When Sabriel was published in 1995, it introduced a younger generation to fantasy books and influenced many current YA authors like Leigh Bardugo, Brandon Sanderson, Sarah J. Maas and others. With five books currently in the series and with more to come, there’s a few ways you can read the series. So if you’re not sure where to start, no worries!


Publication Order


  • This is the path I went, since the recent 2 books hadn’t been released until a few years ago. Going this way prevents a slight spoiler for book 4, although it’s not a big deal. But it’s also good to know the world, magic and Sabriel as a character in the first one since she keeps appearing in the series. I also feel like you’ll appreciate the different time period in Clariel; the book has received mixed reviews but I appreciated seeing more of free magic and a character different from Sabriel and Lirael.

OPTION 2: Prequel


  • This book was published in 2014 and takes place 600 years before Sabriel. You can start with this one, since you follow different characters but still get the world building and magic, with an emphasis on “free magic.” This is a villain origin story as well, if you want to start here. (This is the slight spoiler if you read out of order knowing who the villain is, but it’s not vital)

OPTION 3: Lirael/Abhorsen


  • Garth Nix has said himself that you can start with these books in the series (there’s an interview I’ll link below that you can watch), since you mainly follow Lirael and her journey. Some things from Sabriel are referenced but they catch you up enough. You don’t quite know a lot about Sabriel and Touchstone, but you can go back to the first book and read that after to help you out 🙂

There you have it! I hope this guide was helpful. It’s always interesting when you can start a series in a couple places. I’ve loved these books since 2002 and hope more people will discover the talking animals, necromancer magic and masterful world building like I did. If you’ve read this series, did you read them in publication order? Which book is your favorite? Have you read anything else by this author?