Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody

For years Elspeth Gordie has kept a terrible secret, she is a Misfit and if she is discovered she will have to face the swift "justice" of the Council.  In a world tainted by the Great White, the ordinary people are protected at the expense of anyone who sows signs that they have been mutated by the tainted world that exists beyond the boundaries of their towns - and anyone who shows dissent is just as bad as these tainted souls.  After the death of her parents Elspeth and her brother Jes have become orphans, moving from home to home while they wait until they are old enough to gain their certificates and become part of adult society.  That goal is nearly in reach when Elspeth slips up and her status as a Misfit is revealed.

Sent to the mysterious Obernewtyn estate, Elspeth has no idea what to expect and soon finds herself over her head and caught up in a mystery.  There is a sinister force at work in the estate, and she finds herself hiding behind the faƧade of a dim witted girl to avoid the attention of the people who are in charge.  Her anxiety is heightened when she learns about the doctor and his experiments, his patients turning slowly into ghosts of their former selves while he is trying to "help" them.  But it is also a place of some safety, a place where Elspeth can start to make friends for the first time and allow those friendships to be in the open - but not everything is as it appears.  As Elspeth starts to peel back the layers of the mysteries of Obernewtyn she has no idea that she is on a collision course with a destiny only she can fulfil.

Obernewtyn is the first book in a series written by Australian author Isobelle Carmody - an author I was lucky enough to hear speak at a conference in Rotorua last year.  Without sharing her story too much (because it is her story to tell after all), Carmody is an example of a writer who has faced difficulties and challenges in her life but not let them stop her from pursuing a writing career.  I have not read any of her works before now because she is one of those authors who seems to be quite popular with a variety of readers and age groups, and I like to support new writers where possible.  After hearing her speak about her life and her writing I spoke to Isobelle Carmody and promised that I would read one of her books - and I have finally kept that promise and was not disappointed in any way shape or form!

Carmody has created a richly imagined world that sucks you in and keeps you in until you have finished your journey.  Elspeth is a complex character and because you see the world through her eyes you experience the journey with her - the secrets, the lies, the half-truths, the villains and the heroes.  It is mind-blowing to think that Carmody began writing this series when she was still a teenager, the depth and power of the characters voices seems well beyond the reach of the average teenager - but then again Carmody was not your average teenager.  I have already ordered the second book in the series so I can find out what happens next for Elspeth and her friends because this is a world I am not ready to leave yet!  A fantastic read for lovers of fantasy, adventure, and mystery set in a world that has been destroyed to the ground and raised back up again - returning from an apocalypse that has left the world scarred and more than a little corrupted.

If you like this book then try:

Reviewed by Brilla

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