Posting this here for #SabrielDay
This is so going to date me.
I picked Sabriel off the shelf and checked it out of the library all those years ago not because of the angelic sounding title, nor because of the serviceable but not exactly popping cover, and not even because of the author's gothic horror-esque name. No, I picked it up because of the publishing imprint.
What an incredibly flimsy reason to take a chance on a book. That's like deciding to read all the Penguin Classics because you just watched Happy Feet.
I'm glad I took chances on the flimsiest of reasons back then, because it paid off and what I got was a great story. I know that sounds like a vague and possibly shallow thing to say, but I totally mean it. Sabriel is a great story.
It had that often sought balance of narrative and character; enough story to keep you interested and personalities so well defined that it felt like you were making friends. It was a fantasy world of swords and sorcery, but the fighting was grounded in a soldier's practical mentality and the magics were backed up by a solid mechanic, instead of being point and shoot wishful thinking. It was a world that was believable with hints of hidden histories, affectionate humour and a unique way of dying. And Sabriel, with her independence and get things done attitude, was the type of girl that I still thought I could be if the world ever needed me to be.
Where do the moonstones come into it? Well, they don't even feature in the story at all. Moonstone was the name of the imprint. It was a seemingly inconsequential thing that had significant personal consequences. The stories of the Old Kingdom and the writings of Garth Nix are a major influence in how I perceive stories in general and fantasies in particular. They are one of the dominating fabrics in the patchwork of my imagination, and what you see in your imagination effects what you see in the world, what's in it and what could be in it.
And for that I am grateful.
Sabriel and Mogget ©Garth Nix
Ink and watercolour on A3 300gsm smooth watercolour paper.