Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1)

Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1)

by Garth Nix


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062315557
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 06/03/2014
Series: Abhorsen Series , #1
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 352
Sales rank: 46,684
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.80(h) x 1.00(d)
Lexile: 1000L (what's this?)
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, and the cult favorite teen science-fiction novel Shade's Children. 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 into forty languages. He lives in Sydney, Australia, with his wife and two children.

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) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 607 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! 
Anonymous 16 days ago
I love epic fantasy, and this book is no exception. The world building, characters, and plot we're great, and all felt cohesive and realistic within the context of the story. I wasn't very emotionally invested, and I never felt a sense of urgency, even though the plot calls for urgency. I read this book sporadically over a month.
vidroth on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Wow.This is one of the best books I have ever read. Garth Nix has an extraordinary talent for creating shockingly original--yet entirely sturdy--fantasy worlds. His characters are likeable, and his prose is vivid and compelling. This series (with Lirael and Abhorsen) is on my "must read" list; I consider it among the great works of fantasy, though it hasn't yet found that recognition.Don't be fooled if you see this in YA instead of fantasy; Nix's other work is usually YA but this is not.
fieldsli on LibraryThing 7 months ago
Exciting plot replete with monsters, romance, and action. Tim Curry, the reader, does an excellent job.
15Vandana on LibraryThing 7 months ago
This book is excellent, in my opinion, and it talks about a girl called Sabriel who is the daughter of a necromancer. She herself is an expert in necromancy and can trap almost all the spirits. Her father who has trapped all the spirits in the Old Kingdom is in danger. Once he is dead all his bonds on the Old Kingdom will come loose, and there will be dead spirits haunting the magical lands of the Kingdom. It is her duty to save her father and the Kingdom from everlasting dangers of the Mordicant, spirits, etc.. But on her way she encounters lots of dangers! Will she be able to survive the dangers..........
LaPhenix on LibraryThing 8 months ago
An interesting conceptualization of the necromancer, but an otherwise uninteresting "read." I thought Tim Curry might make it more exciting, but in fact, I think it took away from the book from me.
MaowangVater on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Sabriel is in her last year at Wyverley College for Young Ladies of Quality when a dark visitor with the aura of death delivers a sack to her. It contains a sword, a leather bandolier, and seven silver bells, the tools of a necromancer, her father¿s tools. It¿s summons from him. She must leave school, cross the Wall into the Old Kingdom, and rescue her father who¿s trapped in Death.
MontglaneChess on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Sabriel, daughter of famed Necromancer Abhorsen, is recalled to her magical homeland in the Old Kingdom to save her father. Notably darker than most YA fantasies, Nix¿s protagonist Sabriel lives on the mundane side of the Wall as a school girl until she receives a sending from her father that anoints her the new Abhorsen, one who bind the dead to death. Sabriel is a rather sober, deliberate character, but her connection to death is reason enough for an unaccessible emotional connection. The palpable fear and uncertainty from the protagonist, however, draws you into the plot; a complex, linear thriller that gives very little away as it winds through Sabriel¿s dark adventures. A strong sense of familial duty, responsibility, education, and coming-of-age runs through the plot. The setting is a rich medieval throwback, crossing from modern convenience on one side of the dividing Wall to a darker, fantastical land riddled with dark creatures and magic. Death weighs heavily over the text, a grotesque, action-packed exploration that makes this novel unsuitable for anyone under thirteen.Nix¿s style is engaging, but the high fantasy world loses half a star for unexplained mysteries and motivations of the characters and setting.
WillaCather on LibraryThing 8 months ago
The audio book is very well done, except that I don't think the male narrator does female voices that well.
olyra on LibraryThing 8 months ago
my second favorite of the series. i really enjoy Garth Nix.
tiamatq on LibraryThing 8 months ago
This is one of my favorite fantasy series ever. The Old Kingdom setting is amazing, Sabriel is a wonderful, strong heroine, and Touchstone and Mogget are some of my favorite side characters. Add in Tim Curry's narration on the audiobook and I'm in heaven! That sounds so lame... but it's true! I can't recommend this series strongly enough.
lalalibrarian on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I love this book!!!!! I listened to the audio version, which is narrated by Tim Curry of Rocky Horror fame. I can't wait to read the rest of the trilogy. The books are recommended by Philip Pullman and Lloyd Alexander, too. I love good fantasy!
inkstained on LibraryThing 8 months ago
I didn't really like this book when I first read it, but it's a very different style of writing from most young adult books. It grew on me, and I can appreciate Nix's style much more now. This is a dark book dealing primarily with issues of death. I felt that the main storyline of Sabriel leaving her expected life behind to save her father wasn't actually explored satisfactorily, and the beginning was really slow, so I can't give this a full five stars. However, the novel is high quality and will satisfy most readers looking for a fantasy novel rich in imagery and dark in theme.
sweird on LibraryThing 8 months ago
Sabriel is the daughter of Abhorsen, which she believes is the name of her father, when it is actually a title and a duty. The Abhorsen is a necromancer who lays the dead to rest, a duty Sabriel inherits a bit unexpectedly, on the eve of her graduation from boarding school, when her father goes missing and sends his instruments to her. Knowing that she must try to rescue him, Sabriel journeys back into the Old Kingdom of her birth, finding herself woefully uneducated about its history and terrain. Only slightly more lucky than unlucky, she encounters Mogget at her father's house - a free magic creature and ancient servant to the Abhorsen. With his help, Sabriel navigates her way to the capital city, pausing slightly to pick up a romantic interest, and finds her father just in time for him to save her bacon, dying heroically. She and Touchstone, the aforementioned romantic interest, escape back into Ancelstierre (the land she was educated in) just in time for a great, dramatic battle they barely survive.I like the world-building here - it serves the story without making the story serve it. I get the sense that Nix has worked his world out - or if he didn't with Sabriel, he knew it by the next two - but doesn't feel the need to beat us over the head with all his world-building. The mythology is present only to serve the characters and the plot. We don't actually know why magic is confined to the Old Kingdom, for example. We don't get much on the Clayr at all, here (we get much more from Lirael). But that's all good - he can and does develop it later. I also like the three principals - Sabriel, Mogget, and Touchstone. They complement each other quite well, and when any romance at all happens, it's really a statement of fact. "Ok, this might work. If we get out of this mess, we can discuss it in depth. Now? Work to do."
vintage_books on LibraryThing 8 months ago
One of my favorite Fantasy Books of all time. Sabriel is the story of a young woman who is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a person who fights the dead. Sabriel is thrust into a situation she isn't prepared for, and learns how to grow into her legacy. Highly recommended for teens and adults.