Woops it looks like I forgot about there being an introduction so that adds another post to make it a total of thirty posts. Even though the introduction is relatively small, I think there will be plenty to talk about.
There is a map that is really our first dip into the world of Obernewtyn. Of course, none of these things actually makes sense to someone who is reading this book for the first time, it is just a bunch of random locations, but they will become apparent as time goes on. I like the inclusion of a map because it gives a definitive version of the distances and locations of the places in the world as thought of by the author. It isn’t a necessity because sometimes it is easy enough for the reader to imagine the entire world, but the land of Obernewtyn appears to be quite large, and its size is shown by the inclusion of a map. I would be interested in a first-time readers ‘opinion’ of the map is, and what they think all the places might be.
But let’s read the first ‘chapter’ and delve into a magical world!
I’d really love to know what I thought when I first read this introduction (of course I will never know) because of course it paints and interesting and very different and confronting image of the world that we are about to enter. It talks of a holocaust, which immediately is not something good, it is a very powerful word and its use is appropriate. It became known as ‘the Great White’ and many people died. This was caused by lingering radiation, so obviously it was a nuclear holocaust, but there were a few survivors that were spared by chance or coincidence and it actually reminds me of ‘Z for Zachariah’ by Robert C. O’Brien, which is also a wonderful read. Those that were spared the radiation and its devastating consequences had to fight to save their land from those who survived the radiation but lost their homes and were badly injured and affected by the radiation. That scene would just be terrifying, those near ‘zombies’ coming towards your home begging for help, and you knowing that you can’t help them and that you have to fight them to save yourself. It would be a tough life.
This time of siege was called ‘the Age of Chaos’ and lasted an unknown period of time until there were no more survivors from the ravaged cities. To protect their homes in the future (as they did not know if there would be further attacks) the most powerful farmers formed a Council. There were only a few who came to the land, but they were far from ‘human’ they had lost their minds and were badly injured from their experiences in the ‘black lands’ that were plain destruction and death. Some of these people swore allegiance to the Council and were able to live in the community, and peace was born.
As time went on it was obvious that the Council and the land were not completely spared of the affects of radiation. As we know there are long-term side-effects to radiation that don’t present themselves for many years. These mainly were mutations in both animals and humans themselves. The Council not aware of the effects of the radiation which was the reason of the mutations feared these mutations and felt that they threatened their land, and as such all mutations must be burned. These were done as a ‘ritual’ to make it sound less barbaric, and reminded people that they were spared from the holocaust and should be grateful.
Soon the Council created a new religion to perform the burnings, they were called the Herder Faction. They believed that the holocaust was a punishment from God, who they named Lud. Over time, religious ideas and notions became law, and all machines, books and other artefacts from the old world were destroyed. Some were reluctant, but the Council now had an army of ‘soldierguards’ to enforce their laws, and anyone who opposed them were burned as Seditioners, or a lesser punishment as being labelled Unsafe and sent to work on the Councilfarms.
As time went on the Herders became aware that not all mutations were physical and apparent at birth, and that some manifested years later when the child was older. It was these afflictions of the mind that proved difficult because proving someone as a mutant was hard when they were thought to be normal for many years. So these ‘new types’ of mutants would not be burnt but would be sent to Councilfarms where they would harvest a deadly radioactive material called ‘whitestick’. These new mutants were called ‘Misfits’.
The time was dark and violent but slowly the land expanded as The Great White receded and new towns were created. Hundreds of children, at the hands of the Council, were left orphaned each year, and orphan homes had to be quickly introduced to deal with the large number of orphans that no relative wanted. The community were wary of the orphans as they were children of Seditioners or Misfits, and were as such, dangerous.
That is the end of the introduction, and it provides us with a lot of information. I think it is necessary and it sets the scene wonderfully and provides us with the context of the fantasy world, which can be hard to place into the body of text of the storyline, without it seeming random and forced in. So this sort of ‘detached’ introduction made by some omnipresent narrator is a good one. I am quite excited about sharing this world with everyone, and I hope you all enjoy it as much as I do!