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(The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1)

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  11,693 ratings  ·  808 reviews
In a world struggling back from the brink of apocalypse, life is harsh. And for Elspeth Gordie, it is also dangerous. That's because Elspeth has a secret: she is a Misfit, born with mysterious mental abilities that she must keep hidden under threat of death. And her worries only multiply when she is exiled to the mountain compound known as Obernewtyn, where—for all her tal ...more
Paperback, 245 pages
Published December 9th 2008 by Random House Books for Young Readers (first published 1987)
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Average rating 3.96  · 
Rating details
 ·  11,693 ratings  ·  808 reviews

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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
Claude's Bookzone
Well this was an oddly compelling little read.

Despite the lack of character development, or world building, or explanations of mysterious capabilities that people had, I weirdly still enjoyed this. It is quite short so there was definitely room to flesh things out a bit more. And guess what! There are animals that the main character can talk to! Another animal book in my booktalk repertoire.
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
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
Sarah Mazza
Nov 22, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I have read and reread this book so many times. This entire series has helped me escape the monotony of life across my twenties and into my thirties. Each time I delve into this series, I get something new from the narrative, some titbit I didn't pick up on last time. Obernewtyn plunges the reader into a deep and immediately immersive world, not allowing them to come up for air until the very end. Isobelle Carmody's work inspired me to become an author, and as such, has had a significant impact ...more
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! ...more
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
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. ...more
Tomoe Hotaru
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
Amanda ☕ Steeping Stories ☕
I tried multiple times to read this book in primary school. I remember that I’d read almost all the books in the school library, including the senior section for older primary students. Obernewtyn was one of the few in that section that I hadn’t. I almost finished it the first time I read it, but the climax started to terrify and disturb me so I stopped. When I tried again later – purely from sheer desperation at having run out of other books in the school library – I finally got through to the ...more
Mar 21, 2010 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.
Jan 16, 2009 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. ...more
Dino-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
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
Aug 09, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction, fantasy
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
Tilly Booth
I'm gonna re-read this one day because I don't think I was in the right /mind space/ for it. ...more
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
Aaron Vincent
Oct 16, 2010 rated it it was ok
Shelves: dystocalypse
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
Dec 04, 2011 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
Sep 03, 2010 rated it really liked it
So I got the first one from the library and towards the end of the first book I knew this was something interesting. But it wasn’t until the second book (at the end of the second book no less) when I knew I had something fascinating in my hands. The moment that really got me was when the horse Gahltha pledges his loyalty to Elspeth and promises to help her and never leave her side (there’s a reason why of course) but I was so moved by this previously-arrogant horse and his devotion, that my hear ...more
Dec 17, 2018 rated it did not like it
"There are those made to lead and those to follow. There are also those who go a lone path, to scout the way ahead. I am a scout at heart."

In a post-apocalyptic world ravaged by a devastating event called the Great White, some people have developed magical abilities and been named Misfits. These strange people, capable of reading minds or seeing the future, are shipped off to farms or mines to serve the rest of the population. But in the strange mountain residence, Obernewtyn, Misfits are be
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Mar 16, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I have found the plot so far fairly generic (dystopian world after a big tragedy, youth that are in danger because of abilities) I really enjoyed this book. I'm not sure whether this is due to the style of writing or Isobelle Carmody's mystical narration of the story. What I do know is that this story granted me that magic that good fantasy novels possess. It allowed me to be drawn into another world and be consumed by the goings-on.

I enjoyed Elspeth as the main character, she did not hav
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
Allyce Cameron
May 20, 2013 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. ...more
I think if I had read this book when I was ten I would have loved it. I still enjoyed it now but it was a little too easy to read, no real suspense, no real action - ideal for a young age group which of course it was written for. I really liked the idea of farseeking and wish it had been featured more. Maybe it is in the rest of the series but I probably will not be reading any more. A nice little book but not inspiring.
Dec 23, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own, fantasy
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. ...more
Nov 12, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The beginning of a quest. The start of figuring out who you are?
Jaime K
Jun 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"I dreamed your life has a purpose which must be fulfilled, for the sake of all things." - Sharna, Chapter XXV

This really sums up the importance of Elspeth Gordie throughout the course of this book.

There are a lot of 'typical' dystopian (before that was a genre) tropes, but I think that Carmody did this is a unique way, especially for 1987.
Carmody has a great ability to describe an individual's emotions as another's feelings and scents. I wonder if she was empathic, as this articulation is fant
Have I said before how much I love audio books? They are the best way to read and do something else! So, with the long wait between titles, I've not wanted to get into The Red Queen , (Obernewtyn #7), because I've forgotten so much of the original story. Listening to Isobelle read her own work is magical, and despite how long ago it was written, Obernewtyn stands the test of time. Elspeth Gordie is the quintessential 'clueless' hero. Kept intentionally ignorant (an uneducated population is a ...more
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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

Other books in the series

The Obernewtyn Chronicles (7 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)

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