Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1)

Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1)

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Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1) by Garth Nix, Leo and Diane Dillon

Game of Thrones fans will love the New York Times bestselling Abhorsen series. Sabriel, the first installment in the trilogy, launched critically acclaimed author Garth Nix onto the fantasy scene as a rising star.

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face-to-face with her own hidden destiny. . . .

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780061975134
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 10/06/2009
Series: Abhorsen Series , #1
Format: NOOK Book
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 39,724
Lexile: 1060L (what's this?)
File size: 2 MB
Age Range: 12 - 17 Years

About the Author

Garth Nix was born in 1963 in Melbourne, Australia. A full-time writer since 2001, he has worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve. Garth's books include the award-winning fantasy novels Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen; Clariel, a prequel in the Abhorsen series; the cult favorite teen science fiction novel Shade's Children; and his critically acclaimed collection of short stories, To Hold the Bridge. His fantasy novels for younger readers include The Ragwitch, the six books of the Seventh Tower sequence, the Keys to the Kingdom series, and A Confusion of Princes. His books have appeared on the bestseller lists of the New York Times, Publishers Weekly, the Guardian, and the Australian, and his work has been translated in forty languages. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

Two-time Caldecott-winning illustrators Leo and Diane Dillon have illustrated over 25 books for children, and have received many honors, including two Coretta Scott King Awards and the Society of Illustrators Gold Medal. They live in Brooklyn, NY.

Read an Excerpt

Chapter One

The rabbit had been run over minutes before. Its pink eyes were glazed and blood stained its clean white fur. Unnaturally clean fur, for it had just escaped from a bath. It still smelt faintly of lavender water.

A tall, curiously pale young woman stood over the rabbit. Her night-black hair, fashionably bobbed, was hanging slightly over her face. She wore no makeup or jewelry, save for an enamelled school badge pinned to her regulation navy blazer. That, coupled with her long skirt, stockings and sensible shoes, identified her as a schoolgirl. A nameplate under the badge read "Sabriel" and the Roman "VI" and gilt crown proclaimed her to be both a member of the Sixth Form and a prefect.

The rabbit was, unquestionably, dead. Sabriel looked up from it and back along the bricked drive that left the road and curved up to an imposing pair of wrought-iron gates. A sign above the gate, in gilt letters of mock Gothic, announced that they were the gates to Wyverley College. Smaller letters added that the school was "Established in 1652 for Young Ladies of Quality."

A small figure was busy climbing over the gate, nimbly avoiding the spikes that were supposed to stop such activities. She dropped the last few feet and started running, her pigtails flying, shoes clacking on the bricks. Her head was down to gain momentum, but as cruising speed was established, she looked up, saw Sabriel and the dead rabbit, and screamed.

"Bunny! "

Sabriel flinched as the girl screamed, hesitated for a moment, then bent down by the rabbit's side and reached out with one pale hand to touch it between its long ears. Her eyes closed and her face set as if she hadsuddenly turned to stone. A faint whistling sound came from her slightly parted lips, like the wind heard from far away. Frost formed on her fingertips and rimed the asphalt beneath her feet and knees.

The other girl, running, saw her suddenly tip forward over the rabbit, and topple towards the road, but at the last minute her hand came out and she caught herself. A second later, she had regained her balance and was using both hands to restrain the rabbit--a rabbit now inexplicably lively again, its eyes bright and shiny, as eager to be off as when it escaped from its bath.

"Bunny!" shrieked the younger girl again, as Sabriel stood up, holding the rabbit by the scruff of its neck. "Oh, thank you, Sabriel! When I heard the car skidding I thought . . ."

She faltered as Sabriel handed the rabbit over and blood stained her expectant hands.

"He'll be fine, Jacinth," Sabriel replied wearily. "A scratch. It's already closed up."

Jacinth examined Bunny carefully, then looked up at Sabriel, the beginnings of a wriggling fear showing at the back of her eyes.

"There isn't anything under the blood," stammered Jacinth. "What did you . . ."

"I didn't," snapped Sabriel. "But perhaps you can tell me what you are doing out of bounds?"

