Sabriel 25th Anniversary Classic Edition by Garth Nix. HarperCollins, c1995, 2021. 9780063040502
Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or starred review) 5
What did you like about the book? Originally published in 1995, the classic series starter Sabriel has been republished in a gorgeous hardcover volume with exciting bonus content. Sabriel is a student at a boarding school on the non magical side of the Wall when she gets word that her father has gone missing. Her father is a necromancer known as the Abhorsen and Sabriel must cross back into the Old Kingdom to look for him and take on his duties. There are significant dangers in the Old Kingdom, however, including the Dead and an evil magician who is gaining power. Sabriel is aided by Mogget, a powerful force in the shape of a cat, and Touchstone, a young man for whom she develops complicated feelings. The book is full of adventure, magic, and mystery and is difficult to put down.
The bonus content includes a note from the author, images of his early manuscripts, and an exclusive short story set in the world. Some interesting details: the setting was inspired by a photograph of a wall with grass on one side and snow on the other, which inspired Nix to build a world where a wall divides the magical world from the non-magical world. Nix’s explanation of his writing process in the author’s note would be fascinating to aspiring writers. He really gets in the weeds including how he gets started, how he plots out his stories, and how he keeps a word count for each chapter. Sabriel was one of his first books and was edited over and over again by the author, which resulted in almost no structural editing from the publisher’s editor; as he said, “Sabriel stayed pretty much as written.” Hopefully this beautiful reprint will find new fans of this incredible fantasy series.
Anything you did not like about the book? No; it’s just as incredible as the first time I read it!
To whom would you recommend this book? Students who like high fantasy books should definitely check out this series!
Who should buy this book? All middle school libraries and some high school libraries.
Where would you shelve it? Fantasy
Should we (librarians) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes; it’s spectacular!
Reviewer’s Name, Library (or school), City: Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA
Date of review: October 6, 2021