Sabriel Read-a-long Week 2

I’m running a bit behind with my posts for the Old Kingdom Read-a-long but these are my thoughts on the second week’s chapters 10 -20.

  1. Would you fly in a paperwing given a chance?
    I would love to say yes as the idea of flying in what is basically a paper plane sounds really exciting. However Sabriel thinks that it looks “pretty, decorative and not at all airworthy” so I suspect that if I did actually have the chance to fly one, the appearance would put me off completely. I do love the way that Garth Nix describes the paperwing. I get a really clear picture in my head as with so much else in this novel.

2. What are your thoughts on talking animal companions as a whole?
I love them. Who wouldn’t love a friendly animal to keep you company. In books they are often quite stroppy and provide a lot of the humour so they are generally fun to read about. A couple of my favourites ate the horse in The Horse and his Boy by C S Lewis and Mephi from The Bone Shard Daughter by Andrea Stewart.

3. Pick a character and discuss what you suspect about their journey going forward.
I’m really keen to find out what happens to Moggett. The events of chapter 12 were far beyond what I expected to happen and I’m really interested to see if he stays in his current form at the end of the book.

4. Who or what do you think Touchstone is?
The book tells us that he is a trapped spirit who is contained in the figurehead of the ship. Sabriel uses her necromancy skills to free him. We learn more about him in Chapter 18 and find out what his role was in the fall of the monarchy but he just seems to be someone who was alive at the time of the last monarch of the Old Kingdom. Maybe he was a royal guard as he was close to the royal family and was also a charter mage. It sounds a bit like the Abhorsen saved his life by trapping his spirit in the figurehead. Maybe he was saved for a particular reason that will be revealed.

I have to say that I am loving the book so far. I can’t believe that I have never read the series before.

Roll on Week 3!

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Old Kingdom Read -a-long

I have never read the Old Kingdom books by Garth Nix although my daughter loved them. I was already in my twenties when they were published and although I always meant to read them, I never quite got round to it.

I did read the prequel, Terciel and Elinor as an ARC on Net Galley and I really enjoyed that which reminded me that I still hadn’t read the original books. Then I saw that Jordyn was doing a read- a-long which was the impetus that I needed to actually get the books and read them. I’ve never done a read along before so it will be interesting to see what other people think as I read the book. I’m really late joining in with this as the read-along started two weeks ago. However, we’ve been on holiday and creating blog posts on my phone felt too much like hard work.

Jordyn has suggested reading chapters 1-10 last week and then chapters 11-20 this week and has put up questions to go with them. See her blog post here for the synopsis.

She has created a set of questions for the first 10 chapters so here goes with my initial thoughts and ideas.

1. Our main character comes into this world dead, but her father immediately brings her back to life. What do you think this foretells for the rest of the book going forward?
One of the main themes in the book is necromancy and Sabriel and her father are both necromancers so this beginning really sets the scene for the rest of the book where the dead will not rest quietly.

2. There is a creeping sense of foreboding as soon as Sabriel crosses the Wall and enters the Old Kingdom. What do you think lurks there?
I loved the clear difference between Sabriel’s life at school and the danger and uncertainty that she is heading into when she crosses the wall. I didn’t really have any clear idea of what was lurking there but imagined that it probably contains death to a greater or lesser extent after the opening chapter.

3. When Sabriel reaches the Wall, she is shown immediately as be both competent, and unsure. Does this endear her to you, as a reader, or make you less sure about her prospects in the story?
I really like the character of Sabriel and think that the mixture of competency and insecurity fits my image of an 18 year old ready to leave school. We know that she has been successful at school, being at the top or nearly of all of her classes. This will give her a feeling of competency as there are things that she is confident about. However, she has never been in this situation before so she feels unsure. I’m looking forward to reading more about how she deals with whatever the old kingdom throws at her.

4. Charter Magic is a huge part of this story. What do you think of the magic system so far? What do you think the Charter Stones do? Why are they destroyed?
Charter Magic is obviously rune based and a written form of magic. I’m impressed by how Sabriel is able to memorise the runes so quickly. There are echoes here of other books that have used similar magic systems, not least LOTR where runes play an important part. It’s obviously a powerful magic and linked to the earth through the use of stones to ward places however the stones are being destroyed and the magic is becoming weaker. This is also linked to the lack of a ruler in the Old Kingdom so there is no royal line to protect and carry on the magic. Moggett says “The whole world slides into evil”. The weakened charter magic is no longer enough to protect the kingdom.

5. We meet Mogget in Chapter Eight. What do you think he is? Is he good, evil, or neither? Why do you think he is forbidden from speaking about the Greater Dead? Is it a device for the author, to drag out the mystery, or do you think there is a in-story reason?
I love Mogget and his interjections were some of favourite parts. I’m unsure whether he is good or evil. He is obviously more than he appears to be as he is controlled by the collar. What will happen if Sabriel ever takes the collar off will be really interesting I think.

I have really loved reading the first 10 chapters of this book and can’t wait to carry on with the story.

Stacking the Shelves 59

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It’s Saturday again and time for my weekly Stacking the Shelves post. Stacking the Shelves is a meme hosted by Marlene at Reading Reality and details are on her blog. The gorgeous graphic is also used courtesy of the site.

Stacking the Shelves is all about sharing the books you are adding to your shelves, may it be physical or virtual. This means you can include books you buy in physical store or online, books you borrow from friends or the library, review books, gifts and of course ebooks!

My STS posts are generally my library books. However, this week we’re on our travels again as we enjoy our final holiday of 2022. At the moment we’re by on the Mediterranean coast right down in the south of France in the gorgeous town of Collioure. We first came here in 2005 and fell in love with the town and surrounding area so we come back quite regularly.

This is our last day and I’m going to be really sad to have to go home. We’ve had a brilliant holiday and I’m sure we’ll be back in the not too distant future.

As we’re on holiday, I can’t go to the library so this week’s Stacking the Shelves post is my Net Galley and ebook additions.

I’ve only added two books to my NG shelf as I’m not requesting so many books now in an effort to keep my shelf under control.


Waste of a Life by Simon Brett
I’ve read all of Simon Brett’s earlier books and I guess they would come under the heading of cosy crime. He has a nice line in sarcasm for some of his characters though and I always enjoyed his novels. This is the first in a new series so I’m looking forward to something different.

Chaos at Carnegie Hall by Kelly Oliver
I’m always a complete sucker for an Art deco cover so obviously had to request this when I saw it. It’s set in 1917 and all about singers and spies so sounds brilliant.

I’ve also just added two ebooks to my kindle this week

Dead in the Water by Mark Ellis
This is the latest in the Frank Merlin mysteries which are set in London during WWII. I’ve loved the previous books so hoping that this will be as good. There’s definitely a wartime theme developing this week.

Sabriel by Garth Nix
I’ve never read this series as it wasn’t published until I was an adult. My daughter loved them all though and when I saw that Jordyn was doing a Read-along, it seemed like a good opportunity to remedy this gap

We’re flying home tomorrow and so next week, I’ll be back at the library again where there is at least one book waiting for me.

That’s what I’ve added to my shelves this week. What’s been added to your bookshelves?