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The Obernewtyn Chronicles

The Obernewtyn Chronicles is an eight book YA fantasy/sci-fi series by Australian author Isobelle Carmody.

For the purposes of this review, I’ll only be reviewing Obernewtyn, the first book, so no worries about spoilers!

The sequence goes as such:
#1: Obernewtyn
#2: The Farseekers
#3 and #4: The Rebellion - omnibus featuring both Ashling and The Keeping Place
#5 and #6: The Dreamtrails – omnibus featuring both Wavesong and The Stone Key
#7: The Sending – not yet available in the USA as far as I can see
#8: The Red Queen – also not available in the USA yet, according to my investigation

Now for the synopsis for the first book:

Since the Great White, an apocalyptic event that killed most people and contaminated large portions of the Earth, a new society has emerged. It’s strict and harsh, careful to avoid any future likelihood of something like that happening again.

A big threat to the world’s safety, believed by the governmental group that formed over the years, is a genetic anomaly they call Misfits.

Misfits are born, or occasionally mutated later on, with abilities outside the norm. This is believed to be associated with the Great White – but it is not accepted. They are burned, executed. Or, in rare cases, sent to Obernewtyn – a compound far away from the rest of society where others burdened with abilities are exiled.

Espeth Gordie is a Misfit, but she’s been hiding it her whole life. Her parents were killed, suspected of being supporters of something other than the governing faction, so she is also an orphan – making her life even more isolated and wrecked with danger and threat of exposure.

She has mental abilities that range from being able to peer in on other’s thoughts to communicating with animals. So when she is found out and exiled to Obernewtyn she finds that she may be out of her depth – and that the rumors are true… she’ll never leave Obernewtyn.

But despite everything, there is a comfort in being around others that have powers. That is, until she realizes that someone at Obernewtyn has an agenda that will harm them all. And possibly damage the flawed but relatively stable survival the human race has hobbled together since the Great White.

Does Elspeth have a destiny to stop them?

That’s the general plot for the first book, without giving too much away.

Elspeth is a likable heroine with cool abilities – I, being an animal lover, loved her connection and caring for animals. The story itself has an intriguing premise and a wide-reaching history and mythology that this first novel only barely taps into – but at times I felt the book was bogged down by details.

Obernewtyn was, honestly, a little slower than I’d like, though I did like everything from the premise to the characters to the environment. It has some excellent, unexpected twists later on and a building plot with affective, heartbreaking sacrifices that deepen the character development and investment in the book.

I wished I could get into it more than I did. It is truly a thought-provoking novel, and I have a feeling the series might get better with each successive book. Thing is, since Obernewtyn didn’t blow me away (which I kinda needed after the relative disaster that was 172 Hours on the Moon), I’m not going to be able to invest as many hours of time that would be needed to read the other five books I have in the series. I want to when I have more time though. Because I think there’s a lot of potential here.

Anyway, my point is: if you have the time, and fantasy/sci-fi is your genre, I encourage you to check out this series. It seems to be quite popular – and I’d love to get your feedback on it!

See ya on Monday!

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