So, I remember when I was younger and when I was at the library I would almost always pick up these books... and then promptly put them back, frustrated because i could not figure out which one was first. I remember even expressing my frustration to my mom and her telling me to just read them out of order. I simply cannot do that. I refuse to read books out of order in a series.However, I could not for the life of me figure out which one was first... So... eventually i just forgot about them, until one day my friend here at school was talking about them and asking if i had read them... which i hadn't... because they were the-books-that-were-forever-alluding-me. So, I finally got my hands on the first one (and it IS the first one. trust me. i checked.) and was actually a bit surprised to learn what it was about. Essentially, this is a story about necromancers. Why I never read it when I was younger continues to baffle me. This is, literally, the perfect book for me. Maybe it's good that it's taken me this long to read it, I probably would have been marginally uncomfortable if I had read it when i was younger (uncomfortable because i would be LOVING IT and then thinking WAIT I SHOULDN'T ENJOYING THIS, SHOULD I? That was actually the majority of my childhood. haha.) The story basically throws the concept at you right off, if the idea of necromancy makes you uncomfortable, well these aren't for you right off, unless you want to see it done in a way that is genius. The story focuses on Sabriel, the daughter of Abhorsen. The Abhorsen, in fact, but that gets a bit confusing in there what with names and titles and such. She's brought up in Ancelstierre, the kingdom that borders the Old Kingdom. Ancelstierre is more advanced, with its cars and lightbulbs and guns. The Old Kingdom is the more fantasy like setting of the story, and most of the novel takes place in the Old Kingdom when Sabriel crosses over to search for her missing father. The plot is all very deep and complicated and I don't really want to give it all away, so i'm just going to fangirl over the magic system. Magic in the Old Kingdom is run through Charter Marks and Charter mages use the marks to use their magic. Free magic is magic that is used outside the charter, it's typically associated with rogue mages. The Abhorsen uses five bells to perform their magic. Each bell has a specific task that associates with the dead. In this, necromancy isn't so much raising the dead, but making sure the dead stay dead. Keeping the dead where they belong. It's brilliant, really. It's actually the perfect book. I've been looking for a book that does necromancy right for forever now and I can't believe that I've found it with these books that have been alluding me for years. The story is just brilliant. There are only a handful of characters and yet it all is so rich. There's so much too it even though it's not huge or very long. The world is just so expansive and feel like you only get a taste of how big it truly is. I love all the characters that we do see. Sabriel is perfect. She's strong and takes up her task even though its hard and she frequently wants to give up because she feels that she isn't ready. Mogget confused me, a bit, i couldn't quite grasp the point of his character, but i enjoyed his inclusion nonetheless. Touchstone drove me crazy for the first half of the book, but i do admit i liked him. Even though he was technically a Charter mage, I like the warrior/mage dynamic that he had with Sabriel. Basically, if i hadn't had school slowing me down, it probably would have taken me a day to read this. I really want nothing more than to dive into the second one (the book i bought has the entire trilogy in one. it's gorgeous), but i know that with school it will be slow reading. I can't wait to read further though, i'm so glad i finally picked these books up and read them because i can easily say that Sabriel is one of my new favourite books. I adored it.