Greetings all, and welcome to this week’s Boozy Books!
I don’t know if you remember, but back when we first returned from Stratford, it was my turn when first Boozy Books came around. And boy did I intend to do a real entry that day. I really did. As hard as it was to shake off the post-Stratford blues, I was determined to get us moving forward.
Well, I failed that day. Instead, I wrote an entire blog reminiscing about my time in Stratford. And I set aside the book I intended to write about, telling myself I’d do it next time.
But I didn’t do it next time. In fact, I have not done it yet. And it’s been…over 5 months since we got home. It’s like the worst case of procrastination-while-actually-working ever. Or, you know, whatever I would call something like that.
Sabriel is a good book. It was one of my favorites when I was younger and it remains a nostalgia novel to this day. When I read it now, the language doesn’t sing the way it used to, and I notice where the author repeated words too close together or the metaphor doesn’t really paint the pictures quite as vividly as I remember, but I still love it. Without Sabriel and other books like it, I would not be the reader I am today; I certainly wouldn’t be the writer I think I am. (No one burst that writing bubble, OK? Let me have my delusions of talent.)
The thing I love about Sabriel is this: its interpretation of death and necromancy is one of the most unique I’ve ever come across. In fact, I think the reason I’ve held on to this book (and its two sequels) for so long is because of its amazing world-building. And y’all know I’m a sucker for amazing world-building. Anyway…let’s get this going.
Sabriel is the first book in the Abhorsen Trilogy by Australian author Garth Nix. I’m not doing the whole trilogy because, of all the books, Sabriel is the one that stands on its own. I think it’s one of those situations where the first book was written as a standalone, but with plenty of leeway for sequels if it did well enough. Anyway. Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen, a necromancer charged with keeping the dead in death. They work under the auspices of the Charter, which is basically magic that’s been reigned in and made safe for human use, whereas most necromancers use Free Magic (which is BAD). For most of her life, Sabriel has lived in the land of Ancelstierre, which is south of The Wall, and in which magic is not a thing; she attends boarding school there. As such, she is not particularly aware of the mores, political situation, and even history of the Old Kingdom (on the other side of The Wall) in which she was born. But when her father turns up missing, she picks up his sword and bells–as well as the mantle of Abhorsen–crosses The Wall, and sets off to save him. Along the way, she meets Mogget (a not-cat Free Magic construct bound to serve the Abhorsen…as long as he keeps his collar on), Touchstone (not his real name, but the only one we get in this novel), and experiences far more of the Dead than she ever thought to…and ends up fighting to save a Kingdom.
Sabriel is a great character. She is the kind of heroine we’re all clambering for. We sing the praises of Black Widow or Rey, but Sabriel has been there all this time, just waiting to be the role model she deserves to be. Sabriel is intelligent, but she isn’t always the smartest in the room. She doesn’t want to put people in danger, but she’ll accept help when she needs it (which is a BIG THING for me). She is brave, but often terrified of what she must do. In short, she is someone *real*, someone girls can see themselves in and aspire to be. Sure, they’ll never ring Saraneth to bind a dead spirit, but they can be brave like her and kind like her, and that’s what matters.
(Note. You should also read Lirael and Abhorsen, the other books of the trilogy. Lirael is another amazing character and, in Abhorsen, you get to learn a LOT more about the world, which is always fun.)
Now. What to drink? Honestly…I wasn’t sure. This was a book I loved a lot in my childhood, so I wanted it to be warm and maybe nostalgia-ridden (if a drink can be nostalgia-ridden). But it needs to be cold, too…to evoke the freezing waters of Death. The novel mostly takes place in the Old Kingdom, where it is winter, so something comforting…or at least white. Oh! Hey! Let’s do a White Russian. Cold, creamy, comforting…but the Kahlua and vodka are sure to warm you up. It’s a great drink. If that’s not to your taste, I recommend this. It’s more…autumnal, but it’s definitely perfect. Just depends on your preferences, is all.
Anyway. That’s it for me today! Stay in touch ’cause A will be here tomorrow with some Shakespeare!
Buy the book:
Buy the booze:
Kahlua, Vodka, and Bourbon are all easily available. Probably easier to get at, like, Target than on the internet. Hell…you probably have them in your cabinet.