Sabriel Lirael Abhorsen
I’m terrified of zombies. I don’t just mean zombies in the fictional context, I mean the idea of our real life planet Earth one day being consumed by toxic fumes which rots our brains and turn us into dribbling cannibals. Okay, I know it sounds irrational (I get funny stares whenever I admit this to people) but it’s a fear I’ve had since I first watched Night of The Living Dead many, many years ago and I’ve never known how to shake it. I even had nightmares after watching Shaun of the Dead (don’t laugh). As you can imagine, now I make it a rule to watch as few zombie movies as I can.
So when I had a book trilogy about necromancy recommended to me by a friend, I shocked myself by ordering all three of them. We share the same taste in fiction so I figured that they had to be okay (having over 100,000 ratings collectively on Goodreads didn’t hurt either). Was I surprised? Oh, yes! Very pleasantly so. The first in the series was released a couple of years before the Harry Potter madness consumed the world so I’d seen a few reviewers comparing the two series online but after reading them, I realised they are nothing alike. This series is much darker, funnier and was enjoyable for me. And the best part? Pure adventure with very little romance thrown in. It was really refreshing to read a book written about teenagers/for teenagers that had female protagonists who weren’t obsessed with finding love. I got some stick about The Other Slipper not having much romance in it and I was starting to doubt my decision to cut out the love story I had planned initially for Jo, but after reading this series, I felt much better about my choice. Oh and I loved that Gareth Nix was not afraid to head hop as much as he wanted (take that “head hopping police”! Kapow!). I’ve been told off by some reviewers for doing this but if multimillion dollar bestselling authors Gareth Nix and Alexander McCall Smith can do it, why can’t Kenechi Udogu?
Anyway, I read all three books over the course of two months and I posted my reviews on Goodreads (and gave them all 5 stars) but I thought I’d copy the reviews below for fun. Very highly recommended for a spell of escapism.
Wow! I haven’t read such an engaging fantasy (horror) novel in such a long time. Thank you Garth Nix for providing the world with such wonderful characters and gripping imagery. I think this book was written for a YA audience but I’m sure most older readers would enjoy it too. Loved it! I’ve already got the second book in the series, Lirael, and I can’t wait to delve back into the world of The Old Kingdom on the other side of The Wall. Highly recommended.
I’m so happy that this series was recommended to me by a colleague. We have similar tastes and I usually trust her judgement but this time especially, I’m glad I didn’t give into my fear of zombies and keep away from this. I love the way Gareth Nix writes. He ropes you in with hints and glimpses and fantastic description. I wasn’t sure where the story would lead on from book one, Sabriel, but I was pleasantly surprised. And yes, I was as petrified as I was in book one. Necromancers are pretty scary people and I’m a wimp. On to book three!
I stayed up past midnight on a workday to finish this book because, although I didn’t want the story to end, I couldn’t put it off any longer. As the bulk of the last few pages diminished between my fingers, I felt quite tearful at the thought that there would be no more of Sabriel, Lirael or all the other amazing characters Nix created. My favourites were the creatures of Free Magic (the dog and cat) but I have a soft spot for Sameth because he was the one that struggled with his fate the most…in my opinion. This series is pure fantasy, action and adventure. I loved that there is a hint of romance but not much at all. A good story doesn’t need the angst that romance sometimes introduces. It just needs Garth Nix to write it (yes, I’m officially a fan). Oh, and a handful of the Dead for good measure.