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Obernewtyn (The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1)

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3.97  ·  Rating Details ·  8,879 Ratings  ·  607 Reviews
Obernewtyn is a fantasy novel by Isobelle Carmody set in a post apocalyptic world. It is the first book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles.

In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh and secretive. But for Elspeth Gordie, born with enhanced mental abilities that would see her sterilized or burned if discovered, it is also fraught with danger. There is
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Mass Market Paperback, 248 pages
Published 1993 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1987)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Nancy
Posted at Shelf Inflicted

Despite its flaws, I really enjoyed Obernewtyn. Most of the characters were interesting enough; but not all were developed that well. The main character, Elspeth Gordie, seemed realistic enough; an emotionally distant child suffering the pain of losing her parents, spending her childhood in a variety of orphanages and possessing powers she has to keep secret. I also enjoyed her misfit friends, Matthew and Dameon, the enigmatic Rushton, and the mind-speaking animals. I wi
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Shannon (Giraffe Days)
Jan 22, 2015 Shannon (Giraffe Days) rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fan of fantasy, post-apocalyptic and dystopian fiction
This month, June, marks the start of the Obernewtyn Chronicles Reading Marathon! Each month we are reading a book in the series, though predictably the release date for the final book, The Red Queen, has been pushed back to next year - no surprises there. I decided to go ahead with the read-along anyway, because it has literally been YEARS since I last read them and there's so much going on that I had forgotten about, I've been itching to start from the beginning again.

Forgive my daggy 1993 seco
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Mav
Jul 04, 2012 Mav rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Mav by: I forgot.
I want to like this book. I really do. I was interested in the world Carmody was building, especially after the first few pages.

Then I kept on reading. The book is short, primarily because there's so little of substance. Normally, I love the first book in a fantasy series because there is so much world building. Here, Carmody has it's setting, but she doesn't do anything to make that world feel alive. The story takes place mostly in the countryside and the mountains. There is little description
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April (Aprilius Maximus)
DNF at page 66. It was just so boring and was putting me in the worst slump! The only redeeming factor was the talking cat, but even that wasn't enough to get me to finish it!
melissa1lbr
I tried really hard to get into this book, but I felt no connection with the main character. The story might have been very good, but I kept getting distracted and bored because of the descriptions of scenery and setting. Setting can be very important, but I just couldn't get into the book because it got in the way. I'd like to try it again sometime, since I ended up skimming the ending.
Lyndsey
Arrrrrg. This one thing was really getting on my nerves and I just couldn't enjoy the book the way I should have.

When certain characters are speaking, their accents are demonstrated in the most frustrating way. For example: Dinna ye ev'n think 'bout gon' roun' thar an' all.

Uh, What? Exactly what I was thinking. It's not so much the visual indicator of their speech pattern that bothered me; as it definitely helped me to "hear" their accent, but it was the frequency with which it was used that was
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Lauren
Feb 02, 2011 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book has
1) Awesome animal characters
2) Intriguing mystery
3) Thought provoking mesh between sci-fi and fantasy
4) A likable heroine
5) Brilliantly written
6) A well thought out world
7) No plot-hinging whinny cry-baby romance

With all of those factors how could I not love this book? It's exactly the kind of book that you want to curl up and read on a rainy day. I feel warm inside just thinking about it. Will definitely be reading the others is the series ASAP.
Erin
Jan 16, 2009 Erin rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was the author's first book, written in her twenties, and it has some flaws. But the story and characters have had a powerful hold on my imagination since I first read it in my twenties, and I found it just as compelling and suspenseful this time around. I'm so excited that the rest of the series is going to be made available in America! For years you could only get the first 3 books.
Future-Jess ✮ The Book Eating Dinosaur ✮
I have so much love for this book.

I first read this when I was a young teenager and having recently picked up some second hand copies of the first three novels from my favourite book man at my local market, I decided it was high time I gave them a re-read to see if they stood the test of time.

I am pleased to report that I enjoyed this even more than when I read it as a teenager. As a teen, this was one of the first fantasy/sci fi style novels I ever encountered, and I think that this has reall
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Amanda
I'm conflicted with rating this book. On the one hand, I would give it two stars and nothing more, but compared to the other two-star rated books I've read, Obernewtyn was somewhat better. But it's not quite three stars, you see. I gave three stars for Lips Touch by Laini Taylor, and I thought that was infinitely better than Obernewtyn.

