Always quirky, sometimes sweet speculative fiction

Tag: Isobelle Carmody

Australian Spec-fic Authors Challenge – February Round-Up

Not the cover of the version I'm reading, but the cover of the first version i read. Kicking early 20's Kirstie for selling it to a second hand bookstore.

Not the cover of the version I’m reading, but the cover of the first version I read. Kicking early 20’s Kirstie for selling it to a second hand bookstore.

For the February portion of the Australian speculative fiction authors challenge I decided to re-read and catch-up on the more recent volumes of Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles. I had high hopes of reading most of the six volumes currently out so only one or two of the books would spill over into March. Unfortunately I read several other books as well, so only managed to finish the first three volumes. You can read my reviews thus far: Obernewtyn, The Farseekers, and Ashling.

The Obernewtyn Chronicles focuses on Elspeth Gordie, a Talented Misfit with a great destiny – to prevent the world from suffering a second apocalypse. First she has more to do though, like saving other Talents and guiding them to the one safe place in the Land for them, Obernewtyn, as well as keeping Obernewtyn safe for the tyrannical Council, fanatical Herders and more.

Destiny is constantly dragging Elspeth all over the Land and she soon learns she is involved in more than the one prophecy she originally knew of.

I’ve loved these books for years, since reading them as a teenager. Elspeth is a wonderful character, but an enigma to someone like me who is so open and quick-to trust. The traumas of her orphan childhood have led her to find it hard to accept Obernewtyn as her home, and over the three volumes I’ve read so far she has yo-yoed between accepting she will leave forever and elation at finally returning. Similarly she struggles with friendships and blossoming love. At her core however she is still a character who will fight and risk her life even for total strangers, acts she repeatedly enacts.

I’m looking forward to finishing what is out of the series and am keeping my ear to the ground for a confirmed release date on the seventh and final installment (supposedly September this year, lets hope it is!).

The Wild GirlAs for next month’s read (which I’ve cheekily started this month already since I received an ARC) I’ll be reading Kate Forsyth’s The Wild Girl, which is a story about Dortchen Wild, the girl who grew up next door to the Grimm Brothers and who told them many of their stories.

Australian Spec-Fic Authors Challenge – January Round-up

Some of the most gorgeous cover art I've ever seen, Rowena Cory Daniells' Besieged

Some of the most gorgeous cover art I’ve ever seen, Rowena Cory Daniells’ Besieged

As you probably know I challenged myself (and my readers) to read at least one Australian speculative fiction author for each month of this year.

I started January with Rowena Cory Daniells and her trilogy “The Outcast Chronicles”. You can read my reviews of the books individually on Goodreads (Besieged, Exile, and Sanctuary).

I found the books to be riveting fantasy that starts off more about political intrigue but that quickly becomes a dramatic fight for survival for two whole races. With a massive cast of characters who you love, love to hate and can’t wait to see what happens to next, you might be daunted thinking there’s too many characters to easily follow along, but I assure you, Daniells makes her characters memorable and distinctly individual.

More sexy cover art from Daniells' amazing fantasy series "The Outcast Chronicles".

More sexy cover art from Daniells’ amazing fantasy series “The Outcast Chronicles”.

The Outcast Chronicles as a series is quite gritty. Prepare to lose a few favourite characters in tragic circumstances. Usually I prefer a few less deaths in my fantasy when I’m reading, but I was not as against it as I would have thought when reading this series. It seemed to bother me more in the second book than the other two, perhaps because one of my favourites was a casualty of Daniells’ ruthless plotting. The benefit of being so vicious with your characters is that the reader will genuinely have no idea who will survive and who won’t, which cranks the tension up to 11 and makes these books serious page turners. Please note: I do not mean the deaths are excessive or incongruous to the story, they make perfect sense and are very realistic in context, I only meant I am accustomed to reading slightly gentler fare.

I’m eager to get my hands on her other series “King Rolen’s Kin”, but finances and time mean that will be a bit later on. If I’m lucky I might read them for a later month of the challenge but there’s so many Australian speculative fiction books I’m looking forward to I don’t know how I’ll fit them all in.

Not the cover of the version I'm reading, but the cover of the first version i read. Kicking early 20's Kirstie for selling it to a second hand bookstore.

Not the cover of the version I’m reading, but the cover of the first version I read. Kicking early 20’s Kirstie for selling it to a second hand bookstore.

For February I’m looking to Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn Chronicles. I’ve read the first three before in my teen years, but haven’t caught up (though I have been buying the books upon release recently). In fact you can blame Carmody for the fact I became a fantasy author because prior to reading her books I wrote horror and slice-of-life even though I was reading David Eddings, Terry Brooks and Robert Jordan already. Hearing she wrote Obernewtyn in high school changed my life and was possibly the moment I realised I wanted to write for a living (it’s the earliest time I remember thinking that even though I wrote and told a lot of stories before this point in my life).

Are you already challenging yourself? If not, join the challenge here or on our Goodreads group. If spec-fic isn’t your cup of tea why not challenge a friend?

And happy Australia Day everyone(both for the actual day yesterday and the public holiday tomorrow).

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