Author: Isobelle Carmody
Series: The Obernewtyn Chronicles #1
Source: Bought Ebook
RATING: 5 STARS
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 talents—Elspeth may finally and truly be out of her depth. Then she learns she’s not the only one concealing secrets at Obernewtyn.
Obernewtyn has so many amazing qualities all woven together to form this great novel. I am having a hard time pinpointing exactly what made this a 5 star read for me, because there is just so many reasons! First of all, and this will come as a surprise to most (me included), but Obernewtyn has no real romance in it. There isn't a conventional love story that plays out alongside the plot/action. Nope, it's just pure world building and plot. And that at first worried me, because like most, I enjoy reading a love story progress. But it isn't needed here. I can't speak for the rest of the series, as there could be a romance that forms between a few of the characters, but in the first, it's just a story about some Misfits, and the stuff that happens to them and the mysteries of the place they live, Obernewtyn. And I loved it! I found that the lack of romance benefited this book. It gave the reader a chance to connect to all of the characters on an individual level, and not in conjunction to the character they are to 'be' with.
The characters were mostly all well-rounded characters. I felt that in the case of Elspeth, we really knew her. Not only did we see glimpses of her life before she went to Obernewtyn, we were also able to see her grow and develop while at Obernewtyn. I did have some qualms about the side/other main characters. I wanted to know more about them, like Matthew, Dameon, Rushton, Cameo, Selmar, even Madam Vega, Ariel, and Alexi. I just wanted to know all about who they were and why they did what they did, and just all of the information!! That had to be my only complaint, because even the bad characters just felt like we didn't know them. And to hate a character means you know them and know the bad things they have done. While we know who the good guys and the bad guys clearly are, I just would have liked more background on a few of the other characters other than Elspeth.
In Obernewtyn, we aren't just given a fantasy world, we are given a fantasy world that has been devastated by The Great White, and has developed a new political order to deal with and prosper. And it's a different type of dystopian, at least for me. The new government is an extremely strict religious group, who are afraid of those that are different, labeling them as Misfits, and exiling them to various locations and even sending them to their death. The world and government are fascinating, and I can't wait to learn more about The Great White, and the Herder faction, as well as the Council and just all of what goes on outside of Obernewtyn.
Without going into what happens in the book, I will say that there is a certain character that completely surprised me by the end of the book. And I just didn't see it coming, which made for a great and heartbreaking twist. Obernewtyn is filled with various elements that make a great story great, and I feel that even if fantasy isn't your thing, that this book will have something that appeals to you. I have personally fallen for the fantasy genre, and look forward to reading more. I will say this, and only because I have seen others say it is off putting, this book is written with a dialect that is unfamiliar to any that we are used to. I think it gives the voices of the characters a unique quality that makes the reading experience even more enjoyable. But for those who find it hard to understand, what with the weird pronunciations and apostrophes and stuff, just keep an open mind. It's hard to understand, but the context makes it easy to figure out what the characters are saying.
Obernewtyn seems to be an under-hyped book, and until now, save for indie published books, I haven't come across a book that I have loved so much that has little exposure. I hope that changes, because this is such a great and imaginative read, that I feel for those who are missing out by skipping over this! If you have read Obernewtyn, the first in the series, I would love to talk to you about the spoilers, so feel free to send me an email so we can discuss further. Or, if you just want to ask questions that I haven't covered in my review, again, feel free to drop me an email! I love discussing books, especially the ones I love! :)