|By Timothy Falk||Tuesday, 20 Nov 2007|
There are a whole lot of fantasy books out in the world anymore. They range from spectacular reads to ‘Hero A’ does ‘Quest 1′ in order to restore peace to land Sigma. Sabriel stands near the higher end of the scale. You can tell there’s something a little different about this story though, as the first paragraph in the main story we are treated to is the description of a rabbit that has just been run over by a car. It is very soon after this that it is revealed that the titular character of the book is a necromancer, but not exactly how you’d think. See, Sabriel is the Abhorsen-In-Waiting.
The Abhorsen is kind of like a reverse necromancer, one that tries to keep the dead in death. According to Garth Nix’s mythos, there are nine gates through death. The only true way to make sure something stays dead is for it to pass through the ninth gate. Otherwise, the nastier spirits can come back into life, and they usually have bad intentions, or at least must feed on the living to stay in life. It’s the Abhorsen’s job to make sure that anything that comes back into life from death gets to the ninth gate, where it will rest for eternity. So anyway, it turns out that Sabriel’s father, the current Abhorsen, suddenly goes missing, and of course, Sabriel must go find out just what happened. Otherwise the book wouldn’t really have a taking off point…
The author of Sabriel, Garth Nix, has a great style of writing, and loads tremendous amounts of description about every detail into every moment of reading. You never really wonder what something looks like. You know in your mind how it looks. Every character has their quirks and mannerisms, and is brought to life through Nix’s writing. It’s a little slow at first, to be sure, but once it gets going, it is a very enjoyable book. You’re not going to be gushing about this book 5 years from now, and it’ll never have an obsessive fanbase ala Harry Potter, but it is a very good read.