The prologue is just intriguing enough for me. I admit I don’t find Sabriel’s father as interesting a character as her but I think the prologue needs to be there to introduce us to the scope of the novel. I also love it as an example of the visceral quality of Nix’s writing: I can really feel the rain, the mud and the smoke of the camp.
I think what struck me most about the opening chapters of Sabriel when I was young was how capable she was. She might be facing personal crisis but throughout the early chapters, she’s perfectly in control: dealing with the dead, leaving school, crossing the wall and even feeling confident enough to play a trick on one of the soldiers. Even though I found her a hard character and a little difficult to warm up to, even as a 10 year old I had to respect the way she copes with what gets thrown at her. And I have to wonder whether my difficulty arose from the fact that I just wasn’t used to a female heroine being as unapologetically confident as she sometimes can be (still aren’t, come to that) and thus my brain misinterpreted her justifiable self-assuredness. Now I can appreciate her as a far more complex and nuanced character: rightfully taking pride in her skills but at the same time, unprepared for the ‘real world’.
For me, the book doesn’t really get ‘real’ until Sabriel is in the Old Kingdom. There’s just something solid about the snow, the bluffs and the road (particularly that image Nix gives us of her as that graceful, dark silhouette against the snow) that the ‘modern’ world of her school lacked. I also love that we are basically discovering The Old Kingdom along with her. There’s always an individual magic in tracking a characters progress into the unknown.
Onto one of my favourite parts, Abhorsen’s house!
"Does the Walker choose the path or the path the walker?" -Garth Nix
(Av/sig by Amy!)