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The Obernewtyn Chronicles by Isobelle Carmody

Updated on October 16, 2012

The intriguing and colorful world created by Isobelle Carmody in the Obernewtyn Chronicles takes place in a post-apocalyptic future. The world as we know it has been destroyed by powerful human weapons. The people who survived now live in a vastly different world. There is no modern technology save for the ruins of the Beforetime world. The land is now controlled by a Council and Herder priests whose goal is to rid the world of humans who have became mutated after the Great White set off by the humans of the past.

Elspeth Gordie, the heroine and narrator of the series, is a Misfit. She has telepathic abilities that cause her to be hunted by the people who rule the land. She is sent to Obernewtyn, a haven in the mountain for Misfits, where she meets others with special mental abilities. Her life changes dramatically and she begins a quest whose outcome could either save the world or completely destroy it.

Though it is written for young adults, this is a great series for anyone who loves fantasy.  Readers will begin to covet the mental abilities of the Misfits and will long to be a part of Elspeth’s quest as the Seeker.      

Note: There are 8 books in the series as they will be published in America and Canada. The Stone Key was split into two books, Wavesong and The Stone Key. In Australia, the series will have 7 books.

Obernewtyn Chronicles Book Trailer

Obernewtyn Book 1

Readers are introduced to the Land as it remains after the Beforetime people set off the Great White which left tainted ground and changed people. With modern technology gone, the world of Elspeth Gordie is very similar to the Medieval Ages. People use horse and buggy to travel and cook their food by fire.

Elspeth herself is a Misfit who has enhanced mental powers. She can read minds of both human and animals. This puts her in danger of being sent away by the Council who thinks Misfits are evil. But despite her efforts to hide what she is, she is found out and sent to Obernewtyn, a mysterious place deep in the mountains where Misfits like her where guarded. What she discovers at Obernewtyn is just the beginning of what Elspeth must figure out before time runs out.

The first book in the series has a slow beginning, but it gives the reader a chance to acclimate to the changes that have taken place in the world. Once the reader understands what is going on, the action begins to accelerate. The story becomes more engaging and the reader feels as if she is working alongside Elspeth to discover the underlying mysteries of Obernewtyn and the other Misfits who live there.

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**Spoiler Alert** - Descriptions of the other books in the series are below.  Be careful what you read if you haven’t read the books yet. 

The Farseekers Book 2

Now that Rushton is in charge, Obernewtyn is a refuge for Misfits and animals instead of a prison. Guilds for each of the talents have been established with Elspeth as the head of the Farseekers guild. Farseeking is communicating with others’ minds.

Though things have taken a turn for the better for the Misfits, the battle is far from over. They must keep their identity and the true nature of Obernewtyn a secret. In order to do this, an expedition is sent to the south. The group will seek out a powerful new Misfit, explore the ruins of a Beforetime city for books, and a way to spy on the Council in the city of Sutrium is to be established.

The first book served as an introduction to the characters and their setting. In the second book of the series the real story of begins to take shape. It becomes more about the Misfits and their struggle for freedom.  Obernewtyn is a refuge for them, but total safety and freedom will be a tough battle. There is a contrast with how the Misfits act amongst themselves versus how they act with “normal” people. The enormity of their task to live completely free of fear in the Land is clearly visible.

Ashling Book 3

The book begins with Elspeth saving a gypsy from being burned to death by the Council.  Once back at Obernewtyn, one of the future tellers says that she must take the gypsy back to her people in Sutrium.  So again, Elspeth sets out on a journey to return the ailing gypsy and to find out what is happening in the safe house. 

Meanwhile, more pieces of the puzzle about Elspeth’s quest as the Seeker are coming together.  Through dreams, called ashlings, sent to her and her friends, Elspeth begins to discover more about what she must do. 

In Ashling, Elspeth’s two quests become more evident.  She has duties as both a guild leader at Obernewtyn and as the Seeker meant to destroy the Beforetime weapons.  Her quest as Seeker must be kept secret, so there is part of herself that she cannot allow others to fully see.  Elspeth and the other characters in the series are growing and becoming more defined with each novel.  The plot rolls forward with never a dull moment.   

The Keeping Place Book 4

When Rushton is kidnapped, the Misfits, led by Elspeth, are forced to join the rebels in their plan to overthrow the council.  The Misfits plan to use their abilities to help the plot succeed with as little bloodshed as possible. 

Meanwhile, Dragon is still in a coma and a red dragon is haunting the dreams of everyone at Obernewtyn.  The Teknoguilders discover something important for Elspeth’s continuing quest to seek out the Beforetime weapon and destroy it. 

The lives of the Misfits are becoming more and more bound to the rest of the people.  For no one is truly free with the Council and Herder Faction still in control.  Elspeth’s quest and the future of Obernewtyn seem more and more intertwined.  Dreams and reality also seem to converge more and more for Elspeth as she discovers more about Kasanda. 

Wavesong Book 5

Though the rebels are in control of the east side of the Land, the land is not fully under rein. There is a Herder plot to invade the Land and overthrow the newly formed rebel government. Elspeth and her companions work desperately to stop the plot and some end up on Herder Isle.

As Elspeth gains more knowledge about her quest, she realizes that there is a dark shadow following her, the Destroyer who is laying his own plans.

Elspeth is becoming an increasingly strong character with each book. Unlike many female characters, she is clever enough to be able to find her own way out of tough situations without needing to be rescued all the time.

The Stone Key Book 6


Having made her way to the West coast on the back of a ship fish, Elspeth is in a desperate rush to find the plague infected null that Ariel has sent to kill everyone.  She discovers that the Misfits that have been trapped on the West have changed and grown in order to survive being cut off from Obernewtyn. 

Elspeth is moving closer and closer to what she must ultimately do as the Seeker.  To her dismay, Ariel’s quest as the Destroyer is also become clearer. 

Though Elspeth is strong and doesn’t waste away pining for Rushton, she is becoming better at dealing with emotions.  She is capable of love, but does not drown herself in it.  She is driven and intelligent, but is human and has feelings and attachments as well. 

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The Sending Book 7

The long awaited next installment of the Obernewtyn Chronicles, The Sending is scheduled to be released September 2011. Originally planned as the last of the series, the publishers and Isobelle Carmody have decided to split it into two books because of the length. It was around 900 pages before editing. Rather than cut enough of it to fit into one book, another book will be released.

In an interview Isobelle Carmody discusses writing the last of the series that has occupied her life since she was 14 years old. She says,

“For me, the process of editing does not happen after the book is finished but is part of the whole creative process. Sometimes this has meant publishers have felt I am close to done when I know I am not. But I do know where this series is going and the last book is completely written in first draft. But, as I said, that does not mean it is finished. There is a lot of stuff to be sorted out, honed back, a lot of threads to be joined and that happens in a to and fro process that is hard to control. But I am on it. I am getting there and I will get there. And I am not afraid to finish or trying for perfection. I need the books to be ended properly. I need to feel a true sense of completion or how will readers feel it? I actually think I am closer than I think, now that I am no longer under such pressure.”

Follow Isobelle Carmody on Twitter to see tidbits from The Sending.

The Red Queen Book 8

No release date has been scheduled yet.  The earliest projection would be sometime in 2012.


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    • arsenicandoldlace profile image

      arsenicandoldlace 7 years ago from Saint Augustine, Florida

      cant wait!!!