Sabriel - Garth Nix This one is the final read for the Tolkien Professor’s Faerie & Fantasy podcast seminar . I started out really liking the book as the world, and especially the necromantic magic system, we are introduced to was really rather clever and interesting. The story itself isn’t bad, a bildungsroman following a young girl, the titular Sabriel, who leaves her boarding school home to find out what has become of her father. Of course we soon find out that the boarding school, which appears to exist in a more or less ‘normal’ WWI-era world, is only half of the equation. Across ‘the Wall’ lies the Old Kingdom where magic reigns and the dead walk. Sabriel is the daughter and heir of the Abhorsen, a necromancer who is also a protector of the Old Kingdom from the ravages of the dead who are constantly trying to gain a foothold in life by feeding on the living.

So far so good, and all in all Sabriel’s adventures are entertaining. I have to admit that I am not generally a big fan of YA fiction, but this book manages to avoid sounding too much like it’s specifically geared towards younger readers. I still found some of the author’s turns of phrase a little infelicitous at times and the story sagged just a tad for me in the middle, especially when the obligatory tale of blossoming young love reared its head. The ultimate resolution seemed a little rushed as well, but Nix’s relative innovation, and especially his great magic and world building, saved it for me and I ended up giving it three, instead of a possible two stars.

A good read, but I won’t be rushing out for the sequel just yet.