3.5 Stars. For at least the last couple of years, I kept hearing about this book called Sabriel. It popped up on lists of what to read to fill the Harry Potter shaped hole in your heart, bookish podcasts, Cannonball Read, and in conversations with various friends and family. This cult favorite was clearly something I needed to pick up and I’m glad I did.
Sabriel is born into a family of magical necromancers living in the Old Kingdom, but gets shipped off to boarding school in Ancelstierre (basically earthy 20th century England) to keep her safe and help her learn about the other world. She still takes regular lessons from her father on how to travel into death and send “resurrected” spirits back into death. When her father goes missing and sends her his necromancer tools, she knows she has to go back to the Old Kingdom to find and save him. Along the way, she finds out what she’s up against and meets some fun sidekicks.
I don’t know if I’d go as far as to say that it filled the Harry Potter shaped hole in my heart, but Sabriel was a very enjoyable read. Written more than twenty years ago, it shows its age in a few parts. I feel like young adult fantasy pre-Harry Potter has a different feel to it. Sabriel holds up for the most part though. I don’t know that readers usually resistant to the fantasy genre would get into this, but I’d definitely recommend it to any fantasy lover or kids/teenagers.