Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. Everyone is welcome to join in at any time! Angie includes roundups from participating bloggers in her post every week.
To be honest, I don't know how to introduce SABRIEL. I decided to feature it this week since I reviewed A CONFUSION OF PRINCES yesterday. But if you're reading In Bed With Books then you're probably a fan of young adult literature. And to YA fans, the first novel in Garth Nix's Abhorsen Trilogy is not obscure. ACROSS THE WALL, an anthology set in the Abhorsen world, is slightly obscure. But SABRIEL? Well known, and for a good reason.
I remember reading it for the first time during a baseball game and being utterly enthralled. (My family enjoyed going to baseball games. Me, less so. Thus I always went equipped with a purse full of books.) Almost the next day, I went out and bought LIRAEL. Unfortunately, ABHORSEN wasn't out yet. When it came out I bought it in hardcover, which I almost never do. That's how good the trilogy is.
Sabriel is a necromancer, using her bells to prevent the Dead who won't stay dead from running amok in the Old Kingdom or, worse, escaping the Old Kingdom. She's been living as a normal college student in neighboring Ancelstierre, but there's far more to her than that. When her father, the current Abhorsen, becomes trapped in Death, it is up to Sabriel to rescue him. Along the way she also rescues Mogget (a cat who is not a cat) and Touchstone (a ship's figurehead that is not a ship's figurehead).
SABRIEL is lush. There's the struggle of good against evil and that of order against chaos. There's romance, betrayal, death, humor. This dark fantasy contains not only a richly realized world, but characters that linger in your mind long after you finish reading.
Luckily, the sequels LIRAEL and ABHORSEN live up to SABRIEL's promise. You don't have to say good-bye to the fabulous cast when the book ends. (You do, reluctantly, have to say good-bye after ACROSS THE WALL. But there's always re-reading.)
If you haven't read SABRIEL, make a trip to your local bookstore or library. You won't regret spending time with this amazing woman. (And Touchstone ain't half bad himself.) (Mogget is more than half bad, but he's got the humor to make up for it.)