As with the books by Tamora Pierce I recently wrote about, these books are actually for a younger audience, and they feature young people on the verge of adulthood, their coming of age, and lots of adventures. What I love most about them are once again the female protagonists, their male supporters / fellow protagonists, and the not so stereotypical gender roles. And again, there is not only a token woman / token female warrior who is the exception to the rule, but there are several different women who fight, rule, go on adventures, have powers, show courage and so on. Girls are mentioned in passing to have been trained in sword fighting or hunting, so it seems to be common, which is still rare in fantasy.
The books are about a family of so-called Abhorsens, a kind of reverse necromancers: it's their job to make sure the dead stay dead, and to send the undead back into Death. Death is a kind of landscape for the Abhorsen, they can walk in Death, fight the undead or the evil necromancers there, and do so with the use of seven bells: Ranna, the Sleeper. Mosrael, the Waker. Kibeth, the Walker. Dyrim, the Speaker. Belgaer, the Thinker. Saraneth, the Binder. And Astarael, the Weeper.
The books are set in a parallel universe, the Old Kingdom being a place where magic is very much real and alive, and sharing a direct border with an alternate early 20th century England. The first book is about Sabriel:
Sabriel, daughter of the Abhorsen and herself the Abhorsen in waiting, is informed that her father is trapped in Death and needs to be saved. She sets out with the Abhorsen's sword and seven bells, starting in "our" world and crossing the wall to the Old Kingdom. She faces many dangers and has to fight for her life and the life of others, is joined by new friends and allies, and learns to fly a so called Paperwing - a kind of magic plane made from laminated paper (and magic). To use magic she can use so-called charter marks, which can be drawn or whistled, which is why I put musical note charms in the yarn. I also added a sword, seven bells which tinkle ever so softly, a key (which is the symbol of the Abhorsens), a cat (more on that in a minute), skulls, and a crown (can't tell you about that without spoilers). The yarn itself is mostly blue, with some black and white, as the traditional colours of the Abhorsens are blue and silver, and the Abhorsens all seem to have very black hair.
When Sabriel arrives at the house of the Abhorsens, she is greeted by a creature which usually takes the form of an arrogant cat. He is called Mogget, and he is lazy, sneering, likes fish, can be dangerous, and it's not really clear where his loyalties lie. Very interesting, and very well performed by Tim Curry - and he appears in the other books of the series, too, which made me very happy. And now you know why I put a cat charm in the Sabriel art yarn.
Mogget appears as a white cat with a read leather collar, with a miniature bell on it. So you can see immediately how I chose colours and add-ins for this yarn - I used red silk because leather wouldn't be flexible enough, and I put in more than one bell because of aesthetical reasons.
These yarns are not yet in the shop, but I hope to list them soon. In the meantime, check out the books ;-) The first is Sabriel, the second Lirael, and the third is Abhorsen. There is also a prequel (Clariel) which I can't tell you too much about, as I am still in the middle of it. I wondered whether it would be any good as the blurb seemed a little disappointing after the other three books, but it's very good so far!