Gabriel shipping.

Now that I've got that warning out of the way.

I was so conflicted about rating this book. It's sat there between a high 3 to a low 4, to be honest. But then I thought -- a younger Manda would probably have adored this book. My younger self, not having yet read as many fantasy novels as my old-fart-self, would have been absolutely in awe.

What's not to love? Magic, zombie
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Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia, to the sound of the Salvation Army band outside playing 'Hail the Conquering Hero Comes' or possibly 'Roll Out the Barrel'. Garth left Melbourne at an early age for Canberra (the federal capital) and stayed there till he was nineteen, when he left to drive around the UK in a beat-up Austin with a boot full of books and a Silver-Reed typewriter.

More about Garth Nix...

Other Books in the Series

Abhorsen (5 books)
  • Lirael (Abhorsen, #2)
  • Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3)
  • Clariel (Abhorsen, #4)
  • Untitled (Abhorsen, #5)
Abhorsen (Abhorsen, #3) Lirael (Abhorsen, #2) Mister Monday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #1) Drowned Wednesday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #3) Lady Friday (The Keys to the Kingdom, #5)

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“Does the walker choose the path, or the path the walker?” 646 likes
“Touchstone watched, suddenly conscious that he probably only had five seconds left to be alone with Sabriel, to say something, to say anything. Perhaps the last five seconds they ever would have alone together.
I am not afraid, he said to himself.
"I love you," he whispered. "I hope you don't mind.”
More quotes…