Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody



Title: Obernewtyn
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian author, Dystopia, High fantasy, Science fiction
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 1987
5th sentence, 74th page: I supposed these must serve the favoured Misfits, outside helpers and guardians, not to mention the Doctor and Madam Vega.

Buy The Book Now at The Book Depository, Free Delivery World Wide Synopsis

In my dream I was somewhere cold and darkly quiet. I could hear water dripping and I was afraid, though I did not know why. In the distance there was a bright flash of light. A high-pitched whining noise filled the air like a scream, but no one could scream for so long without stopping to breathe.

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilised or burned if discovered, it is also dangerous. There is only survival by secrecy, and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative, and their use inevitably brings her to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the land.

Sent to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn where escape is impossible, she must throw off her safe cloak of concealment and pit herself against those who would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse.

Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is…


I first read this book when I was twelve years old – and I’m rereading the series (since the final book was released late last year!) and I’ve honestly loved it ever since. Not only are the characters beautiful and relatable, the prose masterfully written and the settings so vivid that I can see them every time I close my eyes, the journey of young adolescent in fear for her life to young woman in control and strong is such a fantastic coming of age story.

One of the things that first struck me about this series was the realism of the post-apocalyptic setting. Carmody artfully created a world that was so similar to our own that we couldn’t help but feel connected, but was so different, that you could understand how our actions of today could have disastrous affects for generations to come. This book (and the subsequent books) are probably the most literarily powerful reminder to me that our actions will have lasting impacts. And that we have to take care of our planet if we want our children’s children’s children to live happy, healthy and fulfilled lives.

This book was such a nice, and gentle introduction into what I thought was an overarching theme throughout the story – people’s greed and general suckiness can seriously degrade and destroy all of our futures. It was also just generally sweet and open. Elspeth is, again, one of my favourite characters in literature. Her strength and innocence shine through the pages and even though this innocence is eventually destroyed, her ability to hope for a brighter future is just inspiring. As is the fact that a literal Misfit can find a place to call home – something that I think we all want to find.

<- The Dark Road Review The Farseekers Review ->
Image source: Penguin Books

Book Review

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