Tag Archives: High Fantasy

Furies of Calderon by Jim Butcher

Overview
Furies of Calderon (Codex Alera, #1) by Jim Butcher

Title: Furies of Calderon
Author: Jim Butcher
Series: Codex Alera #1
Rating Out of 5: 4 (Really good read!)
My Bookshelves: High fantasy, Magic, Medieval fantasy
Dates read: 13th July – 7th August 2021
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Year: 2004
5th sentence, 74th page: Furystorms could be deadly to anyone caught out in the open.

Synopsis

FOR A THOUSAND YEARS, THE PEOPLES OF ALERA HAVE BEEN UNITED BY THEIR UNIQUE BOND WITH THE FURIES – ELEMENTALS OF EARTH, AIR, FIRE, WATER AND METAL. BUT THEIR WORLD IS CHANGING.

Deep in the Calderon Valley, young Tavi struggles with his lack of furycrafting. At fifteen, he has no wind fury to help him fly, no fire fury to light his lamps. And as the Alerans’ most savage enemy – the Marat – returns to the Valley, this weakness will seem more important than ever.

Amara is a spy, seeking intelligence on possible Marat traitors to the Crown. And when the Valley erupts into chaos – when rebels are with loyalists and furies clash with furies – Amara will find Tavi invaluable. His talents will outweigh any fury-born power – and could even turn the tides of war.

Thoughts

This is one of those beautifully complex and intricate story lines that will sweep you up from the very first moment. It was also completely different in tone from Butcher’s Dresden Files series. I had no idea what to expect when I opened that first page. But, wow, was I swept away.

All throughout this story, my thoughts constantly bounced to Oh Tavi, what trouble are you in now? It didn’t seem to matter the situation, that boy just seemed to bounce from one chaotic not so good moment to another. Which, of course, kept you turning the pages and wanting to know what was going to happen next.

It took me a little while to get my head around what Furies were. But, once I did, o really enjoyed the variety of powers that the different furies were able to provide to their people. I loved how it was almost a partnership of powers between element and human. One that drew on the strengths of both to enhance their natural powers.

I was so hopeful that the really horrifying bad guys would be dead at the end of this. Or at least, one of them would be. But, instead there is the beginning of a war on the horizon. Alright, I kind of knew that that was going to be the case because this is the first in a series… but I was still kind of hopeful. Yet, the brilliance of the villains is a huge part of why I will be looking forward to reading the next book in this series.

<- More Jim ButcherAcadem’s Fury ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Ill-Made Mute by Cecilia Dart-Thornton

Overview
Image result for book cover the ill-made mute

Title: The Ill-Made Mute
Author: Cecilia Dart-Thornton
Series: Bitterbynde #1
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian authors, Fae, High fantasy, Romance
Dates read: 8th – 22nd March 2020
Pace: Medium
Format: Novel
Publisher: Pan Books
Year: 2001
5th sentence, 74th page: This warmed their spirits somewhat, although not toward him.

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Synopsis

While the lordly Stormriders land their splendid winged stallions on the airy battlements of Isse Tower, far below them, in the fortress’s depths, their superstitious servants sit by the hearth to tell each other ghastly tales of evil creatures inhabiting the world outside – a world most of them have only glimpsed. Yet it is the least of these servants – a mute, lowly, utterly despised foundling – who dares to scale the Twoer, sneak aboard a Windship, and then dive from the sky.

The terrified fiugitive is rescued by a kindhearted adventurer, who finally gives the poor creature a name – as well as the gift of communicating by handspeak, and an amazing truth never guessed at previously. Now the newly named ‘Imrhien’ begins a journey to distant Caermelor, in search of a wise woman whose skills may change everything.

Along the way, Imrhien struggles in a wilderness of endless danger – for those hearthside tales are all true. Unhuman wights haunt every pool, every turn in the road, and they perpetually threaten and torment all travellers. Lost, and pursued by these monsters, Imrhien is finally saved by a mysterious Dainnan ranger whose gallantry and courage are matched only by his martial skills. Unknown to them both, however, a deadly plot is unfolding… as a dark force summons the malignant hordes of Unseelie, and foul things amass in the night.

