Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody: Guest Review

Today, we welcome the indomitable Elspeth LaMorte to Imaginary Misadventure as she shouts about how everyone ought to fall into the emotional vortex of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, now that The Red Queen is finally here! 

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody (The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1)
Young adult: fantasy, adventure, post-apocalypse
First published 1987 (this edition 2007); Penguin Random House Australia
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For Elspeth Gordie freedom is-like so much else after the Great White-a memory. 

It was a time known as the Age of Chaos. In a final explosive flash everything was destroyed. The few who survived banded together and formed a Council for protection. But people like Elspeth-mysteriously born with powerful mental abilities-are feared by the Council and hunted down like animals...to be destroyed.

Her only hope for survival to is keep her power hidden. But is secrecy enough against the terrible power of the Council?


Today is the release day of a little book called The Red Queen by Australian fantasy extraordinaire Isobelle Carmody. And when I say 'little' I actually mean 'flipping massive'. Here are some images with attractive book model (me) for scale. Please note I have a big head.


The Red Queen is book number seven in a series called the Obernewtyn Chronicles, book one of which, Obernewtyn, was originally released in 1987. 1987. As in, twenty-eight years ago. Now... I am not 28, I'm 22, but my name is Elspeth and this is actually the series I was named for. I first read Obernewtyn when I was thirteen and I have been emotionally invested in the series ever since. At the time, only four books had been published, so I have been following the series for long enough that I can stress to you how painful the wait has been.

To give you some perspective; book four, The Keeping Place, was published in 1999, book five, the Stone Key, was published in 2009. That's ten years. Ten years that people had to wait for a book, so the fact that this book, is the final book in the series, that we finally have a conclusion.

A conclusion I haven't read... because I'm scared. Also I'm rereading the series so that it's all fresh in my mind when I do get to it. (And live tweeting it here)

So, some information to get you interested in the first book;



Obernewtyn, book one of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, is about young teenager Elspeth Gordie, who has grown up in an orphan home with her brother Jes, and has always known that there is something about her that is different. Elspeth can hear thoughts in the minds of others, she can communicate with animals; especially wild, maimed cat Maruman, who is her only friend, and she can influence the actions of those around her when she enters their minds. She lives in a post apocalyptic world that has been destroyed by a force known only as 'the Great White' and the very earth can be poisonous to them.

The story kicks off when a representative of the Obernewtyn Institute comes calling and chooses to take Elspeth back to the mountains where the staff of Obernewtyn are trying to find a cure for 'Misfits', that is; people who show strange abilities. These abilities are not discussed, and they are outright feared by the community and the religious authorities which is why Elspeth keeps herself hidden and withdrawn. Once she reaches Obernewtyn she begins to find people who are just like her and learns that things at Obernewtyn are not exactly as they seem.

The series takes place in the richly painted colours of a world that was once overrun by human destruction and reformed itself in destructions wake, and as Elspeth learns of the things in the world that were previously hidden to her, she learns things about her own future and her own destiny.

Now; I should warn you that the series gets a little... incoherent, I suppose, but only a little. Each book increases in size and though the later books in the series are quiet full of character and content, it is character and content that you have been introduced to as you go along. In your own time you will be able to pick which characters require the most attention (characters such as Elspeth, of course, Rushton, Matthew, Dragon, and several who you will meet eventually, never fear) and hopefully be as emotionally devastated as I am.

Come be emotionally devastated with me, but without the ten years of pining (or twenty-eight years... as some have suffered).

Obernewtyn is published by Penguin Random House Australia and the first book is also available as part of the Pink Popular Penguin range

Contributor
Elspeth LaMorte has been a misfit since she read a certain book as a child and decided that being a misfit was something to be proud of. She spends most of her time on Twitter shouting about books or complaining about assessments and is still entirely awkward when required to interact with people. She recently spend a brief period of time as a tiger and still growls at unsuspecting passers-by. Catch here on Twitter @elspethlamorte.
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