Foreign Cover Friday: Sabriel by Garth Nix


Foreign Cover Friday is a weekly meme hosted by The Reading Fever, where foreign covers of the books we know and love are spotlighted and discussed. To join, either pick your favourite foreign cover, or pick many foreign covers, and start discussing!

This week I’m going with Sabriel, one of the first YA books I ever read, and probably the first Australian fantasy I ever read as well. That also reminds me that I need to read it again very soon, because I love it. Here’s the blurb from Goodreads:

Since childhood, Sabriel has lived outside the walls of the Old Kingdom, away from the power of Free Magic, and away from the Dead who refuse to stay dead. But now her father, the Mage Abhorson, is missing, and Sabriel must cross into that world to find him. With Mogget, whose feline form hides a powerful, perhaps malevolent spirit, and Touchstone, a young Charter Mage, Sabriel travels deep into the Old Kingdom. There she confronts an evil that threatens much more than her life and comes face to face with her own hidden destiny.


Here’s the cover it had when it was printed in 1995. Not very inspiring, right? We get a character that we can only tell is a girl because she’s got a hint of boobs, she’s wearing a very unattractive overcoat with a bandolier of – wait, what is that? Bells? That’s right, enchanted bells play an enormous part in this book. AWESOME! And that black thing behind her? That’s Kerrigor, a Very Bad Guy. Scary!


The left cover is the 2001 version from Allen and Unwin, which, from what I can remember, was like a re-launch or something. Suddenly these books exploded all over Australia. That’s a charter mark, by the way, if you haven’t read the books. The cover on the right is the hardcover version from 2004. It shows Mogget the white cat and some of the bells, and a hint of moon. Pretty, but not pick-up-able.


The cover on the left is the version I have, and is the CollinsVoyager 2004 print run. It’s SO pretty. Especially with the matching covers from the other two book from the trilogy, Lirael and Abhorson. The middle cover is also from 2004, from Eos, and the cover on the right is from 2008, by HarperTeen. I really like the simplicity and the gender-neutrality of these covers.  It encourages boys as well as girls to read it.


This is the 2007 Italian cover, the 2009 Indonesian cover and the 2006 Russian cover. The Italian cover fails in my opinion, because it’s just too busy. it’s got the image at the bottom of the cover, the charter mark, the blue band across the top and then the author’s name and title in a random artwork that is meant to look like parchment? I don’t like it. However, I LOVE the Indonesian and Russian covers. The Indonesian cover has a touch of anime to it, while the Russian cover looks dark and intimidating. I can’t offer a translation for the Russian cover, sorry.


Here we have two French covers from 2009 and 2003, and a Portuguese cover from 2002. I really love the 2009 French cover. It’s absolutely gorgeous. Action-packed, Mogget cameos, the charter mark is there and it’s set in the snow, which is one of the more memorable scenes I can think of. I don’t like the 2003 version. Sabriel looks like a child, and she’s eighteen. The Portuguese cover is awesome, Sabriel looks totally bad-ass. It translates to The Mission Sabriel according to Google Translate.


Last, but not least, is the 2002 version by German publisher Heyne. Although this cover is totally gorgeous, with the purple border around the man with a sword in a blood-red cloak, it’s also just totally fail. The title translates to The Seventh Gate (which is important in the book) and the figure is clearly Sabriel’s dad, who has a very small role. This stands out because it doesn’t have Sabriel on it, and I wonder why they decided on this artwork. Did someone screw up the memo to the art department? The book is about a teenage girl, not a man.

What are your thoughts?

Which covers do you like? Which do you hate?

Check back at The Reading Fever for her Foreign Cover Friday!


6 thoughts on “Foreign Cover Friday: Sabriel by Garth Nix

  1. Archer says:

    yowza, I really like the 2009 French cover and the 2006 Russian cover. I have the 2004 Harper Teen one. It’s the one that was first printed in the UK as far as I can remember


  2. Emilia_Quill says:

    I love the 2002 Portugese cover, like you say she look badass. Oh and I want her clothes from that cover.
    Love the CollinsVoyager 2004 and the 2006 Russian cover as well, I like the fire in both and the 2004 is pretty. The Russian is dark and dramatic.

    Thank you for the blurb, I’ll have to buy it 🙂


  3. Penelope says:

    Ooh, these are good! While I haven’t read the book, it looks very adventurous.

    I really like the CollinsVoyager 2004 cover, and the 2009 French cover. I clicked through, and they look awesome full-sized! I definitely would have picked those two up. I also liked the 2003 French cover until you mention her age…the girl definitely looks to young. Don’t really like the first cover either.

    Great pick! Thanks so much for participating! 🙂


Comments are closed.