Sabriel is the daughter of Abhorsen, a sort of necromancer who uses sword and bells to control the dead and put them to rest. She grew up in a boarding school in Ancelstierre, away from the Old Kingdom, in a place where magic is weaker… If you’re feeling lost, don’t worry, it also took me a while to adjust to all the strange names and to figure out what was going on. In short, her dad goes missing and Sabriel goes looking for him in the Old Kingdom, a place full of sorcery and zombies. Along the way she picks up Touchstone (an amnesiac guy with Designated Love Interest stamped on his forehead) and Mogget (a talking demon cat whom I kept picturing as Salem from Sabrina the Teenage Witch despite the fact that he’s white).
I’m so glad I was talked into reading this book. My only regret is that I didn’t read it ten or fifteen years ago, because younger me would have loved Sabriel and her world so much. The atmosphere reminded me of Earthsea and Harry Potter, while at the same time staying completely original, because a young witch who has the power to control the dead using bells? Hell yeah.
I thought about giving it five stars, but it wasn’t a perfect book. Sometimes (especially in the middle) chapters dragged on without anything really happening, and the plot didn’t kick off properly until the plot dump about the Big Bad. And for all the slow pacing, the last chapter felt rushed. Still, I’m looking forward to the next book and the Clayr.