My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars
Read: 23 Dec 2015
How to begin this review/Suggestive Read? In truth, this is one of the hardest ones I’ll probably ever write, simply because this is one of the longest series I’ve ever waited end on end to read.
And yes, my rating is biased on the fact that I’ve loved this series for so long and now it’s over! If I didn’t the rating might have dropped to 3-4stars for length and odd-ish pacing.
This will probably be a sketchy review of the whole series, and an indepth-ish review of this book. I remember reading the first book thinking that it’s okay. I remember the mystery etc., and thinking, I’d like to see where this will go. When I started reading the second than third sequels, I started really falling in love with the story. Isobelle Carmody does many things with her series. She brings forward so many truths about life we should always be more wary of. Things like being kind to animals, being kind to each other, the dangers of humanity, and my favourite part–yes I know, it must seem really weird, but when I think about all the other dystopia, scifi novels, and futuristic stories set in a distant future, I think, there isn’t really many books that matches Obernewtyn when it comes to a convincing way of portraying language in a distant future. AND I LOVE THIS. Do you know why I love this? Because as a linguist, it gives me chills to see it done well. What Carmody does, is not like what other authors do, just changing a little this, or saying that the characters are speaking ‘another’ language, or have characters simply imply that there are ‘differences’ between their language and that of the past. The characters in the Obernewtyn series really uses, speaks and thinks in a wholly evolved English language. They use words that are pronounced exactly the same, yet are written differently enough that you know you’re not in the same world.
Speaking of the world.
The Obernewtyn Series is amazing. The World Building is fantabulous. Isobelle Carmody does a wonderful job in building her world. There’s various territories, the Tainted Lands from the Great White aka Great Cataclysm, etc. Because this series is set in a distant future, it feels more like a fantasy than scifi. But it’s a pretty well developed fantasy. It has the flavour of a historical fantasy, with horses being the main mode of transport, and of near (but not really) primitive means of survival, yet there is a very comfortable mix of digital technology. I really loved the smooth transition between the world that the story exists in and to the old technology of the past (which would in fact be the kind of technology we have today). I never once felt like it was out of place.
Now, since it seems like I’m writing this Suggestive Read backwards, let’s get to the Characters.
For me, it’s really hard to review my opinion on every single character in this book. Simply because the Red Queen features all the characters from previous stories, and for several pages, it took me awhile remember all the faces. Admittedly, I wish I had reread all the books before getting to this one, but with the limited time, and the hateful waiting for the books at the library, I forgoed it.(I would own all the books, but I started reading it with loaned books, and maybe, in the near future, I’ll by the boxset 🙂 ). But it didn’t take me long to remember, I mean with 1100 pages to read, there was bound to be a nice portion devoted to linking this sequel back to the events of the previous installments. And Carmody did, though it was a slight info dump, it wasn’t such a pain to read, nor did she do it all completely in one shot. With characters, it was a little harder. I had a good memory of most, and the more I read, the more I remembered, though of specific events involving characters, that was different. But I DEFINITELY remembered the emotions tied to each character. Specially characters like Dameon, Rushton, Dragon, Matthew, Swallow, Miryum, Maruman, and Gahltha, etc. It was great seeing them all again, and watching them develop. Especially since the whole series covers a period of around 5 years.
Elspeth is the main character though and her story is the most important. How to stop the weaponmachines from destroying the world a second time and causing a more devastating great white? That’s Elspeth’s mission. And throughout this book, we see her make choices that are sometimes cold because of her quest. Yet they always tear her apart. She always stayed true to her calling, even though in previous books, she had faltered.
Dragon, another favourite character of mine, grew a lot in this book too. She changed when she regained what was hers, but she really does become what she is supposed to be. I loved her.
And as for the other characters, it was great to read them all over again. Dameon’s crushing feelings, the ones he had to hide for so long, they were so sweetly and tenderly expressed, and as expected of an unrequited love, Dameon steps aside. I felt so sorry for him, yet by the end of the book, it is clear that he and Elspeth will always remain friends.
As for a character I wanted to see more of! RUSHTON. I was so disappointed that we didn’t get to see more of him!! He, unfortunately, only appears towards the end of the book, within the last fifty pages as a proper character, rather than just being a part of Elspeth’s dreams.
Things I want to mention
…since I can’t talk about the plot without spoiling the rest of the other books. The book is MASSIVE and it was a pain to read everything, since it took a while. I wish it was smaller, but without the size that it is, it probably wouldn’t have been able to convey everything it should and did. Carmody put so much in this book and she paced it well. The easy pace meant I didn’t feel like it was rushed or that events were being forced on me because it had to happen before the next thing could. It felt easy and tame. I still wish it was smaller though!
It was also a bit slow sometimes, if one didn’t have the patience for reading such a big book. My favourite parts were the parts when Elspeth actually did something.
I find that this is probably one of the best Sci-fi fantasy stories set in a distant future written by an Australian author, yet first written back in like idk the eightiess??? in a long time. And I don’t think there are many Australian authors that can beat this anytime soon. I think this series is AMAZING and deserves to be read from book 1 to book 7. And no review can do it any justice at all. Not even this one. I can’t even begin to put how I felt once this series finished–let’s just say, I was so torn! But happy with the ending!
ALSO I wanted to compare this to a few things. Reading this now again after reading The Darkest Minds, I’m reminded of how similar they are a little. Mainly in terms of paranormality and also, that both series have particular categories of paranormal abilities. But both series are very different.
I also had another comparison in mind, but momentarily forgotten. Will add a little later. A lot of popular YA sci fi novels these days had elements that are already present in the Obernewtyn Series, which, has been around for sooooo long.