Garth Nix

I have not taught you as well as I should—let this be my final lesson. Everyone and everything has a time to die

Screen Shot 2019-06-19 at 11.03.09 PM.pngSabriel is book one in the Old Kingdom series, which is made up of books and a handful of short stories. Sabriel has been on my TBR list and radar for a while, I was excited to find it on Time’s 100 Best YA List as well. It was not surprising I fell in love with the story, and world Nix has built.

Sabriel is not only the name of the first book but also the main character. She is witty, well knowledge in the formalities of magic and the world she grew up in.

When she is thrown into her father’s position as the Abhorsen (aka the one necromancer that puts the dead to rest and keeps evil forces at bay by the use of magic, bells, and a sword), she realizes she may not know as much about the world as she thought. Sabriel must save her father and stop an ancient evil force Abhorsens have been battling for hundreds of years….no big deal right?

Sabriel will keep you interested from page one. While I enjoyed the story, magical system, and world, there were two things that I didn’t like.

1.Free Magic vs. Charter Magic

I felt this was not fully explained, and I was always wondering why the mages/characters felt sick around the Free Magic. From my understanding, this is explained better in the prequel/short stories. I would have like to been told the basic rules of each so I could have had a better grasp on how to wield each.

2. Worldbuilding happens as you read

You are left in the dark about most things, you dive in from page one into knowing nothing. As soon as I thought I was going to be reading about Sabriel academic life, she was on an adventure to save her father in the Old Kingdom–which she nor the reader knew much about. Some readers will love this, I did not. It made things a tad confusing.


Keep in mind this is probably me nitpicking since the book was published in 1996. I imagine if Sabriel were published in 2010, the characters would be the all perfect. That being said, Sabriel is a strong female character who is there to get business done, putting love on hold for the most part.

Should you read Sabriel? Yes. There is a slight spookiness with how the living and the dead interact, sadness with the death of characters, just enough violence for younger readers, and almost no romantic tension. Sabriel is about a girl on a mission to save her father. I am fairly confident if you enjoy fantasy, slightly older reads, and strong female characters you will enjoy Sabriel. I will defiantly be reading the read of the Old Kingdom series.

Have you read Sabriel? The Old Kingdom series? Do you want to? What are some of your favorite book featuring strong female leads?


The Old Kingdom Series:

  1. Sabriel
  2. Lirael
  3. Abhorsen
  4. Clariel
  5. Goldenhand

Short stories–to be read after book three:

Box sets of books 1-3 are available:

As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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