Sabriel (Book 1 of the Abhorsen trilogy)

In this dark fantasy, the dead walk among the living, and you can be sure they aren’t visiting friends to catch up on old times. Necromancers are a gifted few who protect the living by using charter magic and enchanted bells to bind the “unsettled” spirits. Sabriel is the 18-year-old daughter of The Abhorsen, the necromancer who has been keeping the dead where they belong for a good many years. At the start of the book a violent and powerful spirit traps The Abhorsen in death, and Sabriel must journey there to rescue her father.

Sabriel is a good book in that it is skillfully written, and keeps your interest from the get-go. Sabriel makes a strong, and decent heroine, and readers will find a clear distinction between good and evil. But, I found the story ghoulishly scary. Then again, it doesn’t take much to scare me. I can’t venture down into our basement after dark without suddenly remembering every haunting movie I’ve ever seen. I blame my irrational fears on my childhood exposure to shows like Dark Shadows and stories that like Sabriel, involve demons, or other frightening specters. My boys aren’t young adults yet, but even if they were, I doubt they’d be reading titles from the horror genre. Besides the macabre violence, Sabriel has some brief sexuality thrown in. This trilogy will conflict with any Christian’s world (and afterlife) view. Use your discernment.

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