I really do love this series.
And this may be my favorite book in it.
The trip through death was fascinating and kind of terrifying. It was cool to see the parts we never did get to see in Sabriel.
The well sequence is one of those things that has continued to haunt me since the first time I read it, which was just after the book first came out, which was unfortunately awfully close to the release date of The Ring, which I saw in theatres. Between the two of them, I now harbor a life-long and completely unshakeable fear of wells and the terrifying ladies that live in them. (I didn't find the sequence quite as scary this time around, but I am saying this in the safety of full daylight, so it should probably be taken with a grain of salt.)
Touchstone and Sabriel's story was a bit more tightly written than I really wanted it to be. Since we know they are alive and get to see other parts of their journey, I would have liked to have seen a bit of them meeting up with the Clayr and Ellimere and hearing what was going on. Also, I was absolutely convinced they were dead on my first reading of the Prologue, and I was heartbroken.
I loved the epic ending with the bells and the binding. It just felt awesome to watch it all play out, and I teared up a bit in places. Like here:
"As I did then, so do I now," said the Disreputable Dog. "I am Kibeth, and I stand against you."
I remember being surprised about this revelation the first time I read this, which suggests I was kind of dumb, since it seemed pretty clearly telegraphed early on this read-through. Don't know if I was more trusting of Dog, less careful a reader, or if hindsight is really lending that much perspective.
Probably my favorite character from the entire series was Mogget. So the entire ending (even though even on my first read-through I definitely realized he had to be the eighth) felt amazing.
"Be free, Mogget!" shouted Sam, as he held a red collar high. "Choose well!"
"I am Yrael," it said, casting a hand out to throw a line of silver fire into the breaking spell-ring, its voice crackling with force. "I also stand against you."
Behind her, she heard Yrael speak, and Sabriel, and the brief chime of Belgaer, so strange after the massed song of all the bells, its single voice freeing Mogget from his millennia of servitude.
There was definite tearing through every portion of that. I am so happy to see him not only have a good ending, but to have it be one that was due to his own choices, and to watch him step up on several occasions and not be the coward he apparently was in the first battle.
I would have liked a more expansive (and less Nick-focused, although I adored seeing the Dog) Epilogue, but there is space for future stories there, and all in all I am very pleased with this one.