I’ve been a big fan of Garth Nix for about a decade now, ever since I first read Sabriel. It’s the first published book in Nix’s Old Kingdom series, although the newer Clariel predates it in the series’ chronology. It made me want to read the whole series all over again. While they may be aimed at young adults, there’s enough here to keep an adult reader engaged. The world he’s created is very interesting, and the way magic manifests and is used in the book has been something I’ve found both intriguing and unusual. But it’s his characters that I appreciate the most. Nix’s female characters are phenomenal. He always includes plenty, and his books have no problem passing the Bechdel test (I don’t know if that’s a thing for books, but it should be). Male characters aren’t lacking either, in personal capabilities or general diversity. I don’t think there’s a single character who is a cliche, and I admire that level of creativity and commitment to originality. It can be hard to write characters who don’t seem like you just unwrapped them from their packaging after bringing them home from “Characters R Us.” Garth Nix excels at this.
If you’re a fantasy fan and haven’t picked up this series, I highly recommend you add it to your “To Read” list. And it won’t matter if you start with Clariel or Sabriel, they’ll flow equally well either way.