Cameron Harvey's Reviews > Obernewtyn

Obernewtyn by Isobelle Carmody
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Dec 01, 13

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Read in July, 2012



I had heard from some family members that this was a great book to read but never really got to it. Long story short, I had 14 hours of train travel time to kill.

When I actually sat down and read it, I found it a bit slow to really dig into it but by about the 100 page mark, the story grabbed me. I read the last 150 odd pages in one siting, which isn't anything crazy but I would have continued had the story been longer.

There were things about the book that I loved, and others that I think could have been done better or done without.

The story finished a bit too quickly and I think some parts of the story could have been elaborated further on. This, however, is from the point of view of not having read the rest of the books in the series and I don't know if these were designed to put the reader in suspense and draw them to the following books.

Rushton's character had a nice twist from being rude and unfriendly to being compassionate for her about the death of Jes and this described quite a bit about his personality. Although, I think his saving of Elspeth from the machine when she tried to farseek for information was good. I thought that had Matthew and Dameon succeeded in convincing her that he would not have left her mind untouched during the incident if he had not been on the same side it could have lead onto another attempt at farseeking and part the information she had to come back multiple times to the doctors chamber to find and would have fixed the problems of her using powers to find seemingly easy and quick exits from the forbidden chambers.

Characters like Cameo and Selmar's backgrounds were only lightly touched on and I think this was partly done intentionally but I would have liked to have been told a bit more about them. Elsbeth seemed quite curious, and we're told that this characteristic was similar to that of Selmar, but her time as an Orphan prevented her from following it and pushing Louis Larken for information.

This brings me onto another point, and this is Carmody's choice to let Selmar and Cameo die. As I said previously, I would have liked to have known more about them but I almost like it when an author allows main characters to be hurt or disabled, and don't mean weakened ever so slightly that they can still muster just enough power to obliterate the enemy. Magic often is difficult to define and authors can easily give their protagonist too much ability. I think Carmody did a good job of limiting Elspeth's mental ability during the first part of the book but her escape and the killing of Alexi and Madame Vega was a bit too much for me. In other books that I have read, the way they have dealt with mental gifts have allowed for mental incapacitation but never murder.

I would have preferred if she had been able to hold them off until Larken and the others in that group had arrived. I like it when magicians are mixed with medieval swordsmanship.

All in all, I thought it was a brilliant book and seems it could be a good first book introduction into a great series but has the ability to go wrong because of the way the last quarter of the book was so quickly done. It would be a book to recommend to friends.
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