Sabriel


Sabriel, 1995 • Lirael, 2001

Garth Nix

Wow, quite a series.  Even though it is in large part about death, that should not hold anyone back from these solid stories and great pieces of fantasy literature.  I love this style so much better than Garth Nix’s other series, Keys of the Kingdom.

One day I sat down at the library with his Across the Wall – a collection of short stories that he has jotted down over the years. It was a neat read, almost like meeting the author in person. The ‘interactive narrative’ was a blast, I was cracking up the whole way and it brought me back to Paris with scenes of the Seine and Three Musketeer-ness. One of my favorite stories was the one about the gardner and the king who kept taking his roses. Interesting how such a powerful feeling can be produced in such a short passage.

Wikipedia: This book deals with the loss of family (Sabriel’s and Touchstone’s) and coming to terms with oneself and one’s responsibilities. Abhorsen’s final words to Sabriel, “Everyone and everything has a time to die,” refer to the idea of sacrifice. Another theme is that of destiny. Both the Book of the Dead and Sabriel’s almanac contain the lines: Does the Walker choose the Path, or the Path the Walker?

The book departs from the conventional form of fantasy in its resolution not to allude to the stereotypes of the genre. Death is not considered a bad thing as such, and loss is shown to be something that builds character. It also lacks a normal fantasy’s sheer cast list, of which there are typically hundreds of incidental characters and many hero-helpers.

Can’t wait to read the next one!

I love the positive reactions I see that this series gets from readers across the blogosphere: Eilidh, Anastasia, Ms. Moon, Royal Reviewers.

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