Nicole's Reviews > Sabriel

Sabriel by Garth Nix
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's review
Mar 25, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy, teens-ra
Read from August 24 to September 12, 2011

Really, really good. I'm picky about my fantasy novels, especially ones that are heavy on the magic use, as this often becomes a crutch for covering up plot holes and embroidering blah characters. The magic in this book is complex, creepy, and logically constructed. And the characters are well-drawn. Sabriel is another kick-ass female protagonist, and Touchstone (while a bit of a cipher) has a fascinating backstory that I'm guessing will become more important in future books. Supporting characters are also well done. And the writing is quite engaging, despite being heavy on the description/explanation in places. Also heavy on the zombie-like creatures, which adds a little extra frisson.

One of my favorite bits is the description of the sound made by a mob of the Dead clapping and chanting for their demon leader:

"A ghastly noise, hard sounds of bone on bone, or the liquid thumpings of decomposed, jellying flesh. The chanting was even worse, for very few of them had functioning mouths. Touchstone had never seen or heard a shipwreck - now he knew the sound of a thousand sailors drowning, all at once, in a quiet sea."

I mean, brrrrrrrr!

The only thing I didn't like was the romance (man, do I hate romance). Yes, it makes sense for Touchstone and Sabriel to end up together, but not yet. The will-they-or-won't-they? tension is way more interesting than the romance itself, and now that's basically gone. I wish the author would've strung us along further, and I really hope things get more complicated in future books.

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