The Obernewtyn Chronicles #5 – The Stone Key by Isobelle Carmody

The Stone Key – #5 in the Obernewtyn Chronicles

Cover of the Stone Key from

Yes this is the Fifth book in the series, but we have some clarification to get through! The Stone Key was published in 2008. And let me tell you it is a monster book (I’ll get a picture up comparing all of them when I get a chance). It clocks out at 1000 pages, seriously. Not many books are published that are 1000 pages, so this created an issue (especially for something that isn’t Harry Potter). In Australia and possibly New Zealand (where ever Penguin books are distributed) this was published as one single book. But in the US and UK , Random house and Bloomsbury decided that it would be too big. Here is what Isobelle Carmody had to say on the split.

“The American Random House book Wavesong will be the first half of The Stone Key with an ending and a few changes to allowme to smooth the cut. The Random version of The Stone Key will be the second half of The Stone Key with a new beginning.
“I have no say at all in this.
Penguin Australia made the deal with Random and it appears mostly to be because the Americans feel the books are too big for the younger audience they would sell them to, I think.

Of course I wrote The Stone Key as a single book, and even with tweaking for me, the Australia single book version is preferable.
But the good thing about it from my point of view is that many foreign publishers can’t afford to translate such a huge book, and so this will make it much more accessible to translation.”

So that is the reasoning behind the split. But it creates A LOT of confusion for people. Since Australia’s Stone Key is book 5, but

Wavesong Cover – Courtesy of Bloomsbury

America and the UK have Stone Key as book 6. Which means, that there is another book, called Wavesong that completes the chronicles. Now, I own The Stone Key (Aus), and I have seen a copy of Wavesong at my local library (which is strange since it IS Australian). But I will be reviewing the Australian, full, version. Now this clearly means that there will be differences (something that I am interested to find out, and I will find the copy and detail them to you when I get close to the split) but clearly they can’t be game changingly different. It will be interesting to see what differences there are.

Looking at the cover of Wavesong, it is interesting to see a dolphin. Does this mean we will find out more about the shipfish? Other than that, who knows what will be coming. The cover of The Stone Key, is very similar to all the others that have gone before (as they have all been done in the same style). Maruman is once again present, but Elspeth seems to be very ‘Gypsy’ with her headwear. There seem to be crystals around the place, alluding to the stone, but what that means, we will have to wait and see.

Now the very interesting thing is, that as I said this was published in 2008. And it was around that time that I first read Obernewtyn. But if you can recall, The Keeping Place was written back in 1999! Seriously there was an 11 year gap! I think it is clear why I keep mentioning that timeframes for Obernewtyn are flexible, and you could wait a long time for the next instalment. Sadly I have heard that even then, Isobelle Carmody was pressured into finishing the book and made to release it before it was ready. Even so, the story will be an interesting one, and honestly, unless there are glaring issues, they won’t be a problem.

There is a brand new map, which Isobelle mentions in her foreword. She has given the series a new look with the help of a friend. The map looks amazing, and you can seen the difference between the previous version and this one. There are a few added things, but I won’t point them out, since they are clearly spoilers. I can’t wait to begin, and I hope you will join me!