I don’t often read historical fiction, it’s not a genre that I’ve ever been exposed to. But, when I met Wendy through Swinburne University and decided to read her book… just wow, wow. I’ve never read such a heart-rending and fascinating story. The fact that it is based upon something that truly happened just made every moment of tragedy and triumph all the more powerful and poignant.
To me, Abhorsen is all about duty and honour; it’s importance and how difficult it can truly be to pursue such a calling in life. Saving the world from certain doom is a great calling, if you are not the one who has to shoulder that responsibility. Lirael grabs this responsibility and her birthright with both hands and clings on. The way that she takes on a world of pain and obligation that she never thought was hers is inspiring and beautiful. It is a great reminder of the ways in which we should all grow a backbone and take charge of our own lives and destinies.
Lirael has long been one of my favourite literary heroines. She doesn’t quite fit in with her family, is immensely insecure, and is seriously struggling to find her place in life. Her multi-layered creation and the vulnerability in her tale pulls at the heart strings, and makes her all the more relatable to everyone who has struggled to find their place in life. From their teens to adulthood.
I love that this is a series about necromancers – it is different and unique in a way that no other series I have read is. The binary distinction between life and death is echoed in the wall between ‘The Old Kingdom’ and ‘Ancelstierre’. The anti-necromancer, or Abhorsen, just made the entire tale all the more entrancing – partner this with beautiful writing and an entrancing storyline, and I dare you not to fall in love with Sabriel.
This is my least favourite of the Obernewtyn Chronicles – it is the slowest of the stories and very, very detail oriented. Not that this is a bad thing, but I like to be swept along with the story so that I forget that I’ve spent three hours reading instead of doing some responsible adult act. Having said that, this detail-oriented approach is so important to make sure that the rest of the story is understandable. When playing with fate and prophecies, it is incredibly important to set up the storyline – every single detail has a great significance that can only rear its head books after it has been set up.
The Keeping Place is so far one of my favourite books in the Obernewtyn Chronicles. It takes the fast pace and the storyline from the first three books, but combines it with a rebellion and the blooming of love. Elspeth’s journey takes further steps towards their final end as she uncovers another clue in her ultimate quest. This, combined with war, betrayal and kidnapping just made this book a huge page turner for me.
I thought that Ashling was the book where The Obernewtyn Chronicles really found their pace. Elspeth’s quest begins to gain traction, alongside the Misfits journey to acceptance. The parallel tales of the two missions begin to really make sense and it is easy to understand how Elspeth’s fate is intertwined with the fate of all of Obernewtyn (and indeed, the world).
I didn’t know that there was a second Obernewtyn book until I stumbled on it a few years after reading the first. I had always felt like Obernewtyn was well finished. So, The Farseekers did feel a little like an after-thought sequel. But, that didn’t detract from its brilliance and value in any way, shape or form. This book built on a world that I had really and thoroughly enjoyed in Obernewtyn, and further immersed and sucked me in to a new, dystopian reality.
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.
I thought that Akarnae was good, but I couldn’t put Raelia down! My poor partner was forced to deal with a book faced girlfriend for the ten or so hours that it took to read this. He was so frustrated that he offered to through this amazing book in the bin. So needless to say, it is one of my new favourite books. I mean, you know a book is fantastic when someone can’t put it down and completely ignores their entire family for a whole day (alright, I do this often, but still...)