I got emailed my copy yesterday =D
Also reading:

Sabriel by: Garth Nix.
This book is the introduction to Garth Nix’s amazing world of “The Old Kingdom” and “Anclestierre” two countries that share and boarder and that’s about it. In Anclestierre, the southern of the two countries, the era is set to be the early 20th Century. Where as in the Old Kingdom the era is the middle ages, better known as the Dark Ages. Between the two countries is The Wall which which acts as a boarder between the two spreading from one coast to the other.
In the Old Kingdom there is the Charter, a type of magic accessible by pure living humans who have the knack for it, along with Free Magic beings of immense power, these beings are more Magic than a living being, and last of all in the Old Kingdom the main problem with magic is Necromancy. That which has passed from the living world into the River of Death can return to Life either under the control of a Necromancer or as one of the Lesser/Greater Dead. Necromancers are not ‘pure’, because they aim to control the spirits of the dead, as a result this makes them not completely living or dead so they cannot use The Charter. While in Anclestierre its the beginning of the technological boom of the 20th century, people are just beginning to have personal motorized vehicles (or cars) and electricity is still not a completely common thing. The oddities of the Old Kingdom are kept at bay by The Wall and a boarder guard on the Anclestierre side that is very strict.
The plot of the story revolves around Sabriel, a young woman of 18, who was born in the Old Kingdom to the “Abhorsen”, which is the embodiment of The Charter in a Necromancer (i know i said this cant happen but read further), this is possible because the job of the
Abhorsen is to send the dead back to the River of Death to pass beyond The Final Gate and experience the True Death, but when the story begins she is finishing up her last year at school in Anclestierre.
When a “Dead-Hand’ (a lesser dead bound to service of a Necromancer) makes it’s way 20 miles or so south of The Wall into the school Sabriel is attending, Sabriel enters death and finds that its is a messenger, from her father Abhorsen, sent to deliver: The Abhorsen’s Sword, the Bell’s of a Necromancer, the infamous Book of the Dead (a book that can only be opened by a Necromancer but can only be closed by a pure Charter Mage), and the knowledge that her father’s soul is somewhere beyond the First Gate of Death, while his body may still be among the living. Sabriel then heads out to cross The Wall back into the Old Kingdom and find her father before its too late. Along the way she gains a companion in a very curious small white cat that is actually an extremely ferocious Free Magic creature, who has been in the service of the Abhorsen for millenia, and is only kept subservient by an odd combination of Necromancy and Charter Magic.

Much more happens in the book, plus its only the first book in the: Abhorsen Trilogy, and the first book in the Old Kingdom Stories(which includes a compilation of short stories called Over the Wall and various other short story/novella additions, and next year the first full length book about The Old Kingdom, since The Abhorsen Trilogy, is coming out: The Lost Abhorsen)
(Supposedly there is a Sabriel movie in the makings also.)

One of my favorite authors and one of my favorite books.