As the journey grows longer, the challenges more deadly, Imrhien discovers something more terriyfing than all of the evil eldritch wights combined. For this spurned outsider, with an angel’s soul and a gargoyle’s face, is suddnely falling in love…

In a thrilling debut combining masterful storytelling with a treasure trove of folklore, Cecilia Dart-Thornton creates a lushly romantic epic adventure of stunning scope and magical proportions, set in a world brimming with wonders and terrors.

Thoughts

I’ve been putting off reading this because it just looked seriously intense. And a little bit scary. Which are the kinds of books that I’ve been avoiding lately. And now I kind of regret that. I wasn’t wrong. This was intense, and full on and so multi-layered that my head felt like it could explode. But it was also amazing, unforgettable and kind of impossible to not think about. Whilst there were moments when I could put it down. There weren’t many moments in the two-week period of my reading that I actually stopped thinking about it…

One of my favourite things about this book was the world building. It was done in an incredibly unique way. Rather than the typical world building were facts are provided as the character travels through the world, the history, facts and shape of the world is provided as a series of stories and anecdotes told by the characters. To the amnesic lead. I loved flicking between what was currently happening and all of the tales being told by the supporting characters, there was something fun and unique about the way in which this was done. Although, it did mean that I had to pay attention – that way I knew who was talking about what.

Although Imrhien does have a romantic interest in this story (eventually), it’s not a heavy-handed romance. I can see where this story can go with that feeling of interest, and I can’t wait. But it’s not like the many other romances that I’ve been reading lately. Which was nice. This actually was a great book to read – it reminded me of all the reasons why I love fantasy so much. I’ve been on a fair bit of a romance kick lately…

The use of another language, the fae and the more traditional outlooks on them was absolutely brilliant. I get a bit fed up with the Peter Pan version of fae… so I love any book that sticks to the more Celtic, pagan views. And I can’t wait to find out more about this world and the past of Imrhien – I can only imagine that it is going to continue getting better and better as the next two books unfold!

 <- The Enchanted ReviewThe Lady of Sorrows Review ->

Image source: Goodreads

The Red Queen by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

The Red QueenTitle: The Red Queen
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #7
Rating Out of 5: 3 (On the fence about this one)
My Bookshelves: Australian author, Dystopia, High fantasy, Science fiction
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2015
5th sentence, 74th page: When the govamen signals God that the world is clean, the Tumen will open the wall.

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Synopsis

I saw the moon crack and open like an egg, and a seethe of transparent beasts emerged…
I heard a sound like thunder inside the earth and the ground shook and broke open like a vast stony maw. It spat out fire and I saw wolves falling into a molten gold stream…
I made my way along the ancient tunnel, following Maruman, who ran lightly ahead of me. I did not ask how he had come to be here. He was the Moonwatcher as I was the Seeker.

This was where we had been destined to come together. Before Elspeth Gordie can continue her journey to find Sentinel and prevent it unleashing the horrors of the Great White, she must fight free of a strange prison, where people are laid to sleep forever or cling to a suffocating existence, believing the world beyond their walls is already utterly anihilated.

But at the end of her journey, nothing is as she imageind. She is drawn into the struggle for a kingdom, only to find the Destrooyer is at the heart of the turmoil, waiting for her.

Somehow she must do what she has sworn to do, for the sake of the world and all of its creatures. She must complete her quest, no matter what it costs…

Thoughts

I finally finished the series! Not only was this one of those series that was a long time in the making (and completion), but it was also one of those series that I bought the last book, and then left it on my shelf for 2 years. Partly because I wanted to reread the entire thing before I put my hands on the final book, but it’s a fairly complex and convoluted series all up. And, quite honestly the last two books kind of drag for me. To the point that I actually skim read The Red Queen. It was okay, but it wasn’t enough to fully draw me into the story and make me just completely digest and absorb every single word.

I liked that this was the complete conclusion to this series. It was the end of Elspeth’s long journey, and the end of an era of my literary life. (I can remember reading Obernewtyn when I was much younger, and it was part of growing up for me). However, I found a lot of the storyline quite distracting and not as concise as the first half of the series. Mostly I got lost in the storyline. Still amazingly written, but not as captivating as some of the past stories.

All in all, I’m glad that I read this. It made me feel satisfied that I finally finished a series I started long ago. But, it’s probably not one that I would read again in a hurry. There are many other books that I would much rather drown myself in.

