Book three in the series, is significantly longer than ‘The Farseekers’ and they only get longer from here. Interestingly the chapter sizes also increase, so there will be MUCH more to cover for each post (which may cause a few issues with length, but I’ll deal with that when it occurs, especially in book four!). There are 521 and 43 chapters so a lot more is going to happen, which is exciting.
Ashling was published in 1995, so five years after The Farseekers. The cover is again similar to all the previous (as the ‘illustrator’ has employed the same theme for all books in this edition). This time though we see Elspeth in a desert, with presumably Gahltha at her side. Now we haven’t come across deserts previously in the Land, so this brings up the possibility that we are going to be travelling to new lands. It will be interesting to see (if this is indeed the case) what the people of this land are like, and what their take on The Great White is, and how this challenges The Herder faction and the Council. I think that because these two ‘Land’ organisations have been so aggressive with their beliefs and have strongly rejected (or at least have strongly promoted otherwise) the existence of other lands and of other people it will be very interesting to see how they use this new information and try to fit it in with their dogma. So how will the ‘discovery’ affect their power, and what will the general public think of these new people and places (assuming I am correct). And what of Misfits? Are there any in this land, and do they have similar powers?
Of course I could read the blurb to find out what is going to happen, but I’d prefer not to, to make sure nothing is ruined, or ‘triggered’ (because I have read this book before, but I try to keep my commentary to what is going on in the frame of mind of a first-read, which I wish I could have recorded).
Opening the book up we see two dedications, and for the first time (at least to my knowledge) an acknowledgement page for those people that have inspired Isobelle with ideas and assisted create her world. As always there is a map, and this time, things have changed. Now this actually reveals the existence of new lands (so I guess this isn’t really a ‘secret’) and has included the Agyllian Ken atop the mountains, and shows where exactly the Blacklands are, which seems to be most places. I’m going to avoid talking much more about this new place, and leave it for future chapter reviews.
For now, all there is to do is start the book and continue the Obernewtyn journey, and there is a long way to go!