All parent member reviews for Sabriel: The Abhorsen Trilogy, Book 1

Parents say

(out of 8 reviews)
age 13+
Review this title!
Adult Written April 9, 2008
Adult Written bykoujokakyuu July 1, 2012

Incredible Dark Fantasy with Real Female Role Model

Read this book when I was a middle schooler (learned lots of new vocabulary words seldom used elsewhere). An excellent read; I revisit fairly often. A complete, imaginary realm. It is dark fantasy, dealing with death, dead things that won't stay dead, coming of age, responsibility, loss, and blossoming sexuality (very light). Sabriel is an excellent role model, someone who does what is right, not what is easy. The staff reviewer seems to take issue with the sexuality in the book (which is minimal: it discusses (in passing) menarche and misinformation, the existence of contraception, the existence of male genetalia on a naked, unconscious man, ambivalence about romantic relationships, a kiss or two, and the scene in which Sabriel hears others having sex and gets the wrong idea is one of my most favorite moments in the book-- it gives us inight into her feelings for someone and a good laugh during a heavy part of the book). Our heroine is, after all, 17 or 18 years old at the outset of the book. Most younger readers will have had some sex ed, but obviously lack an appreciation for the stickiness of growing up, beginning relationships, etc. Our heroine makes smart choices for herself, and author Garth Nix presents sexuality in a practical, uncharged way. Well done! Also, Lirael and Abhorsen are worthy sequels, although you definitely need both of those back to back. Also, side note: my little brother tried reading this as a fourth or fifth grader and was overwhelmed by the dark imagery, so even purged of all things vaguely sexual, the book is best left for a slightly more mature reader no matter their reading ability.
What other families should know
Educational value
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Too much sex
Educator and Parent Written byDrew Teacher May 11, 2012


I believe Matt Berman's review was pretty fantastic. This trilogy is a work of fantasy, and some of the most imaginative fantasy I have read. People who want overt religious allegory will be disappointed, but it has some strong, if vague, theological messages. It will not seem extraordinarily violent to a child that has read the Hunger Games, but its strong protagonist and emphasis on action centering on something other than hacking and shooting are welcome attractions. Really, one of my favorite books for young adults.
What other families should know
Great messages
Great role models
Too much violence
Adult Written byCoffeeTable March 2, 2010
Adult Written bymoviemadness April 9, 2008

Great Fantasy Novel!

This is a wonderful fantasy novel for tweens and up. There is some non-explicit sexual material, and some violence (including dark images. She is a necromancer's daughter afterall!
Adult Written byboeweizer April 9, 2008
Adult Written bypeacemaker April 9, 2008
Adult Written byaermancer April 9, 2008

My favorite book

The negative comment that Sabriel drinks alchohol is out of order, the book is set in an alternate European 1920s, and wine wouldn't have the stigma it does today. She drinks it with her meal or something similarly mundane. The very short sex related bit is indeed unnecessary but it's not a big deal really. Nothin explicit, during her stay at a hotel she hears something through the wall. I definitely recommend this book to any young readers of fantasy. Sabriel is a great heroine to read about.