Title: Sabriel (book 1 of The Old Kingdom [AKA: Abhorsen Trilogy] Series)
Author: Garth NixGenre: YA Gothic Horror/Fantasy
Appeals: Strong female character, magic, zombies (yes, ZOMBIES!!!)
Publication Date: 1995
Publisher: HarperCollins (Australia)
Page Count: 491
Sabriel, only 17 and merely three weeks away from the end of her last term at her all-girls boarding school in the country of Ancelstierre (something like the U.S. or England may have looked like in the 1920-30s) is the daughter of the most important man in all of the magical Old Kingdom separated from Ancelstierre by a wall that runs from coast to coast and guarded by the Ancelstierrian army. Sabriel's father is the Abhorsen, one who polices necromancers and keeps the balance between the living and the dead, and Sabriel will be the Abhorsen upon her father's death which may come sooner rather than later. Sabriel receives a disturbing message forcing her to leave immediately on her own for the dangerous Old Kingdom, the forbidding home her father tried to protect her from. This dark yet sometimes humorous tale will have your head spinning and your heart racing as Sabriel along with the family’s cat-shaped familiar, Mogget, and a mysterious stranger she picks up along the way battle in both life and the nine gates of death to save the entire kingdom from certain doom as well as trying to save her father, providing that he has not slipped so far into death that she cannot save him.
Nix’s Sabriel is a strong heroine who does not let anything get in the way of her fulfilling her duties and commands respect from all, including the reader. A far cry from the co-dependent Bella of Twilight, readers wanting a more positive female character will fall in love with Sabriel’s charming wit, tenacity, loyalty, as well as her ability to stay calm in the midst of battle.