All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

The Farseekers – Isobelle Carmody

on July 13, 2012

The Farseekers
Isobelle Carmody
Penguin AU
2010 (originally 1990), 312p
Re-read from my personal collection

Please note that this post will contain **SPOILERS** for the first book in this series, Obernewtyn

It’s been two years since Elspeth and Rushton successfully ousted Alexi and Madam Varga from Obernewtyn and Rushton took his rightful place as the Master. Since then it’s been a peaceful place to live, with the ‘Misfits’ embracing their differences, even establishing ‘guilds’ where they can join and better hone their particular talents. It has become a refuge for others just like them and due to their location they’ve been relatively unbothered by the Council. Elspeth uses her position as mistress of the Farseeker guild to propose a joint expedition with the Technoguild – the Technoguild has picked up on a powerful talent and the Technoguild believe they have discovered a location with Beforetime artifacts and possibly books they could learn from. The mission will be dangerous, as it means leaving the safety of Obernewtyn and Rushton is reluctant to let Elspeth go.

He is outvoted though and the expedition is approved and plans made and set in place. Rushton has his own mission, intending to use someone to infiltrate the Council and establish a base nearby so that they may gather their own intelligence which will come in handy if they are to protect themselves. The unlikely band of information gatherers set off but their expedition is derailed almost immediately. They hear of plans of the Council to visit Obernewtyn early and split up to send people back to Obernewtyn to warn Rushton while the rest continue on in a detoured fashion to find and rescue the powerful Talent and attempt to discover what they can about the Beforetime.

Elspeth has always wondered why animals often call her “Innle” or “the Seeker”, thinking it was some harmless nickname regarding a mythical creature. Alone and almost at the point of death after a firestorm, she will learn that the weaponmachines from the Beforetime have not been destroyed and it will be her role to find them and destroy them before her opposite can and use them in order to create something even more devastating than the Great White.

I have to apologise, because that might be the most inadequate summary of a book in history. In re-reading these books for Giraffe Days Obernewtyn Read-a-long, I am discovering so many new things about a series I’ve already been reading for fifteen plus years! However I’ve never read The Farseekers with the benefit of having read so many later books in the series before and I was immediately awed by just how many things are set in motion in this book that don’t come to fruition for several books. So much is happening here it’s almost impossible to talk about it all – and all of this is happening in a book that is just 312 pages!

In the beginning we learn that it’s been some time since the end of the previous novel and that things at Obernewtyn are now very different to how they were in the first novel. Rushton’s idea of a refuge for Misfits is coming to fruition and even though he’s staked his claim with the Council, they assume that after the spring thaw, people will make their way out to investigate what is going on and make sure nothing untoward is taking place. Elspeth is content for now, she’s Mistress of the farseeker guild (although really she could’ve led just about any of the guilds, given her broad range of talent) and when the Technoguild inform her that they’ve registered a powerful talent at the furthest range they can seek, she proposes a joint expedition to rescue this Talent and also to grant the Technoguild access to the beforetime relics they believe are in the same area. Rushton is reluctant, for reasons fairly obvious to the reader (even reading it first time around) but Elspeth is quite willfully ignorant, believing it’s because he doesn’t wish to lose a guild mistress and therefore upset the balance at Obernewtyn.

The very small seeds of a future relationship were sowed between them in Obernewtyn but the book ended without any development. Elspeth’s solitary lifestyle and also her increasing knowledge of her Quest and the role she must play makes her further reluctant to really establish too many ties with people – especially a romantic bonding. Isobelle Carmody has a rather awesome ability to create ways in which they exchange a couple of moments and then don’t see each other for at least half of the book. This is frustrating, but necessary to keeping both the story lines intact and also their relationship on the back burner. It is important but it is by far not the most important thing happening here – that is always the Quest and the various paths in which Elspeth must take in order to successfully undertake it.

Re-reading this I was just amazed at how many things made more sense from later books now that I’d refreshed my memory with this one. Although I’ve waited lengthy times for books to be released, I’ve never actually undertaken a total re-reading from start to finish which I probably should have done before The Stone Key (book 5) and probably also before The Sending (book 6). There is so much going on that it’s easy to forget who one person was that Elspeth met three books ago and what they said to her, but suddenly it crops up again. There are people introduced here that seem inconsequential, there are things that happen that seem relatively unimportant at a first read. But I’ve realised that they are so important, everything here is written with such care to detail. There is nothing superfluous in these books at all. I’m even more impressed now – this book was written over twenty years ago and little seeds laid here are now being fully realised, all this time later.

When I first read this, I’d have rated it an 8. But I’ve honestly had to change it to a 9 on this re-read simply because I had such an amazing experience re-immersing myself in it and realising just how much this book contains that is important in later books in regards to people, events and information.

9/10

Book #133 of 2012

Book #2 of the Obernewtyn Reading Marathon – July was the month to read the second novel, The Farseekers

The Farseekers is the 47th novel read and reviewed by an Australian woman writer for the challenge in 2012


5 responses to “The Farseekers – Isobelle Carmody

  1. VeganYANerds says:

    I love that you enjoyed this a lot more once you’d re-read it, I always worry about whether or not my opinion of a book will change.

    This sounds like another fantastic book that I must read!

  2. […] stating “[t]his is a serious book, and really, it could be a version of the future.” Bree @ 1girl2manybooks, who re-read the series in 2012, reviews The Farseekers, the second book of the series and […]

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