Sabriel is an eighteen-year-old necromancer. Yes, Necromancer, as in she can go into Death and bring dead things out.... or send the undead back in.
She goes to Wyverly college, and everything is just fine until he finds out from an undead messenger that her father is actually in Death and imprisoned there. So, naturally, she goes out to try and save him.
Her first stop is at their old house, where she meets a cat-who-is-actually-a-Free-magic-creature called Mogget. Free magic creatures are basically evil things created by evil magic and the only reason Mogget is not killing her is because he is imprisoned by a magic collar. Is it strange that a talking, possibly-evil, sarcastic magic cat is my favourite character in this book? I just loved him. He reminded me a bit of Grimalkin in the Iron Fey series.
Then a little through the book they meet a wooden statue that is actually a frozen person. Sabriel goes to Death to find him, and it turns out that he has been frozen for 200+ years and can't remember anything, and calls himself Touchstone.
So these are our three heroes, who go against the forces of evil to try and rescue Sabriel's father and beat the most completely evil of all Free magic creatures called Kerrigor.
Now, more on the necromancy stuff. Sabriel has these six? seven? bells that have magic power and can do awesome stuff like send the Dead back into dead and make them talk (you try talking through a rotten, disgusting mouth) and stuff like that. She also has a magic sword, both gifts from her father, to help her and stuff.
Oh yeah, almost forgot to mention. Her father is a very respected kind of person called the Abhorsen, because he's a guy who sends the dead back to Death. And now Sabriel has got to take on that responsibility.
Garth Nix has imagined and portrayed Sabriel's world fantastically. Give this one a try.