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

The Sending by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

The SendingTitle: The Sending
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #6
Rating Out of 5: 4.5 (Amazing, but not quite perfect)
My Bookshelves: Australian author, Dystopia, High fantasy, Science fiction
Pace: Slow
Format: Novel
Publisher: Penguin Books
Year: 2011
5th sentence, 74th page: The futureteller nodded composedly and said there were other gifts.

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Synopsis

It came to me then, like a chilly draught from an unseen gap, that I had always known in my deepest heart that it would be like this, a slipping away froma life full of people I had come to love, in a place I had helped to shape, in a land I had helped to free.

The time has come at Elspeth Gordie to leave the Land on her quest to find and stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing the deadly Balance of Terror arsenal. But before she can embark on her journey, she must find a lost key. And although she has long prepared for this day, nothing is as she anticipated.

Elspeth’s search will take her where she never thought to go, and bestow upon her stranger companions than any she ever imagined. It will lead her far from her destination to those she believed lost forever.

And it will test her, as she has never been tested before…

Thoughts

Finishing this book has been a long time coming. I started rereading the series when The Red Queen came out, and I hadn’t ever quite gotten to The Sending. Over two years later, I finally managed to find the time to actually sit down and read this story. It is intense and quite a long haul, but it is most certainly worth the time and brain power that I put into it. It is going to take me quite a while to finish The Red Queen as well, over a month (much like The Sending), but it is an epic journey, and sometimes spending the time to take an epic journey is definitely worthwhile.

Up until this moment in the series, Elspeth’s journey has been about finding the clues, but also helping her fellow Misfits. She’s created a home, a life, and a reality in which she is proud to live and love. Yet, there is a constant looming cloud of her upcoming quest. Finally, the moment has arrived, and as with every moment in this series, there are some fantastic conflicting emotions throughout. Yet, that is only the start of the story, really. Although Elspeth slinks away in the  night, she still manages to find herself some unlikely companions. Ones that will make the rest of the battle throughout The Red Queen all the more interesting.

As much as I loved this story, I did find it quite long winded. I think that’s because it is almost a midway point between Elspeth’s life in the Land and the end of her epic quest. There is a lot of setting up throughout this story, and a lot of moving from one point to another. Yet, the actual action is quite light. Especially in comparison to the first five stories. Yet, although it means that I took a lot longer to read this (it was easier to put down), it was still a great tale. One that I truly can’t wait to read the conclusion to.

<- The Stone Key Review The Red Queen Review ->
Image source: Goodreads

The Dark Road by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

The Dark RoadTitle: The Dark Road
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #0.5
In: Legends of Australian Fantasy (Jack Dann & Jonathan Strahan)
Rating Out of 5: 5 (I will read this again and again and again)
My Bookshelves: Australian author, Dystopia, High fantasy, Science fiction
Pace: Fast
Format: Novella
Publisher: Harper Collins Australia
Year: 2010
5th sentence, 74th page: So she got out her blue mug.

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Synopsis

A one-eyed cat weaves its way through Hannah’s dreams, beckoning her up high mountains where she must walk the dark road. Her pilgrimage will take her through desert dunes, and deep into the strange recesses of long-hidden memories. Guided only by an old letter and her psychic intuition, Hannah’s journey will test her ageing limbs, as she carries the weight of her mother’s prophecy to her salvation, or peril …

Thoughts

Strictly speaking, it’s not necessary to read this short story before you read the Obernewtyn Chronicles. Actually, it’s not even necessary at any point throughout the reading of the series. but, if you are like me and can’t quite get enough of the series, then this is definitely worth a read. It tells the tale of the days when Cassandra was first foretelling the coming of the Seeker and how Hannah worked into this story. It’s a great background read.

The thing that I loved most of this short story was the voice that told it. Hannah’s daughter fills in so many missing gaps of the past age, yet it is her elderly acceptance of such a moment that is truly beautiful. The vivid descriptions of her journey and the sense of mystery throughout are so indicative of Carmody’s style of writing that it is impossible to stop reading this tale once you have started.

 <- The Red Queen Review Obernewtyn Review ->
Image source: Booktopia

The Stone Key by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

The Stone Key

Title: The Stone Key
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #5
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: 2008
5th sentence, 74th page: He knew as well as I did that the delicious, sweet, brown powder was both scarce and violently expensive now that Sadorian ships no longer put in at Sutrium.

