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on November 4, 1999
Alright, this is a slight ** SPOILER ** so if you don't want to know what this is about, this is your chance to NOT READ THIS REVIEW!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .
That said, this was the first of Tanith Lee's books that I ever read. The setting is another world, Novo Mars, and the main character is a vampire. This is an incredibly well written book, with descriptions so lush and rich that you can feel them yourself. Tanith Lee's writing is seductive: you'll want to live in that big house on the plateau and listen to the music that Sabella puts into the tape deck, watch the dust dance in the air, pull the long blinds closed to blot out the sun, drink pomengranete (sp?) juice, bleach you hair and run wild at night with the young boys that can't say no to her exotic beauty, and discover what you REALLY are... Get this book if you can! A fabulous tale of love, lust, intrigue, and self-discovery. Amust for any fan of Tanith Lee, vampires, or science fiction tales.
There IS a reason Tanith Lee got nominated so many times for World Fantasy Awards... :)=
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on April 18, 2008
I think this is the best Tanith Lee I have read. Her recent ones set in Venice have been great--but for me Sabella is an absolute classic. It is beautifully and skillfully written, conveying the life of Novo Mars set within its other planetary environs through the eyes of Sabella, a most unique "vampire." Normally the apex predator, Sabella is herself made vulnerable, first to Sand who stalks her and then to Jace, who confronts her. It is really a remarkable and original take on a very old story.
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on June 22, 2002
I first read this eye-opener when I was fifteen. I agree this is a little difficult to get into, but after eight years and several Science Fiction / Fantasy authors (including Anne Rice) this is still my all-time favourite book to get lost in. Well worth the reading!
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on February 15, 2016
This is not my favorite of Tanith Lee's books, but it has her haunting flavor and rich descriptions, and a somewhat different take on vampires. Sabella lives on a planet that has been processed for humans to live on and the original inhabitants of Novo Mars are long gone, leaving only some relics behind. The planet is a mix of Earth animals and Novo Mars animals, including the red-eyes "wolves" who run in the wilderness. Sabella lives alone since the death of her mother and stays out of the sun (for obvious reasons). She is drawn from her seclusion and safety by the death of her aunt. She goes to the funeral and ends up being followed home by a handsome man named Sand and they, of course, get involved. We all know where that will end...

The story really starts here, when Jace, Sand's brother, comes looking for him. Will he uncover what Sabella really is? Will he believe it? Will he take revenge for his brother's death? What was Sabella's aunt up to when she left her money, especially considering she considered her niece to be damned. Just when you think you know what is going on and where it is heading, Lee unveils a couple of plot twists and an ending that is unexpected, if a bit too pat. But then this is a rather short book, more of a novella than a novel, and it would have worked better, I think, for it to be part of a collection of stories based on Novo Mars and not a stand-alone one. I was left wanting to know more about the original inhabitants...

This book is not nearly as good as Lee's Flat Earth series, but its still interesting. I find I prefer her out-and-out fantasy stories to her science-fiction ones.
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on June 26, 2013
How is this not yet a movie? And why can't we get it on Kindle...? Few books I have read cried out so clearly to be transferred onto film.... yet it has never happened. What a waste!

Sabella is the definitive sci-fi vampire classic. It is laden with Lee's usual rich and evocative imagery; she makes you see what she is talking about in your mind's-eye very clearly, no matter what the subject.

In this case, Mars has been colonized by humans long ago, and all of the original Martians have been dead for centuries. Or ARE they....? Lee borrows heavily from Bradbury's vision of Mars, and this is just all right with me. Does science fiction and vampirism sound like an odd mix to you? Lee makes it work perfectly.

For years afterward I looked for the proper materials to make my own Bloodstone necklace out of, but I could never find quite what I wanted. Sabella's [sparse] neighbors want to know what that girl who never comes out in the daytime and always wears dark glasses is REALLY up to, out there on the edge of town.... and about two sentences into this, you are going to want to know too. Enjoy this classic, because they don't make 'em like this any more. Five stars!
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on October 10, 2002
I ran across this book in an old book store and bought it mainly because the cover art was so interesting. I could not put this book down. I had never read anything so vivid and colorful. This is why I am a Tanith Lee fan. Sabella is an intriguing charactor and the environment that she lives in is just as intriguing. If you are looking for something fresh and different. If you love to let your imagination run WILD........ READ THIS ONE!!! It wont dissapoint you.
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on October 22, 2015
I read this back when you couldn't just go on Amazon and find it. Hundreds of used book stores around the country until I stumbled upon it. Worth every second of searching. I am a writer and can't even come up with words to paint Lee's evocative tale. The best vampire story I have ever read - a vampire tormented with a soul but not a vampire at all. Quite interesting, beautiful, and entertaining. I have read it at least a dozen times in the last two decades.
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on November 19, 2013
SPOILER ALERT
Beautiful writing, an interesting story, but the end was completely ruined for me when she finds god and assumes a submissive, child-like role in relation to her dominant male lover. Icky.
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on December 29, 2001
The writing is lush and seductive, but this really should have been a short story. The premise is interesting but not really interesting enough for a novella. The first 90 pages drag so much that I almost gave up a couple times. I have enjoyed many of Tanith's stories, but if you're looking for something that will keep you awake try _Tales from the Flat Earth_, they are my all time favorite fantasy novels. Much more plot per page and an originality that is simply mind-blowing.
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VINE VOICEon September 24, 2010
Sabella is the coming-of-age story of a confused young vampire on Novo Mars. Like many of Lee's books, this one is dream-like and full of supernatural eroticism.

Unfortunately, it is almost painfully slow and the first person narration was not very illuminating. I (finally) reached then end of the book and felt like I did not know the characters at all.
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