Sabriel by Garth Nix: Book Review

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3 Stars

Sabriel has just graduated from her boarding school in Ancelstierre when she receives a message from her father letting her know that he’s in trouble and needs help. The problem? Her father, Abhorsen, is a talented necromancer whose job is making sure that the dead stay dead. Sabriel has some magic training, but she’s going to need a lot of help.

I hate to say it, but this didn’t really grab me. It was a quick read, and I did enjoy it, but I also felt like this is a book that I could forget quickly. I think my problem is that I never felt like I knew Sabriel all that well. I need a connection to characters to really love a book, and that just didn’t happen for me here. To be honest, that may have been done purposefully. Sabriel is eighteen. She doesn’t really know herself and her powers yet. How can I know her if she doesn’t quite know herself? There were a couple of things that made me think that she might eventually have an inner struggle about how she’s going to use her power. If that happens, it could get really interesting.

I did like that I felt like I was learning along with Sabriel. I don’t know anything about The Old Kingdom? Neither does she. I don’t understand anything about Mogget? Neither does she. So I did feel like we were on the journey together.

There were two other characters that I liked a lot–Mogget and Touchstone. I’m curious to find out Mogget’s story, and I have a feeling that Touchstone could turn into a major book crush!

I’ll definitely keep reading the trilogy, but I really hope that I get to know Sabriel better.

Reviewed May 31, 2009

Read an excerpt.

Find author Garth Nix on his website, Facebook, and Twitter.

Buy Sabriel at


Friday Flashback Reviews are a weekly feature here on The Introverted Reader. These are old reviews I wrote on GoodReads. Thanks to Angieville and her Retro Friday Reviews for the inspiration and encouragement!

I have an affiliate relationship with Malaprop’s, my local independent bookstore, and Better World Books. I will receive a small commission at no cost to you if you purchase books through links on my site.

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  1. I've been meaning to read this for a long time. Up till now, I think I've only heard good things, but I haven't really heard much. I think my sister really liked these books when she was younger but… Hmm. Interesting thoughts! I'll have to read them soon, but it's nice to hear what you thought! 🙂

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