Published: 1995, 2001, 2004
Pages (overall): 1,313
Rating (overall and individually): ★★★★
Synopsis: In the north of Ancelstierre, a normal country with no magic, is a wall that separates it from the Old Kingdom. In the Old Kingdom, there are two types of magic: Charter and Free. Charter Magic is controlled by symbols, while Free Magic is wild and dangerous, but also lets the wielder control the dead. The Abhorsen’s job is to use Charter Magic-infused bells to put the dead back where they belong. The books follow Sabriel as she becomes the Abhorsen and then Lirael, who is part of the future seeing Clayr.
There are two more books and some novellas in this series so far, but Sabriel, Lirael, and Abhorsen are the original trilogy.
I had always saw so many more recent fantasy books being compared to this series, so I figured I had to read it! While I did enjoy it overall, I struggled through the second half of Lirael and all of Abhorsen.
I think my favorite parts about this series are the world and the characters. The Old Kingdom was a really cool place! I love that there are two distinct types of magic. I thought the dead were really creepy! In Sabriel, there is one specific scene that took place at night in the snow and it was really spooky. I also really loved the Clayr’s library! It is so expansive and there were so many different rooms and chambers to explore, some of which were forgotten and very dangerous. The nine areas of Death were so cool and it was so interesting to learn about the how to get there and what to expect there.
Lirael was my favorite character in this series! I loved the first half of Lirael because it really just focuses on her. I thought she was so interesting to follow. I also really loved the Disreputable Dog! I thought they were just such a good pair. I also loved Sabriel, Touchstone, and Mogget.
The overall series and the individual books had pacing issues for me. It felt like Sabriel and Lirael started pretty slow, them the events toward the end were rushed through. There is a number of years between Sabriel and Lirael, but Abhorsen picks up right were Lirael left off.
I really enjoyed the plot of Sabriel, but the whole conflict that Lirael and Abhorsen revolves around wasn’t that interesting to me. Even though I loved the characters, the plot is the main reason I gave the later books only 4 stars. I gave Sabriel 4 stars due to the pacing issues. Overall though, I did think this was an enjoyable series with great characters and interesting magic!