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Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody

Genre: Young Adult, fantasy

Copyright: 1987 (re-issued: 2008)

Page: 246
Rating:Rating 4 Crowns
In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. And for Elspeth Gordie, it is also dangerous. That's because Elspeth has a secret: she is a Misfit, born with mysterious mental abilities that she must keep hidden under threat of death. And her worries only multiply when she is exiled to the mountain compound known as Obernewtyn, where—for all her talents—Elspeth may finally and truly be out of her depth. Then she learns she’s not the only one concealing secrets at Obernewtyn.
My copy of Obernewtyn doesn't look like the cover image to the left, mine is of an older printing, but Random House released the first 3 out of print volumes to coincide with the release of books 4-6 back in December of 2008. I like the new covers--they definitely fit the story better.

This first book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles is the shortest--the other five are all above 350 pages with Books 5 and 6 being over 500 pages each--but packs a lot of punch. Unlike with Fall of a Kingdom or Elske, Obernewtyn loves action. How could it not with coups, seditioners, rebellions and teenagers all thrown into the mix? Its not quite a non-stop thrill ride, but it can sometimes feel like it is.

Elspeth grows greatly, she's forced to by the religious zealots of the Council who fear her (and those like her) power, but never the less she grows beyond what I would have expected of her at first. She's definitely a reluctant hero archetype at first; she wants normal, wants to blend in and never noticed so that she can get away. Unfortunately she's too powerful, too untrained and willful to truly be the type of person she needs to be to be considered 'normal'. She tries though. I could feel her struggle to just lay low and let it all pass.

The cast of characters she meets is rather large, but the numbers dwindle as the adventure progresses and plots are made. Some of truly annoying, others I love immensely. I don't want to say who's who, since some of it can be considered a spoiler. Take a guess and I might tell you the truth!

The magic of the world is pretty basic--nothing too hard to grasp or comprehend--the peoples however are diverse and confusing if you don't keep close attention. The book originated from Australia (by an Australian writer) two decades ago. For the first half or so slang terms or idioms not familiar to American make no appearance. Somewhere after the middle though, when Elspeth begins meeting more people like herself and traveling beyond the lands she knows (which aren't that many to begin with) there's a slight shift in the narrative voice. Told from the first person POV of Elspeth throughout, I didn't expect for her 'tone' to change. It did however just enough to make me scratch my head at times.

My only regret is that the book is too short. Even though a lot of my questions are answered in later volumes, I still would have liked immediate gratification. Que Serra!
Duchess of the Dark


Blodeuedd said...

Sounds intersting, i will check those out :D

Anonymous said...

I read this just last week and had a great time with it! I have yet to read the next books though, but I know I really want to. I think your review really gives a portrait that is true to the book.I wish it was longer too!

Anonymous said...

"...immediate gratification."

Yep! I am so like that too!

Anonymous said...

Also, Lexie signature button's URL needs to be corrected. Sorry, but I like to know these things when it happens on my blog. ;)

Lexie said...

J.Kaye--d'oh! I thought I had saved the corrected html! thank you for pointing it out! I'll go and get that fixed up now...

ibeeeg said...

I am intrigued.
This book is going on my TBR list.