The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody


Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn is the first book in one of my all time favorite fantasy series. I believe it was originally published in 1987 for children or young adults, but it can certainly be read and enjoyed by adults as well. The fourth and most recent book, The Keeping Place was published in Australia in 1999 and as far as I know, has not yet been published in the United States. After I finished Obernewtyn and The Farseekers and Ashling, I could barely stand to wait until I could get my hands on the next book because . . . it was like reading about . . .  friends. At least the kind of friends that you can get when an author has created that exceptional work which captures your imagination and leaves you eagerly flipping each page, and yet hoping you’ll never finish.  Maybe that’s my inner geek talking, but a few of my favorite books are the ones which I love to read because I simply love reading about the characters and not necessarily what happens to them. Luckily, in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, A LOT happens, and the characters that are so enjoyable to read about rarely have a dull moment.

From the back cover:

Elspeth Gordie is a Misfit. Raised in orphanages for most of her life, desperate to receive her certificate of normalcy, her only chance at survival is secrecy, and she vows never to use her mental powers. But her abilities seem to have an imperative of their own, and soon she comes to the attention of the fanatically religious Council, which condemns people of Elspeth’s talents.

Unaware of the extent of her powers, the Council sends Elspeth to the remote mountain estate of Obernewtyn, where escape is impossible. Once there, Elspeth must come to terms with her abilities and throw off her safe cloak of concealment- for there are not only friends but enemies at Obernewtyn, evil people who intend to use the Misfits’ mental abilities to resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse known as the Great White.

Only then will Elspeth learn what she is, and the destiny she must survive to fulfill . . .

I’m rather glad I didn’t start reading this series when it was first published because the fifth and, at that time, final book in the series, The Sending, had been pushed back year after year. It’s been incredibly difficult waiting all this time to see how the series concludes . . . I’ve actually lost track- Four years? Five? Regardless, I really sympathize with those fans out there who’ve waited close to twenty years to finish out this series. Up until recently, it was my understanding that Penguin books didn’t even have any idea when The Sending would be published, if ever. Luckily, that seems to have changed.


I occasionally lurk over at Carmody Online, home of some of the most dedicated Isobelle Carmody fans out there. While stopping by recently, I discovered that Penguin may actually publish the fifth book, now called The Stone Key, sometime after September, but before the end of December 2007. The sixth and now final book (Carmody apparently had too much to finish up in one book so made it into two), The Sending, will hopefully be published in 2008. I’ll be keeping my fingers crossed, but the fact that they have a cover, or at least an initial cover of the book, seems promising. Doesn’t it look great?


~ by loonigrrl on May 1, 2007.

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