Sunday, June 25, 2006

Obernewtyn Chronicles 1-3

By Isobelle Carmody. The series consists of Obernewtyn, The Farseekers, Ashling, The Keeping Place, and The Sending, but I've only read the first three and may never finish, if the others don't come out in the U.S. (Carmody is an Australian author and I'm not sure I'm motivated enough to spend $20 or $30 to order the last two from Australia.)

I actually stopped halfway through the third one for a week or so once I found out that it wasn't the end of the series. The basic premise is that the world has been changed by a holocaust (all indications point to nuclear), and genetic mutations have appeared, some of which give people telepathic powers, the ability to communicate with animals, the ability to see the future, to heal, and more. Elspeth, a strong heroine of indeterminate age (she is young but if it says exactly how young I missed it; somewhere between 12 and 20, I'd have to guess), narrates the first three and probably the rest, too. When she is discovered (so-called Misfits are culled out of the population), she is sent to a place called Obernewtyn in the mountains where the Misfits with mental powers are studied.

This book is very serious in a way: there is not much lightheartedness and humor. Elspeth gradually seems to realize that apparently, she is part of a bigger plan and has a task to perform for the future world: destroy the remaining weapons that caused the "Great White" (nuclear winter?). If they are used again, the world will never recover.

I guess it's an okay series. It was enough to hold my interest, partly due to nostalgia, I think, and also due to the cryptic dreams Elspeth has which provide clues to the bigger picture. Certainly she could perform her quest and be done with it, but it's more interesting to try and figure out what happened to bring the world to that place, and her in particular.

Have fun.

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