I have had this book sitting around in my bookshelf for at least five years because after buying it, it never appealed to me to start it until recently.
It started off very slowly, which is why it is only getting three stars because it wasn't really until half way through I felt truly compelled to read it. However saying that the second half was really quite good and I would like to read the sequels sooner rather then later. I have a feeling they will be better or at least I hope so.
There were a few nigglers that bugged me a little bit whilst reading:
His use of nudity. It felt unnecessary half the time and the mention of Sabriel's breasts felt a little forced to me as if he was trying to make a point that this was a YA and yet he could still talk about women's breasts and sex and that. Which I think is fine in a YA because sex shouldn't be kept under covers and all hushed up as if it's some bad thing. He did not go over the top with it and was in fact very subtle. Maybe it was because it is a male author, but sometimes I felt he was only saying it or doing it for effect rather then storyline/character projection.
Whenever he used words such as "sarry" or "tarry" it just felt so old fashioned and almost silly because I don't really think it fitted in with the rest. That's only a minor thing and I liked the writing over all. Again I thought it seemed to improve along with the story as the book progressed.
I liked the concept of the two different kingdoms with the Old being so different and old fashioned and the other one being so modern with electricity and guns and tanks. And I liked the necromancy - very well written and thought out and easily imaginable. In fact it could be a little spooky at times.
Sabriel I thought remained quite flat charactered until later on in the book when she started to develop a bit more. She became stronger as her journey progressed which I enjoyed. I think the problem was that for the first 100 pages or so she spent a lot of the time on her own, until she met Mogget who wasn't really much company - it wasn't until she met Touchstone I felt that she started to inflate as a character more.
Touchstone - I would liked to have known a bit more about him (what was his real name for instance) but I found him rather sweet and I'm a sucker for a bit of romance.
Mogget - a little cute at first and gets me thinking of Japanese anime more then anything else. I think this book would make a good Studio Ghibli film more then anything.
It's certainly quite different from anything I have read before and actually not what I thought it would be. I want to know more about this world, the rules of the dead - what will happen to Sabriel. I believe the second book happens some time in the future when Sabriel is a bit older and with a child! I hope we get to see them again, I really do because I have begun to like Sabriel and would prefer to see her character grow more. So I was a little disappointed to find out it doesn't continue off with her as a character.
Now I just hope the library will have Lireal available soon so I can read it!