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Synopsis

There was a great crash and wood splintered… I had a brief glimpse of a group of Herder priests, bald and robed, peering at me, and then the sundered remnants of the locker door were torn aside and a rough hand reached in to haul me out by the hair. A Hedra captain stared into my face with eyes that burned with a fanatical fire above a thin nose and a lipless slash of a mouth…

‘You will die in great pain and very slowly, mutant,’ said the Hedra master.

When Farseeker Guildmistress Elspeth Gordie sets out from Obernewtyn to travel to Sutrium at the end of Wintertime, she quickly learns that not everyone welcomes the changes brought about by the rebellion. Captured by an old and vicious enemy, she is drawn deep into the heart of the Herder Faction, where she learns of a terrible plot to destroy the west coast.

To stop it, Elspeth must risk everything, knowing that if she dies, she will never complete her quest to find the weaponmachines that destroyed the Beforetime.

But is she succeeds, her journey will lead her to the last of the signs left for her by the seer Kasanda…

Thoughts

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.

There are two aspects of this story that I love though, the idea of tearing down a religious dogma and that of our potential for future medical treatment. The technology that Carmody describes when treating one of the sick characters is so plausible, that I’m kind of surprised we don’t have it already. It is so easy to imagine having that kind of technology within the next 10 years and using it in much the same way to cure infectious diseases. And then there’s destroying a harmful religious dogma. I’ve often believed that people take religions to twist the mass population to their own needs. And, bringing down such a group is possibly my favourite part of the whole story – tearing down this source of evil is fantastic.

Ariel returns to the forefront of the story in The Stone Key. The combination of his manipulative powers and inability to empathise with others creates a truly spine tingling antagonist. For me, he is the very embodiment of what it means to be malicious and evil. A lot of villains are the ‘bad guys’ because of some misguided urge, or inability to control their urges. But it is often possible to see how their past has shaped who they are, but Ariel? There is nothing in his past that highlights his need to intentionally harm others. Although, Carmody implies throughout her writing that he is actually defective and this is the cause of his wrongness.

<- The Keeping Place Review The Sending Review ->
Image source: Penguin

The Keeping Place by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

The Keeping Place

Title: The Keeping Place
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #4
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: 1999
5th sentence, 74th page: Ceirwan went to take her by the hands.

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Synopsis

‘Look out,’ I screamed. The flying creature lashed out and I stared in horror at Rushton’s bloodied arm. Maruman leapt between us in his tyger form. ‘Let me go to him!’ I screamed.

‘He is in a dream but the beast is not. It comes! Wake!’

After a kidnapping, Elspeth Gordie and the Misfits are forced to join the rebellion against the oppressive Council, using their extraordinary mind powers. But Elspeth must also seek out clues left by the long-dead seer, Kasanda, vital to her quest to destroy the Beforetime weaponmachines. One clue is lost in the past, forcing Elspeth to travel the Dreamtrails, stalked by a terrifying winged beast, with the cat, Maruman, as her guide and guardian. Only there can she learn more of the Beforetimer Misfits and their enemy, Govamen.

Gradually, Elspeth realises her quest is intimately linked to the Misfits’ refuge, Obernewtyn – its past and its future…

Thoughts

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 love that in The Keeping Place, Misfits finally start to find their place in the world. With the rise of the rebellion and their decision to pursue peace, inspired by their trip in Ashling, they not only find a way to fit into the world. But a way to fruitfully exist within it. When I first read this as an awkward teen, it made me feel like I too could find a place to belong. And not only that, I could find a way to belong in a world that can be especially cruel without being cruel in return. It’s a lesson that I have taken to heart, and tried my best to maintain. I get to belong in the world, and I spend every day trying to do so in a way that has peace and love at the heart of all of my actions.

The other reason that I love this book is that you are finally able to begin to uncover some of Dragon’s past. Her inability to remember a traumatic history really resonated with me. Being unable to remember the bad parts to the point that it begins to leak into reality is something that resonates throughout many people’s lives. But, I think that’s it’s something we all must do – deal with our past and learn to move on from it. Without doing so, it is incredibly difficult to fully embrace life, at least for me.

<- Ashling Review The Stone Key Review ->
mage source: Wikipedia

Ashling by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

Ashling

Title: Ashling
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #3
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: 1995
5th sentence, 74th page: Dragon froze, blue eyes livid with fear.

