Guest post: The Obernewtyn Chronicles

Guest post: The Obernewtyn Chronicles

The Oaken Bookcase > Blog > Discover Aussie Fantasy > Guest post: The Obernewtyn Chronicles

This guest post was written by Bree from All The Books I Can Read (@1girl2manybooks). It is part of the Discover Australian Fantasy feature, running all July on The Oaken Bookcase. Please visit the Aussie Fantasy page to see the other reviews and articles and also to enter the giveaway – you could win a signed copy of Obernewtyn!

Penguin 1993 cover

I’ve always been a series reader. It started when I was 7, reading The Babysitters Club books and continued on to Thoroughbreds and The Saddle Club through my horse-mad years and Sweet Valley High/University in my tweens/early teens. I love getting to know characters and being around to see them grow and change over the course of the series. There’s something very comforting in picking up a book and knowing that you’re familiar with the people inside. But while those series have come and gone…there’s one that has not.

I didn’t have a lot of friends that read growing up. When I was 10 I met a new girl to my primary school named Natalie and she was as crazy about books as I was. When I moved away about a year later, we stayed in touch writing letters. There was no email, no facebook, no internet then so we wrote to each other every week. And those letters often contained recommendations to each other of new books we’d read and loved recently.

When we were 14, Natalie recommended Obernewtyn to me, by Isobelle Carmody. At the time there were three books published in this series, The Obernewtyn Chronicles: the aforementioned Obernewtyn, The Farseekers and Ashling. My local library had them all and I swallowed my apprehension at the fact that they didn’t really sound like something I was interested in reading and borrowed them immediately.

Before starting The Obernewtyn Chronicles, I didn’t read fantasy. And only on the fact that they’d been highly recommended to me by someone who I knew enjoyed most of the same books I did, led me to read them at all. I like to think that even if I’d never met Nat and she’d never recommended me these books, then I’d still have found the Obernewtyn books. Because they’ve been a part of my life for so long now that I barely remember a time when I was not reading them. I was introduced to Elspeth Gordie, Rushton Seraphim, Matthew, Dameon and the world of Obernewtyn and I immediately fell in love with these books. I borrowed them from the library time and time again and Natalie and I  discussed scenes, characters and possibilities at length. By now I was over halfway through high school and Natalie was still my only friend that read, the only person I could talk to about books.

This series has always been special to me because it represents more than just an amazing series of books – and it is that. I’ve been re-reading them recently as a 30yo adult for a challenge leading up to the release of the last book and they’re still just as fabulous as I remember and maybe even more so. I now appreciate the thought that goes into the them, the carefully laid storytelling in a way that I couldn’t in my early teens. Since discovering book blogging I’ve found so many more people to talk to about books and I spend many hours doing just that. It’s a passionate community and I love that there’s now so many people in my life who love reading just as much as I do and love talking about books. But for a long time I never had that and these books remind me of a time when I would check the mail every day, waiting for a letter from a friend so that once again, I could talk about books.

Puffin 1996 cover

The first Obernewtyn book was published in 1987 – 25 years ago. There are 6 books – I think the longest I personally waited was 8 years between books 4 and 5. And everyone I’ve met who reads these says the same thing – so good but so long between them! But it says something about these books that no one really minds. I don’t know a single person who has said to me, oh I liked those books well enough but I couldn’t be bothered waiting so I just gave up on them. For many reasons, The Obernewtyn Chronicles inspire loyalty within its readers. We might moan about the length of time it takes to be able to read the next book, but it’s like a club. How long have you been waiting? Oh not long I only discovered them a couple of years ago. Oh lucky you, I’ve been reading them over 10 years! This series has so many dedicated fans as do Isobelle Carmody’s other works that we are happy to wait. It might be agonising but the minute we see that new book in the shops, it’s all worth it.

The Red Queen will be released next year and I’ll admit to having mixed feelings about the series finally drawing to a close. On one hand, I’m waiting with baited breath to see what the result of Elspeth’s final quest is, the fate of the characters I’ve come to love. On the other I’m sad that these characters, who have been around for so long, are nearing the end of their story. I know Carmody plans some spin offs and novellas, about the Beforetime and perhaps at other times in the Obernewtyn world, which will be fantastic. But I know when I’m holding The Red Queen I’ll be torn between opening it and not. Because opening it will mean saying goodbye.

– Bree, All The Books I Can Read

The Obernewtyn Chronicles

Obernewtyn (1987)

The Farseekers (1990)

Ashling (1995)

The Keeping Place (1999)

The Stone Key (2008)

The Sending (2011)

The Red Queen (coming late 2013)

Please note: In USA and Canada, The Stone Key was split and released as two books – Wavesong and The Stone Key. The final book will also be split there, with the first part as yet unnamed and the final part called The Red Queen.

3 thoughts on “Guest post: The Obernewtyn Chronicles

  1. Angelya says:

    Thanks so much Bree <3 If there's one thing I've discovered from doing this DAF month, it's that there are waaaay more obsessive Obernewtyn fans out there than just me (I mean, more than I thought there were) xD
    I can't wait for The Red Queen, but at the same time, it'll be sad to see such an epic series coming to a close.

  2. Natalie Cleary says:

    Ive never heard of this series before and Im so happy it was spotlighted. It sounds like my kind of books!! Ive added all to my wishlist 🙂

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