Sabriel Read-a-long – Week One

I’m so excited to participate in this read-a-long of Sabriel by Garth Nix. The read-a-long is being hosted by Jordyn @ Birdie’s Book Nook. You can find out all about it on her blog! So, be sure to stop by her page and see her thoughts on this book (and many others), as well.

Sent to a boarding school in Ancelstierre as a young child, Sabriel has had little experience with the random power of Free Magic or the Dead who refuse to stay dead in the Old Kingdom. But during her final semester, her father, the Abhorsen, goes missing, and Sabriel knows she must enter the Old Kingdom to find him.

With Sabriel, the first installment in the Abhorsen series, Garth Nix exploded onto the fantasy scene as a rising star, in a novel that takes readers to a world where the line between the living and the dead isn’t always clear—and sometimes disappears altogether.

Here are my thoughts on this week’s discussion questions:

1. Our main character comes into this world dead, but her father immediately brings her back to life. What do you think this foretells for the rest of the book going forward?

I’m honestly not sure what this foretells. I assume this book will heavily center death and/or necromancy at the heart of its story since it seems her father is a necromancer of some sort. I also think that her resurrection may be the key to her own powers or provide her with extra insight into the world of the dead. Whatever it means, it was a really cool way to start the story and gripped my interest immediately.

2. There is a creeping sense of foreboding as soon as Sabriel crosses the Wall and enters the Old Kingdom. What do you think lurks there?

Based on what has been presented in the story so far, I’m assuming it will either be something dead and/or magical since the Old Kingdom appears to be the only domain with such creatures. I find the idea of the different kingdoms fascinating, and I’m honestly curious about why they are so different. I think the main villain lurking there will likely be the entity that attempted to run off with her spirit during the prologue, but that is mere speculation. 🙂

3. When Sabriel reaches the Wall, she is shown immediately as be both competent, and unsure. Does this endear her to you, as a reader, or make you less sure about her prospects in the story?

I really like Sabriel so far. These conflicting aspects of her make sense given the amount of training she has received. She is clearly capable but lacks real world experience of putting her competence into practice. The struggle of learning how to do so has made her relatable, in my opinion, and sets her character up for room to grow. I think it will end up making a great coming-of-age story.

4. Charter Magic is a huge part of this story. What do you think of the magic system so far? What do you think the Charter Stones do? Why are they destroyed?

I think the magic system has been really interesting so far, but I still don’t really understand it. I’m sure that will come once I get more of the story under my belt. I’m just going to take a wild guess at the rest of this question. I think the Charter Stones might create the foundation for the wall between the world of the living and dead. When destroyed or damaged, it can create a passageway into and out of the realm of the dead and weaken Charter magic. So, I’m sure someone would probably destroy one if they wanted to release an entity from the realm of death or try to get there themselves, maybe to try to save a dead loved one.

5. We meet Mogget in Chapter Eight. What do you think he is? Is he good, evil, or neither? Why do you think he is forbidden from speaking about the Greater Dead? Is it a device for the author, to drag out the mystery, or do you think there is a in-story reason?

OMG. I love Mogget so much. He seems to be some type of ancient magical force, but I love that his form is a talking cat with a snarky attitude. I don’t think he is good or evil. He seems like he would do whatever was in his best self interest if given the choice rather than being driven by any particular principles. I think there is probably an in-story reason for why he cannot talk about the Greater Dead. They seem to be very dangerous, and I’m wondering if maybe his binding was set to keep information about them out of the hands of anyone else.

Well. That’s it for this week’s questions! Have you read Sabriel? If so, what did you think of it? No spoilers please since I’m only on chapter eleven. 🙂

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