On the other hand, I wanted to like this. I had high expectations for it - which probably just added to my disappointment. So I suppose for me, this book lies som
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Tamsien West (Babbling Books)
3.5 stars

A typical dystopian coming-of-age novel, without any real surprises. As the first book in a very long series it sets the stage for further development, but there is not enough tension for it to stand strongly alone.

Obernewtyn follows the story of Elspeth, a young girl with psychic powers she must hide from the oppressive ruling regime. It's a fairly typical dystopian scenario; a nuclear (or similar) apocalypse has destroyed the land, the few survivors have been able to recover by avoid
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 Alli
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aaron Vincent
Originally Posted on Guy Gone Geek.

After following Will and his mates in their escape to the White Mountains, I decided to continue my dystopian adventure with Elspeth's exile to another mountain, Obernewtyn. The concept of these books may have parallelism but the stories in their entirety are completely different.

For one, White Mountains is a science-fiction while Obernewtyn, although has elements of sci-fi, leans more towards epic fantasy. And while the mountain Will trekked to promises refuge
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Mere
Nov 14, 2015 Mere rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of a quest. The start of figuring out who you are?
Steve
Aug 12, 2015 Steve rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
While I feel that the post-apocalyptic genre has pretty much done to ahem, death, I don't mind books that add new ideas and try and take the genre in new directions. Sadly, while this book attempts that, it doesn't make it, and I didn't feel any emotional connection to any of the major characters, and worse, I felt the book suffered by the author explaining nothing, and waiting for the story to develop as way of explanation. The climax while satisfying was short and didn't have any bang. I am un ...more
Allyce Cameron
Nov 10, 2015 Allyce Cameron rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just love this series so much. Rereading it (again) I fell in love with the characters and world all over again, although I do wonder if I enjoy it so much because I have read all the other books and have a deeper connection with them all from future books. I will admit that the first book doesn't have as much in the way of character building and world building as the subsequent books. But an amazing book none the less and I cannot wait to read the rest.
Jade
Dec 18, 2015 Jade rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've had this book on my kindle for roughly a year now. I never picked it up because I attempted to read the first chapter and couldn't get past it. But it turns out to be an amazing book! Isobelle Carmody created a immaculate piece of writing, leaving the loose ends that needed to stay loose to ensure the success of this series, loose and tying the ends ones that needed to be tied up. The book created a sense of longing to be involved, or to some how be magically transported into the book so yo ...more
Tara
Jan 01, 2014 Tara rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, books-i-own
While I found this a bit slow to get into, the world building that Carmody does is fantastic. I flew through the last half of the book, flipping through the pages and holding my breath while Elspeth was sneaking around the property and the house, keeping my fingers crossed that she wouldn't get caught.... It was very suspenseful! Looking forward to reading the rest of the books in this series.
Tilly Booth
I'm gonna re-read this one day because I don't think I was in the right /mind space/ for it.
Sue
Feb 11, 2016 Sue rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Ok I have just read bk 1-6 of the Obernewtyn series back to back ( tho I did sneak in a quickie James Patterson between book 5 and 6). I was getting increasing frustrated by having to wait for books to be released in a series so I am glad I waited for these bc Isobelle started writing them when she was only 14!
So I am about the read the final huge book 'The Red Queen' and am very excited.
I did confuse and forget some characters but I think that is forgivable given the numerous scenarios each bo
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Christina (A Reader of Fictions)
First published in 1987, Obernewtyn really just reads like a book from that era. I don't really know how to explain that, except that I've read dystopian/post-apocalyptic fiction from then and from now, and it very much reads like the former. Partly, this stems from the formatting, broken into a number of short books, because in the 80s and 90s publishers did not have the same faith in teenage attention spans that they do now.

Pulled in by the pretty cover with the intense looking girl, pretty mo
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Tien
This is the umpteenth time I have read this book. I've first read this series in my teens (there were only 4 then) and this is just one of those series which stuck, for life (for me anyway). A few years ago, Carmody decided to write the fifth book, then the sixth and so on. So, it's time that I catch up by reading all the way from the first book.

