The Sabriel Trilogy is a trilogy of books written by Garth Nix. I do not know if the trilogy has an official name, but "Sabriel Trilogy" would seem to be the best name to give it, after the first book of the trilogy.

The three books of the trilogy are:

  1. Sabriel (1997)
  2. Lirael (2002)
  3. Abhorsen (2003)

There was a gap in between the first and second books, and there was also a gap in the chronology of the stories, as the second and third books take place twenty years after the first, with a younger generation of characters. The second and third books were delivered a year early, perhaps Garth Nix has as hard a time putting the books down while writing them as I do while reading them.

I found these books by chance in the young adult section of my library. I don't really see why they are classified as such, since in length, vocabularly and subject matter they are certainly adult enough. The general style of writing and narrative flow is very close to Harry Potter and His Dark Materials, although a shade darker and more intense. The first book, after all, opens with a teenage girl using her necromantic powers, and only gets darker from there.

The action of the books is set in The Old Kingdom, a realm of magic, very little of it good. Although the predominant type of magic is supposed to be the good, constructive Charter Magic, throughout the first book, the Kingdom is under siege and corruption, infected with Dead (what would usually be called Undead) and Free Magic creatures. All of these are described in quite vivid detail that would get these books banned from libraries if they were more popular. The plot of the first book centers around the defeat of a powerful necromancer. The second two books, set twenty years later, delve deeper into the history and nature of magic, Free and Charter.

The pacing of the books is an almost constant tale of flight and battle from powerful dead and evil creatures, as the protagonists try to flee from one body of water (which can kill or frighten the dead) to a source of fire, or waiting for day to come and scare the dead away. This is especially impressive since the second two books comes down to a thousand page long tale of hairline escapes and last minute close calls piled on top of each other. While the deeper nature of the magic and nature of the books is touched upon, it is never exposited on for chapters, as it is in Phillip Pullman.

As for what inhabits the Old Kingdom, it consists of a lost Royal line, evil and good necromancers at war with each other, a sisterhood of Sybils living in a glacier, animated airplanes, bells that command the dead, and a talking dog. It isn't a gnostic space opera without a talking dog. Plus, everyone has these names that sound like an inexplicable mixture of Welsh and Hebrew. I get the feeling that Garth Nix has thought a great deal upon the background of his world, and is just waiting for more chances to paint it in in greater strokes. At least, I hope as much.

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