Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1)

Sabriel (Abhorsen Series #1)

by Garth Nix

Paperback(Reprint)

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Overview

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: 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 is a New York Times bestselling novelist and has been a full-time writer since 2001, but has also worked as a literary agent, marketing consultant, book editor, book publicist, book sales representative, bookseller, and as a part-time soldier in the Australian Army Reserve.

Garth’s many books include the Old Kingdom fantasy series, beginning with Sabriel and continuing to Goldenhand; the sci-fi novels Shade’s Children and A Confusion of Princes; the Regency romance with magic Newt’s Emerald; and novels for children including The Ragwitch, the Seventh Tower series, the Keys to the Kingdom series, and Frogkisser!, which is now in development as a feature film with Fox Animation/Blue Sky Studios. Garth has written numerous short stories, some of which are collected in Across the Wall and To Hold the Bridge. He has also cowritten several children’s book series with Sean Williams, including TroubleTwisters and Have Sword, Will Travel.

More than six million copies of his books have been sold around the world and his work has been translated into forty-two languages. You can find him online at www.garthnix.com.

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.

Customer Reviews

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Sabriel (Abhorsen Trilogy Series #1) 4.6 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 609 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! 
WitchyWriter 6 months ago
The first scene of this book always gets me. It starts out so mundane. And then, all of a sudden, it absolutely isn’t. But in a sweet, introductory way that welcomes you into this amazing world with one of the most brilliant magic systems I’ve encountered. When it comes down to it, everything about this book is cooler than you might be expecting. I say it’s Young Adult, and then you’re surprised when things get so dark with long-dead spirits and re-born demon creatures fighting to stay in the world of Life. Likewise you might be expecting a dramatic, angsty romance, which isn’t present in this book. I say magic, and some people might scorn it as escapist fantasy (though if you do, be careful about how you tell me that, because it makes me seriously question why I’m still friends with someone when they do that). Instead, you get one of the best magic systems, akin to the Earthsea cycle or The Name of the Wind. The system is actually similar to both of those, but instead of having to know the true “name” of something, you have to know the charter marks that describe all of life and the universe. You have to be able to use the right ones at the right time, and combine them in just the right way, to get the results you’re looking for. It’s an art form in these books, one absolutely at odds with the steady march into “modern” times that you see in the juxtaposition of the Old Kingdom and Ancelstierre. Sabriel is a kickass character. Her dad disappears, and she leaves school to travel into the dangerous Old Kingdom to try to find him. She meets mentors and villains along the way, and manages to stumble into some awkward yet fateful situations. She doesn’t falter, though. She doesn’t whine. She’s one of the most capable female characters I know of, and I appreciate that I got to read her as a young girl, because she’s a great role model. I won’t say too much about him, because I don’t want to give you any spoilers, but Mogget is my absolute favorite. You’ll see why, when you read these books. Oh, and speaking of—you’ll want to read all of these books. You can stop at Sabriel if you really really want to. The events of the next book, Lirael, happen a long time after the events of Sabriel, chronologically. BUT you don’t want to read Lirael without having read Sabriel, because Sabriel is a better introduction to the world. Lirael might be too much too quickly, if you don’t understand some of the more basic concepts about how this world works. And you HAVE to read Lirael. It’s one of my favorite books ever. Lirael is one of my favorite characters ever. It gives me that same indescribable feeling that certain sections of Miyazaki movies do. There’s a purity and a I’ll-never-forget-this-ness to Lirael. The plot is well-paced in Sabriel, the characters are wonderful. The world is genius and the magic system is top notch, especially if you worried about things like Harry Potter spells not coming with any sort of cost from the caster. This magic system is balanced and beautiful, and well worth exploring. I’d say this book (and the Abhorsen series) is great for any reader, really, not just YA fans.
TheLiteraryPhoenix More than 1 year ago
Sabriel was at school when a messenger brings her father's sword and the Abhorsen bells to her. It can mean only one thing - her father, the Abhorsen, is in grave danger. Sabriel does what she knows she must - she sets off to her father's estate to learn what she can about putting the dead to rest, and sets about saving her father, and saving the kingdom. I still think that the world of Sabriel is fascinating. It's a dark fantasy, with the edge of A Game of Thrones to it. It feels like the North to me. I love this world and the ideas, but the first three quarters of Sabriel were slow for me. I think that challenge lay in the narrator - I really like Tim Curry, but sometimes it feels like he drags on. I *love* him as part of a cast, like in Dracula, but I found my mind wandering in this one. Nix takes it slow, getting his readers accustomed to the Old and New Kingdoms. The pacing can be trying, but the story is worthwhile. There's something dark and wicked beneath the surface of this book, and in the last quarter, the story promptly ramps up and the story devours you. It's SO GOOD but the execution can be trying. But, trust me, it's worth it. This is a reread for me, and I know so much more is on its way.
Anonymous More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year ago
Exciting plot replete with monsters, romance, and action. Tim Curry, the reader, does an excellent job.
15Vandana on LibraryThing More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year ago
my second favorite of the series. i really enjoy Garth Nix.
tiamatq on LibraryThing More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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 More than 1 year 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.