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Synopsis

Sometimes dreams were gateways through which messages might come. Beasts called them ashlings: dreams that called…

The powerful farseeker Elspeth Gordie is sent to Sutrium, seat of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land, to seal an alliance between the secret Misfit community at Obernewtyn and rebel forces.

She travels from the mountains reluctantly, for at any moment the long-awaited summons may come from the oldOnes to find and destroy the dormant weaponmachines left by the Beforetimers. The journey takes her far beyond the borders of the Land, across the sea and into the heart of the mysterious desert region of Sador. Here she discovers that she will need help to destroy the weaponmachines.

But before her dark quest can begin, Elspeth must learn the truth of her dreams: she must understand why the Beforetimers destroyed their world…

Thoughts

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).

Not only did the storyline become a lot more complex and intricate, and very quickly, the cast was expanded in the first few chapters. But that’s great, because it gave me so many more people to love and hope for. It did take a lot more concentration to read though than the first two books in the series. I wouldn’t recommend reading Ashling if you are studying for an exam or trying to write an essay – it’s just WAY too difficult to keep track of everything and be productive in your own life. At least for me, anyway.

I loved the change of scenery in this book – it honestly took my breath away. Or at least, the way I imagined it made me wistful for a country and world that I have never had the pleasure of seeing. Carmody’s words and descriptions were just so stunning and masterfully written that the Sadorian desert became a very realistic destination. Which, after all, is really what you want in a good book. Or at least, it’s one of the things that I really enjoy.

There’s so much to love about this book, but for me, the best part was how Carmody used the Misfits and the Rebels to highlight two very different realities. The peaceful Misfits are about life, love and peace, but the Rebels on the otherhand were far more violent and, for me, much harder to connect with. The juxtaposition between the two groups really reminded me of the fact that “The pen is mightier than the sword.”

<- The Farseekers Review The Keeping Place Review ->
Image source: Penguins Books

The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

The Farseekers

Title: The Farseekers
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #2
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: 1990
5th sentence, 74th page: Then he gaped, seeing the robed man.

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Synopsis

I sensed a ripple in the fabric of the cat’s unconscious mind. i knew I was inside his dreams. I went deeper still. I whispered his name…

Since their takeover of Obernewtyn, the secret community of Misfits has flourished, protected by their remoteness. Believing they have time to marshal new forces before the inevitable confrontation with the totalitarian Council, they work hard to develop their forbidden mental abilities. But in the midst of plans to rescue a powerful Misfit in a distant part of the Land, it is foreseen by a futureteller that the fate of Obernewtyn is inextricably bound up in their quest.

Led by Elspeth Gordie, whose extraordinary powers set her apart even among her Misfit friends, the expedition sets out. Only she knows the enormity of their task. but for her there is yet another challenge as she must fulfil her vow to find and dismantle the dormant deathweapons left by the Beforetimers.

Thoughts

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.

Not only did Carmody build on a pre-loved world, she also played with ideas of destiny and fate. I love the idea that there is something in this world that we are meant to do, meant to accomplish. Although, I don’t like the idea that we are not able to affect our own future – who wants to live a life where you are no more able to change your course than a leaf blowing on the wind? But placing a protagonist like Elspeth as the receiver of such an important and key fate was brilliant. Yes, she has this incredible fate, but she chooses to fight for things in the moment. The future is the future and Elspeth pursues that which is happening right now. The crossover between being master of her own reality, and a pawn in the great scheme of things was really nicely done and very much appreciated.

Carmody’s creation of the different guilds within the misfit community was very well done. Her use of a combination of entirely made up, and modern words made sure that I knew what each guild did from their first mention. It was just yet another reminder of Carmody’s ability to mix our modern reality with a future one. But, the part that I enjoy the most is that it has elements of the past – or at least the past how I imagine it. The burning of seditioners, the over-arching power of one religious faction and a group of elite in power are all entirely plausible aspects of a not-so-pleasant future, but they are also aspects of our own pasts.

The Farseekers was a great story all on its own, but it was an even better bridge and introduction to the challenges that would be faced throughout the rest of the Obernewtyn Chronicles.

<- Obernewtyn Review Ashling Review ->
Image source: Wikipedia

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody

Overview

Obernewtyn

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.

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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…

Thoughts

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