"Chasing Bunny," replied Jacinth, her eyes clearing as life reverted to a more normal situation. "You see . . ."

"No excuses," recited Sabriel. "Remember what Mrs. Umbrade said at Assembly on Monday."

"It's not an excuse," insisted Jacinth. "It's a reason."

"You can explain it to Mrs. Umbrade then."

"Oh, Sabriel! You wouldn't! You know I was only chasing Bunny. I'd never have come out--"

Sabriel held up her hands in mock defeat, and gestured back to the gates.

"If you're back inside within three minutes, I won't have seen you. And open the gate this time. They won't be locked till I go back inside."

Jacinth smiled, her whole face beaming, whirled around and sped back up the drive, Bunny clutched against her neck. Sabriel watched till she had gone through the gate, then let the tremors take her till she was bent over, shaking with cold. A moment of weakness and she had broken the promise she had made both to herself and her father. It was only a rabbit and Jacinth did love it so much--but what would that lead to? It was no great step from bringing back a rabbit to bringing back a person.

Worse, it had been so easy. She had caught the spirit right at the wellspring of the river, and had returned it with barely a gesture of power, patching the body with simple Charter symbols as they stepped from death to life. She hadn't even needed bells, or the other apparatus of a necromancer. Only a whistle and her will.

Death and what came after death was no great mystery to Sabriel. She just wished it was.

It was Sabriel's last term at Wyverley--the last three weeks, in fact. She had graduated already, coming first in English, equal first in Music, third in Mathematics, seventh in Science, second in Fighting Arts and fourth in Etiquette. She had also been a runaway first in Magic, but that wasn't printed on the certificate. Magic only worked in those regions of Ancelstierre close to the Wall which marked the border with the Old Kingdom. Farther away, it was considered to be quite beyond the pale, if it existed at all, and persons of repute did not mention it. Wyverley College was only forty miles from the Wall, had a good all-round reputation, and taught Magic to those students who could obtain special permission from their parents.

Sabriel's father had chosen it for that reason when he had emerged from the Old Kingdom with a five-year-old girl in tow to seek a boarding school. He had paid in advance for that first year, in Old Kingdom silver deniers that stood up to surreptitious touches with cold iron.

Sabriel. Copyright © by Garth Nix. Reprinted by permission of HarperCollins Publishers, Inc. All rights reserved. Available now wherever books are sold.

What People are Saying About This

Philip Pullman

Sabriel is a winner, a fantasy that reads like realism. I congratulate Mr. Nix, and I look forward to reading his next piece of work.

