Sabriel by Garth Nix
When Sabriel was no more than five years old, her father, Abhorsen, sent her to the country of Ancelstierre for schooling. She left the Old Kingdom to learn new ways. But her father didn’t neglect her. He visited her every month. He also taught her the family craft, necromancy. Abhorsen’s purpose is to help the dead stay dead.
Now Sabriel is 18 and ready to graduate. She is deciding whether to return to the Old Kingdom or go on to college. But Abhorsen disappears. A spirit brings her his necromancy bells and his sword. She realizes he may be dead. But she has to return to the Old Kingdom and try to find him.
After obtaining passage through the Wall, Sabriel learns that evil is growing stronger in the Old Kingdom. Her magic is basic, although advanced in Ancelstierre. Here it can only do so much. She barely reaches her father’s house ahead of a mordicant, an evil sending from beyond the gates of Death. She vows to find Abhorsen. She has to rescue him. With the help of a 200-year-old royal guard, an unusual cat, and Charter Magic, she seeks the source of the evil where her father is trapped.
Sabriel is a fantasy using necromancy for good rather than the evil that usually accompanies a necromancer. She is thrown into a land she barely knows. The reader discovers the characteristics of the Old Kingdom along with her. There is a dark overlay in this fantasy world, yet the novel doesn’t drag the reader down. There were times I found the book slow and had to re-read to know what had just happened. But by the end I wasn’t putting the book down.
Welcome to my hobby.