Novel by Garth Nix
An epic fantasy with a nice dose of romance
It took me awhile to get through the first half of this book. Not because it wasn’t a good story or well-written or anything like that–it took that long for the romance to show up. I’d actually resigned myself to a good story with no romance when all of a sudden *boom* there it was, and I became a reading fiend.
Sabriel is an 18 year old student at a ladies academy when a spectre of the Dead visits her to deliver an ominous message: her father is trapped in the realm of the dead, and she has become the Abhorsen, a person charged with protecting the living by keeping dead things dead. She travels into the magical Old Kingdom, hoping to restore him to life, but instead discovers the Kingdom (which has been decaying for awhile) is on the verge of destruction.
You have to get through some rather typical obstacle/solve/obstacle fantasy plotting in the first half (though the magic system and its basis in necromancy is fascinating) to get to the romance, but once there, all the characters seem to perk up and grow more alive.
I won’t give away who the guy is, or where Sabriel meets him, but their romance is the product of deft writing. With only a few precious details sprinkled throughout the narrative, Nix creates the sense that these people really are falling for each other.
This is Book 1 of the Abhorsen Trilogy, but it also stands on its own (I haven’t read the others yet). If you like dark adventure and subtle romance (heck, if you like fantasy at all) I highly recommend this book.
And Mogget is awesome.