Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Review - SABRIEL

Sabriel - Garth Nix
Genre: YA Fantasy; book 1 in the Abhorsen (US)/Old Kingdom (AUS) trilogy
# of pages: 311 (pb)
Publisher (US): Harper Collins
Recommended for: HS & beyond!
My Thoughts: WOW.
Sabriel completely took my breath away.
The fantasy elements were phenomenal: fun, interesting, and unique. So unique, in fact, that it took me a few chapters to wrap my mind around the world Nix created. It's not simply high fantasy, it's more of a parallel world: in one country, the culture seems to mirror an early-20th-century England, and in the other country seems to mirror a more medieval setting. So one culture has technology, the other has magic. Very, very cool!

As for the characters, Sabriel, Touchstone, and Mogget (a spirit who takes the form of a white cat) made an entertaining trio. Nix's characters are written with a great balance of emotion and action, though I will admit to wishing that the romance played a bigger role. (I know, what can I say? I like love stories...*facepalm*) I thoroughly enjoyed Sabriel - once again, a girl who's strong without being snarky. Touchstone was definitely my favorite character, mainly because I don't really see a lot of guys like him in fiction. So many YA love interests seem to have this inherent haughtiness, so it was neat to see a guy who (while not a wuss) struggled with fear and insecurity. It was really cool to watch him come to terms with his guilt and his past. And he's just so sweet!
And Mogget the cat was hilarious and just a little creepy. I tell you what, if he and Grimalkin from the Iron Fey series had a tomcat alley fight, Mogget would WIN. He fights dirty!
But man, oh man, the ACTION of Sabriel was just riveting! I really do think that the best way to write entertaining fantasy that keeps readers' interest is to have some kind of journey or quest. The characters and plot keep from getting stagnate by being in some kind of state of motion, both physically and mentally. And it's just edge-of-your-seat reading!

Final Grade:
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