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For a long time, all I knew of Isobelle Carmody was the postage stamp-sized photo on the back covers of her long-running dystopian fantasy series, the Obernewtyn Chronicles.
I envisioned her as slightly gothic, other-worldly, with a dreamy gaze and a lofty air. I mention recently picking up my yellowing copy of the first book from the shelf and the cover promptly falling away.
It made me gasp to see it had aged so much. The series debut, Obernewtyn, was first published in , and now thousands of pages of high-adventure, tense battle scenes and sea-swept romance later Carmody has released the seventh and final book, the longest yet at 1, pages. With each book the Obernewtyn world map has expanded like unlocked doors to ever more rooms. Has it been difficult adhering each new title to the increasingly complicated internal logic?
Her understanding of the world and her prejudices shift, as do social attitudes. Misinformation clings like mist to the entire story. She has introduced characters with little more than a strong hunch regarding what role they will play, such as the red-haired street urchin Dragon, while in other cases discovered the seeds of potential storylines had already been planted.
And you go back to put it in earlier and it was already there. She says her daughter Adelaide accused her of modelling Elspeth on herself, something Carmody vigorously denied. Growing up in the Victorian town of Wangaratta, Carmody says her mother worked night shifts and fearing for the safety of her eight children, forbade them from playing on the street. Writing became a space in which to tackle the questions that troubled her.
Why is my mum scared the welfare is going to get us? Why does that teacher pick on me at school? Why do those kids want to beat me up? It is as much this intimate journalling of her inner life — this freedom fighter who maintains her humanity in the face of slavery, religious fanaticism, torture, greed, environmental destruction and the tidal waves of fate; this fearless natural born leader who is reluctant to use violence or aggression; this woman who discovers community, friendship and love propel her forward just as much as they hold her back — that distinguishes the books from other young adult series.
Some of those writers who bring out an OK book could have brought out something brilliant. The breaks between Obernewtyn chapters, during which Carmody would write other books, has meant fans of the series have waited nearly 30 years to discover the fate of Elspeth and her clue-hunting quest to save the planet.
Ending such a lengthy and much-loved saga, which has sold , copies, to the satisfaction of fans is no small thing. Her Facebook page has become the front lawn upon which fans turn up to badger the author regarding plot-lines. In writing the final chapter of such a long-running series did she feel a sense of loss?
You feel emptied out in a good way. I felt very light. It was a lovely feeling of blissful separation, of floating away into a future. Facebook Twitter Pinterest. Topics Fantasy books. Children and teenagers Fiction features. Reuse this content. Order by newest oldest recommendations. Show 25 25 50 All. Threads collapsed expanded unthreaded. Loading comments… Trouble loading?
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. Isobelle Carmody. Isobelle Carmody is one of Australia's most highly acclaimed authors of fantasy. At fourteen, she began Obernewtyn , the first book in her much-loved Obernewtyn Chronicles, and has since written many works in this genre. She has also written several picture books as well as collections of short stories for children, young adults and adults.
The Obernewtyn Chronicles Series. Original Australian numbering 1 through 7 for this series. This series is also published in North America with a different numbering some single books in the Australian editions are split into two books. Book 1. Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody. Want to Read.
Obernewtyn: The Obernewtyn Chronicles Volume 1
In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. And for Elspeth Gordie, it is also dangerous. And her worries only multiply when she is exiled to the mountain compound known as Obernewtyn, where—for all her talents—Elspeth may finally and truly be out of her depth. Available from:. Ebook —.
Isobelle Carmody's The Red Queen brings The Obernewtyn Chronicles to an end
One summer in the s, I spent a weekend on the couch, devouring a story of a post-apocalyptic world. I neglected homework, conversation and sleep. When my mother insisted I eat, it felt like an imposition. My world was a distant, imagined future in which a band of misfits with mental powers battled to survive.