I've been having trouble writing a review for this book. No fault of the book - just outside influences. Life is busy this Spring.
I bought this book from a used book store at least a year ago. It was sitting on my to-be-read shelf looking sad. So I decided on a whim to pick it up and give it a shot. I assumed it was young adult because of a vague recollection. So bonus, I could screen the book for my seven-year-old (who reads above his level and loves fantasy). Verdict: I really enjoyed this book. I enjoyed it so much that I squealed with delight when I found the second book of the series at a used book store yesterday. As for my seven-year-old, I think he'd like it. But I'm going to put it off for a little while. It has a bit of romance that I don't think he'd care for (not to mention the ginormous list of books he wants to read already).
The premise: Sabriel is the daughter of the Abhorsen - a necromancer from the old kingdom. Unlike most necromancers, the Abhorsen does not raise the dead, but rather ensures that the Dead do not return to Life. Sabriel is raised on the other side of the Wall away from the Old Kingdom and must venture back to save her father and, well, the world.
I particularly enjoyed the way Nix described the descent into Death. The river, the gates, the frost - it was very well done. The characters are thought out and well developed (which I find rare in YA books). I enjoyed the characters so much that I was disappointed to find that the sequel takes place a full fourteen years later! My only bone to pick was the ending. It was too abrupt. I felt that a lot of things that could/should have been wrapped up (or at least embellished) were left to hang. That's probably a personal preference, though.
All in all, Woo! This book was fun. I'd recommend it to just about anyone.