Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
When you put your mind to considering some of the greatest writers of the English language, it is a source of continuing pity that Isobelle Carmody’s name is not up there along with some of the greats like Tolkien, Lewis and Hemmingway. Though some of her work has been criticized, writing science fiction, fantasy, children’s and young adult literature, Carmody is probably most well known and praised for her work on the Obernewtyn Chronicles.
And for good reason; these books are a class above much else that I have ever read.
Started at the age of fourteen, Carmody continued to work on the books while completing a Bachelor of Arts, where she majored in literature and philosophy. But I’m not here to talk about Carmody’s personal life, but rather the first book in her Obernewtyn Chronicles series, aptly named, Obernewtyn.
Set many years into the future on a world that has been ravaged by a nuclear holocaust known as the Great White, Elspeth Gordie, an orphan, is found to have special powers. Not alone in this, she is quickly discovered and sent off to Obernewtyn, a councilfarm known to many as a place where people with her abilities go, but never return.
But Obernewtyn is definitely not what it seems, and Elspeth soon begins to plan an escape, for herself, and for her fellow Misfits, the name given to all those unlucky enough to have been affected by the Great White and developed mental powers.
Nothing as corny as being able to levitate a spoon with one’s mind is at play here. Carmody manages to – generally – expand upon current day gifts and talents, and give them a greater power.
But the rulers of Obernewtyn have other plans for the Misfits, in their attempt to find Beforetime weapons. Ruthless, quick to use and manipulate others – especially Misfits – and with no compunctions for doing so, these villains run havoc throughout the story.
Carmody uses a series of literary devices to enhance an already brilliant story. Carmody bastardizes words, giving the appearance that scraps of information have made it through from before the nuclear holocaust, but not the entirety. This idea, used most obviously for the language, is also put to use in the peoples knowledge of the world, and how their place in it.
Told from the perspective of Elspeth Gordie, the reader is quickly asked to become attached to the protagonist, and the horrors and suffering she must face. And Carmody deftly brings reader and character together; binding us together with writing that is sublime to read. It is not just the dangers that Elspeth encounters that engender her to the reader; Carmody’s ability to write well – a trait more often lacking than not – ensures that the reader is invested in Elspeth’s fate.
The first of a series, Obernewtyn almost doesn’t suffer from the quirks that an author’s early works can sometimes fall victim too. So passionate, skillful and clever, Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn is a pleasure to read, and one that belongs on any true readers shelf.
For more information on Isobelle Carmody and free downloads visit www.obernewtyn.net.
This Obernewtyn book review was written by Joshua S Hill
All reviews for: The Obernewtyn Chronicles
The Obernewtyn Chronicles: Book 1
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 w...
The Obernewtyn Chronicles: Book 6
The time has come at last for Elspeth Gordie to leave the Land on her quest to find and stop the computermachine Sentinel from unleashing the deadly Balance of Terror arsen...
Have you read Obernewtyn?
We've found that while readers like to know what we think of a book they find additional reader reviews a massive help in deciding if it is the right book for them. So if you have a spare moment, please tell us your thoughts by writing a reader's review. Thank you.
Obernewtyn reader reviews
Really good! You can completely relate to the character and the plot is unique. I would highly recomend this brilliant book!
Ryan from Newcastle, Australia
This was the first fantasy book I ever read, and after re-reading it last year it is still up there as one of my favourites. Despite being original marketed as young adult fantasy, the story resonates with me as an adult and I can't wait for the story to be completed later this year with The Sending.
Emma from Liverpool, UK
I'm giving this 9 rather than 10 out of 10 only because the sequels are so much better than the first book that I have to leave a star for them! Elspeth is a brilliant, well written and complex lead character, and the other characters are generally also superb. The plots are interesting and gripping, and always leave you desperate to read the next in the series. The Obernewtyn Chronicles are easily my favourite book series ever, and I think it's a real shame that Carmody isn't well known here in the UK. At least she gets the aclaim she deserves in her home country Australia.
9.3/10 from 4 reviews
Write a reader review
Thank you for taking the time to write a review on this book, it really makes a difference and helps readers to find their perfect book.
More recommended reading in this genre
Cirque du Freak
Darren Shan seems like your average boy--he likes playing football with his mates, passing notes in class and loves spiders. Then, one day, his best mate Steve gets tickets...
Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone out to make sure you don't live to see the morning? In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies t...
Ever since the floods came and washed the world away, survivors have been desperate to win a place on X Isle, the island where life is rumoured to be easier than on what...
The Testament of Jessie Lamb
Women are dying in their millions. Some blame scientists, some see the hand of God. As she watches her world collapsing, Jessie Lamb decides she wants to make her life coun...
The world outside has grown unkind, the view of it limited, talk of it forbidden. But there are always those who hope, who dream. These are the dangerous people, the people...
Shades of Grey
Hundreds of years in the future, after the Something that Happened, the world is an alarmingly different place. Life is lived according to The Rulebook and social hierarchy...
In a world where the undead outnumber the living, Moses Todd (the only recurring character from The Reapers are the Angles) roams the post-apocalyptic plains of America. Hi...
Benson Fisher escaped from Maxfield Academy’s deadly rules and brutal gangs. Or so he thought. But now Benson is trapped in a different kind of prison: a town filled ...
Twenty-five years ago the world changed forever. A great war, which had raged for three years ended, and the reign of the Demons began... Within the crumbling walls of Fire...
Ashley was just trying to get through a tough day when the world turned upside down. A terrifying virus appears, quickly becoming a pandemic that leaves its victims, not de...
The Dark and Hollow Places
There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister's face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of...
Benson Fisher thought a scholarship to Maxfield Academy would be the ticket out of his dead-end life. He was wrong. Now he’s trapped in a school that’s surround...
The Secret Book of Sacred Things
The coming of the Great Stone destroyed almost everything that used to be. But high in one remote valley, the Church of Selene has found its way back from ruin. Sister Luka...
Marianne de Pierres
The story follows follows Virgin Jackson, park ranger at one of the last remaining national parks in the world. Her boss has made her responsible for looking after U.S. Mar...
Richie Tankersley Cusick
Shop till you drop... dead. Trish has everything a girl wants; friends, a good mother and a job at the local mall's muffin shop, but that was until someone calls at her...
Looking for more suggestions? Try these pages: