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I listen to audiobooks while commuting to and from the day job, and I just finished listening to SABRIEL by Garth Nix. As I’ve mentioned before, I’ve never really been into the necromantic craze that seems to be a sort of ongoing thing. Nevertheless, I did enjoy listening to this book, at least in part due to the great performance by reader Tim Curry.

After receiving a cryptic message from her father, Abhorsen, a necromancer trapped in Death, 18-year-old Sabriel sets off into the Old Kingdom. Fraught with peril and deadly trickery, her journey takes her to a world filled with parasitical spirits, Mordicants, and Shadow Hands. Unlike other necromancers, who raise the dead, Abhorsen lays the disturbed dead back to rest. This obliges him–and now Sabriel, who has taken on her father’s title and duties–to slip over the border into the icy river of Death, sometimes battling the evil forces that lurk there, waiting for an opportunity to escape into the realm of the living. Desperate to find her father, and grimly determined to help save the Old Kingdom from destruction by the horrible forces of the evil undead, Sabriel endures almost impossible exhaustion, violent confrontations, and terrifying challenges to her supernatural abilities–and her destiny.

There are additional titles in the series, though I’m not sure that I’ll listen to them right away. I’ll probably keep them in the back of my mind as stand-bys for when the things I have on hold haven’t arrived yet. My son heard part of the story and is now listening, and he says he’s liking it.

I can maybe see a sort of “undead campaign” based on some of these ideas and themes, though I fear I would weary of it rather quickly. There’s only so much zombies and such that I can take.

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2 Responses to Sabriel

  1. Timeshadows says:

    Tanith Lee’s, To Kill the Dead, may interest you. I have no idea of its availability on audio, though.

  2. JB says:

    “…though I fear I would weary of it rather quickly…”

    Here’s where I would say, ‘you don’t need to use the same system for every game.’ It may not be appropriate for a long-run D&D campaign, but a short “Sorcerer and Sword” game could address some of the darker themes of necromancer PCs. It doesn’t all have to be Vancian magic and “saving throws,” ya’ know?

    : )

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