The third book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, and what a book it was. So much happened. Thinking back to the beginning, I hardly remember that the first thing that we saw was the finding of the Reichler Clinic, and then the interruption by Maryon’s futuretelling (it was that long ago, that what I just said is actually wrong, and the first thing is the Herder trying to burn Iriny to the stake and then Elspeth stepping up to save her). That of course sent Elspeth and Matthew (and without their knowledge Dragon) to Sutrium. Sutrium was filled with fast paced action, with event after event. Not really in the right order because things have started to blur together, but just a quick overview. Matthew was being unnecessarily harsh to Dragon, which sent her to run away, where Elspeth was forced to knock her out. In doing so, the good news for Elspeth was it sent her to Swallow (even after getting whipped for TOUCHING some guys cloth!). Bad news though, Dragon was sent into a coma. Having found Swallow, Elspeth organised to get Iriny to him, in exchange for information and a tattoo that would allow her safe passage. But even though Swallow applies the tattoo it later vanishes. Elspeth is also caught up in another prophesy this time with the Gypsies and Swallow. Then there is the whole issue with slavers, and Idris is killed, and then we meet Daffyd again. Then their plans to outsmart Salamander fails miserably, and Matthew is sent away as a slave, to a far unknown land.
Even after all that Elspeth had no time to rest, as she had to go and meet the rebels to discuss their alliance. The outcome of the meeting was a call from Jakoby to settle the disagreement in the Sadorian fashion of The Battlegames. And we find out that there could be a person worse than Ariel (who appears again briefly) in the world, called Malik. Coincidentally (well sent by Maryon’s predictions) Rushton and co are waiting for Elspeth ready to journey to Sador and find the right path to follow. They get to Sador and find out just how hot the place is, and then the next day it is time for the Battlegames. Where there is so much action I had to split chapters up into two, just to fit everything in. The Misfits are compelled by their compassionate natures while the rebels are compelled by their barbaric, animalistic, violent natures. The two are polar opposites, but in the end it is the rebels that lose two of their peers, and not the Misfits (despite the constant attempts by the rebels). Bram announces the rebels as the winners, but makes a good point that the rebels have shown themselves to be more monstrous than the ‘un-human Misfits’.
Once again, things reach a climax, as Elspeth suddenly collapses and is sent into a dream state. She is venturing too close to the mind-stream which means death, and for the first time Atthis contacts her directly. Coming out of this state, she realises some of the importance of her journey, but this is compounded when the overguardian of the Earth Temple shows her the carvings done by Kasanda. She also learns that there are five signs she must find, and it is then that the overguardian will help her. Returning to her friends, she finds Rushton depressed and uninspired. Elspeth finally understands that her journey in the future should not impact her life, and she FINALLY communicates with Rushton on how she feels. And FINALLY Rushton and Elspeth share their love for one another and it looks like they will be together!!! Obernewtyn now understands that violence is not the answer, and they must teach everyone they are not inhuman, and not monsters, and they move away from war into empathy.
There you have it, an overview of Ashling and there is so much still to come. The Obernewtyn Chronicles only continue to improve, and as the storyline thickens and heats up there will be much more to discuss and enjoy. I think Ashling is the first book that is actually the ‘meat’ of the storyline, instead of introducing the world. But yet, there is so much that is new information and new locations, that the world continues to develop, as it will for the remaining books because it is such a detailed and rich world that there is always something new to find. The next book will be interesting as Obernewtyn have moved away from the rebels in their alliance, and have started to try to win over the public and convince them they are not monsters and can be trusted. There are so many loose ends at the end of this book, and I know that we will not get all the answers in ‘The Keeping Place’ but I look forward to finding out more. Especially about Sador and Dragon. How will Dragon do now back at Obernewtyn, and will she remain in a coma forever? And the rebellion is looming, even if they are not in an alliance, big changes are going to happen around them. And we can’t forget the Gypsies and Elspeth connection to them, and of course Elspeth’s fate which is slowly being pieced together (though we still know very little).
No matter how amazing prediction skills could ever get, I could never figure out everything that will happen in the next book and that’s a good thing. I will still be surprised at what is going to happen and what new things we will learn about! I can’t wait.
Tomorrow will be a post on a different book by Isobelle Carmody, and let me tell you that book is AMAZING!