I remember where I was and how old I was when I first read Sabriel. I bought Sabriel from the airport as I was on the way to my dad’s in Spain, I was eleven years old. I’ve reread Sabriel (and other books in the series) twice before but it has been at least six years since I’ve read them all. Since Clariel (the prequel to the series) is being released next month I thought it was time for a reread.
Sabriel is a fantasy novel full of mystery, suspense and some scary bits too. The novel follows Sabriel, the daughter of the Abhorsen – a necromancer who sends the dead back into death with the help of seven bells, a sword and Charter magic – who must step into her father’s shoes when her father disappears. With the help of Mogget, a cat who isn’t exactly normal, Sabriel must find her father and stop one of the Greater Dead returning to the world.
Sabriel is scary. It takes you into death and has monsters like a Mordicant, a dead creature, which are very creepy and unsettling. Rereading Sabriel at almost 23 years old I was struck how certain chases and monsters still put me one edge. I think that’s a sign of a good book and good writing – a book that can scare a child and someone who likes to think she’s an adult. There’s a scene in Lirael (the sequel to Sabriel) that I always say is the scariest thing I’ve ever read and while I may have forgotten most of what happens in the book I always remember that bit. The bit in question involves a glass coffin and a statue of a dog.
My favourite character in Sabriel is Mogget – a white cat who is really an ancient free magic creature bound by Charter magic. He is clever and is bound to serve Sabriel and her father but that doesn’t mean he is always happy about it. I think liking Mogget when I was so young paved the way for the type of characters I’d always end up liking. I always like secondary characters, I like mysterious characters that you never really know everything about, and I like characters that are a bit sarcastic.
Sabriel is one of my favourite books from my childhood and rereading it over ten years later it is still one of my favourite books. It’s set in a world far different from our own with magic (both good and bad) and has a fascinating take on death. Sabriel is a fast-paced adventure that is sometimes a bit scary but is also fun and has great characters and a rich world. I’m so glad this book has been a part of my childhood. 5/5.