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Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1)
Sabriel - Old Kingdom, Bk 1
Author: Garth Nix
Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. — With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchst...  more »
ISBN-13: 9780064471831
ISBN-10: 0064471837
Publication Date: 9/30/1997
Pages: 496
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.

4.4 stars, based on 275 ratings
Publisher: Eos
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Members Wishing: 0
Reviews: Member | Amazon | Write a Review

Top Member Book Reviews

reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 76 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 7
This is one of those books that throws you into the deep end of the pool instead of letting you wade in. If you can immerse yourself in the story of a young woman struggling to save her father and fufill a difficult destiny, and not worry about how the magic of the Old Kingdom works, you'll be in for a great read. Oh, and if you don't fall in love with the smart-alec Mogget, your sense of humor needs a tune-up.
ahnkadragon avatar reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on
Helpful Score: 5
Absolutely loved it! One of my favorite series of all time. Not a big fan of any of his other books though. Something about this one just sucked me in. Had to buy the last in the series as a hardback and I never buy hardback(too expensive!. Glad I did because the last surpasses the first!!
reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 6 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
At first glance this book didn't seem that promising but after reading literally the first pages I was hooked! Pulls you from start to finish and thankfully there's the rest of the trilogy to read. Characters that remain in your heart even after the story is done (gotta love that Mogget). Enjoyed the refreshing concept of the gates (rivers) into the world of the dead and how they are accessed by using bells. Love the idea of an Abhorsen (sorcerer who returns the dead) as opposite to a Necromancer (sorcerer who's brings back the dead) and adore the explanation of "Free Magic" and the dimensions of the two worlds. Very well written book resonates very much with my "woo woo" ways. This trilogy is part of my all time favorites!

ETA: Would make a thrilling Movie!
GeniusJen avatar reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 5322 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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 some connection to the ancient Charter that bound magic to benevolent purposes, and Free Magic, the creatures that escaped the binding and defy the Charter. Free Magic is also used by necromancers desiring to defy the Charter by animating dead bodies. Only one person, the Abhorsen, combines use of Charter and Free Magic for the purpose of returning dead spirits to their final rest and dead bodies to their graves. As the Abhorsen's daughter, and herself Abhorsen-in-Waiting, Sabriel must learn how to use the Abhorsen's tools to venture into Death and bind destructive spirits so they cannot cause harm to others.

However, things in the Old Kingdom are becoming more and more dangerous by the minute, and as a result Sabriel grows up in Ancelstierre, the Old Kingdom's southern neighbor, close enough to the border that she is able to learn and practice Charter Magic, but far enough removed that she is ignorant of the customs and traditions of her home country. The story begins when eighteen-year-old Sabriel, about to finish preparatory school in Ancelstierre, receives a messenger from her father, carrying the bells and sword of the Abhorsen, a signal that he is in danger and requires her help. Sabriel must cross over into the Old Kingdom, a place she knows little about, and somehow find a way to save her father from whatever fate has befallen him before his spirit is pulled too far into Death. Along the way, she meets a fickle magical spirit in the form of a talking cat named Mogget, the traditional helpmeet of a long line of Abhorsens, and a former Royal Guard called Touchstone who has been frozen in the form of a ship's figurehead for the past two hundred years. Together, Sabriel, Mogget, and Touchstone journey through the Old Kingdom as they learn more about the necromancer who has tried to kill Sabriel's father and who will wreak destruction upon the land on both sides of the border if they cannot stop him.

Nix's writing is lean and easy to read, creating characters whose thoughts are clear and whose motives are intensely human. The relationship that develops between Sabriel and Touchstone is emotionally real and rich, and I enjoyed reading about all of their interactions. Even secondary characters are detailed and have personalities of their own. I was also impressed by Nix's concept of magic, which is deeper and more textured than the point-and-spell world of Harry Potter or countless other similar stories (although this book will certainly appeal to fans of the former class of fantasy). In the Old Kingdom, performing magic depends upon a deep knowledge of the required Charter marks, and in Sabriel's case, upon her mastery of the seven bells that assist the necromancer's trade by helping command the dead. This book is truly original--I have not seen anything like it before.
reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 10 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This was a really neat book I enjoyed quite a bit. Definitly different from other fantasies I've read. I'd really like to read the rest of the Abhorsen series!
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Readnmachine avatar reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 1439 more book reviews
This high-fantasy quest novel barrels along at a dead run for 500 pages as the young heroine searches for her father, a powerful necromancer held prisoner between Life and Death by the resident evil. Interesting background, involving multiple magical systems and the bleedover between worlds.
reviewed Sabriel (Old Kingdom, Bk 1) on + 2 more book reviews
We are almost finished with the book. We really like it. and can't wait to read the final book in the trilogy.