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Sabriel (Abhorsen Trilogy Series #1) 4.7 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 558 reviews.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
it was an excellent read from start to finish. although there could have been another book on sabriel and the romance between her and touchstone also the aftermath of the huge battle and what happened to the students and teachers at wyverly college. it was still an excellent book. it had me hooked from the first page and i couldn't put it down.
Kamui_Hitokiri More than 1 year ago
Sabriel is definitely a masterpiece. I have read this book probably 9 times now. No kidding! I first picked the book up in 2001 when I was in high school. I can honestly say that this was the first book I actually "read" straight through without hardly putting down. The character development is very well done. Specifically with Sabriel coming into her own as The Abhorsen. Mogget, the cat, is a very funny comic relief, where as, Touchstone the sworn sword for her, is the strong silent type. All three characters blend together to make a wonderful fantasy novel. It's full of action adventure, suspense, comedy little romance. Everything a good novel should be. I would suggest to anyone who is a fantasy fan, read this book and the entire series.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I found this treasure of a series in high school. I loved it and shared the books with who ever would take me up on my offer. It is such a creative series, dark, magical... i am now inspired to read it again!
Jazi-Jazz More than 1 year ago
I came across this book when I was looking for things to read on Vacation. So, I got bunch of excerpts on the EBOOK library and this book, after that small little thing I just could NOT put this book down! I had to read more! It's captivating, sweet, and adventurous. Definitely not a story line I expected, but it was so good. Sabriel is such an interesting character, I was intrigued to the very end. I can't wait to read the next book.
aliciainlove More than 1 year ago
I read this book a few years ago and just absolutely fell in love. I can't admit much more than that because it's been too long since I've read it to remember it in detail. I do remember the story line being unique and intriguing, and I really admired Sabriel's character. I misplaced the book during 1 of my many moves, so I actually ordered it through Barnes and Noble so I can read it again. I am so excited. :)
MadeyeMoody More than 1 year ago
I just began reading this book a few days ago and usually its really hard for me to get through books but Sabriel has really been a blast to read and i am really enjoying it!
Guest More than 1 year ago
Finally! Something that I could get hooked on again! I haven't been this excited about a book, or book series, since last year and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows. Contrary to a few others, I personally think that the beginning moved quickly, but gave the background details through the book. It was wonderfully written and the characters developed, even if not as much as I've seen. Can't wait to read the next ones! Plus the love! Oh the love!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I remember I had started this once and it wasn't for me - ran across reference to some other books and thought maybe I would give it another chance, because I couldn't remember exactly why I didn't care for it - well now I do, for me it doesn't have anything that catches the attention and holds it enough to want to keep pursuing it, in other words very boring - although some might like it
TheLoon More than 1 year ago
Magic. These books are for those of you who just love magic. Nix, in some ways, is an excellent writer of adventure, tension and pace. First class. However, by the second book I was fed up and annoyed with all the magic. Every situation, good or bad, dire or minor is solved, resolved, developed or renewed by more, you guessed it, more magic. How will this terrible problem that can not be resolved by even the most powerful magic be resolved? New magic. Revealed magic. Magic by the cat, magic by the dog. Magic out of the past, magic from the future. For me it just ceased to be interesting because you know what is coming next. More magic. There just is not anything magic can not do. So, if that is what you want, this will be great for you.
shemesh More than 1 year ago
"Sabriel" is a fantasy novel set in a well fleshed out world, and it puts a new spin on the classic tale of necromancy. It made in interested in a genre of fiction I had never previously given a chance due to stereotypes. In addition to having a captivating story, the novel features one of the best written female characters I have ever had the pleasure of reading about. Sabriel is easy to sympathize with, and she is thoroughly developed as a character. The book is worth reading simply to follow the development of her character. Readers who care more about the plot than they do about the main character, however, won't be disappointed by the story either. The author, Garth Nix, has also written other successful fantasy series, such as the "Keys to the Kingdom," series. He is skilled at world creation, and is good at using figurative language to immerse the reader into the world he is developing. I would recommend "Sabriel" because of its story, its fascinating setting, its main character, and its style. 
mikialama More than 1 year ago
I read this book MANY years ago when it first came into the high s hool library where I taught. At that time, there was only the one book, no series yet and I remember thinking what a shame it was when the story just ended. I was truly pleased to see it listed as the daily find and even more pleased to see that the  book.has grown into a series at last. If you enjoy authors like Tamora Pierce or even the Graceling books, you will mostly certainy like this series as well. Thanks for bringing back an old friend, BN! 