I used to only classify this series as fantasy but with references to the 'Beforetime', the 'Great White' (maybe referring to an atomic explosion?), and
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Alisa
Jul 01, 2010 Alisa rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Young teen readers who like an independent heroine & a bit of magic
Why do authors assume that after the nuclear apocalypse, we'll all be going back to medieval England? I get the connection to feudal organization and primitive/agricultural technology, but I don't get the "old-timey" language. Just don't buy it.

This series was recommended by a great librarian who told me how much her daughter had loved it. So I was prepared for great FSF candy. And...not so much. I was feeling really dismal about it all, when I came to the talking cat. And, I know, this is where
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Britt
I have to admit that in comparison to the rest of this series this book is underwhelming. However I think its a requirement because carmody needs to set up a whole new world, with its various dictatorships, factions, opinions etc. I love this book because its the prelim for the rest of the series that I fell in love with at 13.

Obernewtyn is centered around elspeth, a misfit with vast powers including beast speaking (self explanatory), coersion (making somebody do something by essentially hackin
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Sarah
It seems that this book is set after a widespread nuclear fallout called the "Great White," which I think is quite interesting since the book has a historical fantasy feel to it. After the Great White, people that had special abilities were deemed Misfits, and either burned to prevent the Great White from occurring again (which the fanatic populace thought was a punishment from their god, Lud), or sent to work farms to provide something very close to slave labor. Carmody does an excellent job of ...more
Ania
May 09, 2012 Ania rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: australia
First off, some purchasing tips.

1) If you are going to get this book (and you should!) you should prolly get the edition called "The Seeker: The Obernewtyn Chronicles" because it combines Book 1 and Book 2 of the series into one low price edition, which will save you money, and you'll have the second one on hand once you finish the first engrossing book.

2) If you are going to get each book separately and are bad with faces, get the edition with the girl's face and cat. It will help you visualize
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Jan
Apr 30, 2012 Jan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teenbooks, fantasy
I really enjoyed this engaging fantasy, the first book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles. The series has a post apocalyptic setting and depicts a world long after its destruction by a global nuclear holocaust.

The narrator, Elspeth Gordie, is a young girl with mental powers caused by mutation. There are others with various mental powers in this society, known as Misfits. They are condemned by the governing authority known as the Council, and the religious authority, the Herder Faction. Elspeth tries t
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Mel
Nov 09, 2015 Mel rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
*happy sigh*

I know, this book isn't perfect, but the Obernewtyn Chronicles is my favourite series. It has shaped the person I am today in so many ways. I first read this when I was about 10 or 11 years old, and I still love it just as much, if not more.

Jess
May 30, 2009 Jess rated it did not like it
This wasn't for me at all. There was never a moment where I was pulled in by the storyline.

Carmody used too much frivolous jargon ie. beforetime, oldtime, aftertime (maybe I made that one up), councils, misfits, herders, great white, the changing, councilcourt, seditioners, and it goes on! Fair enough, jargon might be necessary, but it just seemed overloaded and took away from other aspects of the story.

So one thing I learned is that this type of sci-fi does nothing for me. The book often came
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Samantha
It has taken me forever to get around to reading this book. I liked the world-building with the Council, but I would have liked to learn a bit more about the intricacies/rules in the settlements. Maybe this will be elaborated further later in the series...
I liked Elspeth, but I felt a little detached in the narration, and the same was true for Rushton. I liked the characters, but I didn't really care what happened to them all that much. The action and plot, while inventive, weren't all that grou
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Isobelle Carmody began the first novel of her highly acclaimed Obernewtyn Chronicles while she was still in high school. The series has established her at the forefront of fantasy writing in Australia.

In addition to her young-adult novels, such as the Obernewtyn Chronicles and Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle's published works include several middle-grade fantasies. Her still-unfinished Gateway Trilogy
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More about Isobelle Carmody...

Other Books in the Series

The Obernewtyn Chronicles (8 books)
  • The Farseekers (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #2)
  • Ashling (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #3)
  • The Keeping Place (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #4)
  • The Stone Key (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #5)
  • The Sending (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #6)
  • The Red Queen (The Obernewtyn Chronicles, #7)
  • The Obernewtyn Chronicles: Books 1 - 6

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