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Obernewtyn - Isobelle Carmody

Title: Obernewtyn
Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: Obernewtyn Chronicles
Genre: YA Fantasy Dystopia
Publisher: Penguin Australia
Release Date: 2007 (orig. 1987)
Format: Paperback
Links: Goodreads, Author's Website
Purchase: Booktopia, Book Depository, Angus & Robertson

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilised or burned if discovered, it is also dangerous. There is only survival by secrecy, and so she determines never to use her forbidden powers. But it is as if they have their own imperative, and their use inevitably brings her to the attention of the totalitarian Council that rules the Land.

Sent to the remote mountain institution of Obernewtyn where escape is impossible, she must throw off her safe cloak of concealment and pit herself against those who would resurrect the terrible forces of the apocalypse

Only then will she learn most truly who and what she is.

While I'm no stranger to Isobelle Carmody - having started the Legendsong books while in high school - I only picked up Obernewtyn for the first time in February 2016.

This wasn't for lack of interest per - the series wasn't on my wishlist, but it was on my radar. The issue was that on the rare occasions I was able to get to a bookstore they never had the first book. That changed on a recent trip to Shepparton when I spoiled myself and was finally able to pick up a copy, among other titles.

I went into this book with mixed feelings. I remember the Legendsong books fondly, and have checked in often to see if the new book was out. At the same time, I knew from reading Carmody's biographies on websites that she started Obernewtyn at around fourteen. I read the Inheritance series while in high school and loved them, but when I tried to reread them last year I couldn't handle it - the writing was so bad. So, I was worried the same would be the case with Obernewtyn.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that the writing was of an acceptable level for my tastes, if a bit formal. I had a lot of trouble getting into the story though, as to start off it was a lot world building that didn't integrate well enough into the story for my liking. In fact, I felt there was some unnecessary scenes just to account for the world building. I warmed up towards the end, though it was more of a curiosity about where the story was going than an investment in Elspeth.

The book also had the ring of over-editing, as it felt like there was missing joining paragraphs and sentences. Things hopped from one thing to another jarringly which made it hard to suspend reality.

Overall I did enjoy this book, and will be continuing the series.

Because of the stilted writing, sense of over-editing and poorly done information dump I'll be rating this book 3 1/2 stars, and I'm really hoping to see improvements in the rest of the series.

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