la_librarian on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I don't go into a recap of what the story is or give a play by play in my can go to Amazon or Barnes & Noble online for that. These are just my thoughts after reading, or in this case, listening to the story of Sabriel.Sabriel is a classic coming of age/quest adventure. It's heroine is female which I liked because many of the fantasy type books have a male protagonist. Sabriel is a strong young woman yet vulnerable as well.I enjoyed how Sabriel didn't quite seem to know everything and "get" everything but she forged on knowing that even if she didn't get it perfect she still had to try.The storyline is interesting and you get the sense that there are many more stories about the "old kingdom" left untold. The author could have gone into the explanations in a little more detail about the necromancy, the "bells," and what each person's role is but at the same time I think it is a tool to have the reader feel a little like Sabriel does: like she knows she needs to keep going on this quest, she knows that she doesn't know everything, but perhaps she knows enough to get her through successfully.
ASolomon on LibraryThing 3 days ago
It is pretty good. Not the best of the genre, but is a good three hours.
t1bnotown on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Lireal and Abhorsen by Garth Nix were better reads than Sabriel, with the parts of Lireal forcusing on Lireal being the best parts. Sameth can be really obnoxious. I recommend the trilogy.
ankhet on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a man who, though able to raise the Dead, is sworn to lay them to rest. When her father fails to show up to one of their monthly visits, sending instead a Dead servant to pass along the tools of his trade, his bandolier of bells and his Charter Magic imbued sword, Sabriel knows something is Very Wrong. She must cross the Wall which divides Ancelsteirre from the Old Kingdom (and the "modernizing" world from one which contains magic, dead rising, and more) to begin a journey not only to save her father but to save the Old Kingdom (and, indeed, the world) from an old evil: a prince of the Blood turned power-hungry Dead creature determined to throw the Old Kingdom into chaos and turn it into a feeding ground for the Dead.Sabriel first captured my attention when I was a young teenager, just discovering true fantasy - previously I had read either adult science fiction (such as Dune or the Chronicles of Pern) or very young adults' novels, many of which contain quite a few fantastical elements. It grabbed me then and it still retains my love and has a special place on my (overstuffed) bookshelf. In it there is magic, evil, love (albeit very subdued love), danger, the hints of historical fiction (Ancelsteirre seems to resemble a 1930s or '40s England, to my mind), Death and its denizens, and a fantastical House which can protect itself with magical sendings and a spell-induced flood.I heartily recommend Sabriel to any lover of fantasy, regardless of what age group the reader is.
acl on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I read this to take a break from more fancypants grown-up books. Well-imagined, but predictable. Rather flat characters.
Cassiphone on LibraryThing 3 days ago
A dark, intricate story. The heroine is little too emotionally disengaged for my tastes, but I enjoyed the prose and the strange details of the world - like a sinister Oz!
lwright on LibraryThing 3 days ago
First of the Abhorsen series, the story is a little dark for younger readers but and excellent fantasy for the 14 and older group
dreamless on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Pretty awesome. He's built a really neat world, with striking visuals and a few nifty magic systems, and the story and prose back it up. It's aimed a bit young, but well worth it.
van_stef on LibraryThing 3 days ago
I picked this book at a dollar store for 50 cents so I had to pick it up. It's actually quite interesting and really good of a book. I don't know if I would pay full price the sequels but I will probably look at a used book store for them.
ragwaine on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Simple but original. Very cool ideas about bells against undead and realm of death. Great ending. None of the problems were that hard to solve.
seph on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Garth Nix proves he is a master of imagination and vision with the amazing new worlds he writes, and he does not disappoint with this book. His system of magic in this story ranks as one of my all-time favorites. Unfortunately, there's something somewhat flat and less than engaging about his writing style and he doesn't always succeed at breathing life into his creations. As with the early stories in his Keys to The Kingdom series, I found this story interesting, but not compelling. I was curious as to how the story would unfold, but I wasn't at all emotionally invested in the characters. I am interested enough to want to continue with the story and will eventually pick up the next book though. Hopefully, as with the Keys series, I will feel more immersed in the story with each subsequent book.
kawgirl on LibraryThing 3 days ago
A friend handed me this book. I didn't know what it was or if I'd like it. I really enjoyed the book as it took me to a fascinating version of the world where magic lives on one side and all the rest of us live on another. It's a good story and well written. The whole series is worth a read, even if you are an adult.
tcharlton on LibraryThing 3 days ago
A quick, fun read. However, the characters and their arcs are rather underdeveloped and far too predictable. In addition, several questions raised during the book are left unresolved.
TigerLMS on LibraryThing 3 days ago
Sabriel is the daughter of the abhorsen, a necromancer of enormous power who protects the old kingdom by frequently going into death to prevent evil spirits from coming back. Sabriel, motherless, was raised across the wall in Ancelstierre, a land that had no belief in the ancient magic or the dangers that lurked in the old kingdom. But when her father disappears, Sabriel is called into duty as abhorsen in waiting---despite her complete lack of experience. Nix has created a completely engrossing world in which you can get lost. I read this book originally because it was assigned, and wound up reading the sequels in a row. This is one of the better fantasy books I've read, and the sequels all break new ground rather than follow the same character again and again. Highly recommended to fantasy fans, and a suggested read for others.