Isobelle Carmody Reviews: Scatterlings

Review by Nef. Back to all Isobelle Carmody Book Reviews [hr][/hr] ScatterlingsThe oft overlooked Scatterlings is one of Isobelle Carmody’s earlier works. Set inside a post apocalyptic world, this novel looks at how the present world and our actions in it can and will affect future generations. Merlin wakes up in an ambulance. A crashed ambulance. She doesn’t know where she is or how she came to be there. She doesn’t even really know who she is. All she has to go on is what the voices in her head tell her – and the information they give her doesn’t match the world around her. Because Merlin has woken up to find the world she knows is long dead. The cities Merlin remembers are now ruins, the trees are unnaturally large and nothing is familiar. And then there are the people: savages with yellow eyes, the ability to read minds, and an inability to lie. Merlin has yellow eyes too and she can communicate telepathically... but she can lie. The only people who look familiar are the ones in the radiation suits. But they are looking for her and she doesn’t entirely trust them. The savages think of them as gods, but Merlin knows better. Lacking the memory of what has happened to her, Merlin has to rely on her own judgment, and the voices, in order to decide whom to trust. ScatterlingsThe one thing Merlin needs to do is find out who she is. But to do that she has to negotiate a delicate society on the brink of rebellion, to lie her way past people who cannot lie – or at least, who can read your mind to find out if you are lying. With the intense rebel Ford showing more interest in her than she’s comfortable with, Merlin wants to learn whether she belongs in this world, and why she has memories of things so far in the past as to be impossible. And the voices in her head can’t help her with that ... This is quite possibly my favourite book by Isobelle Carmody. It has a lot of similarities to Obernewtyn (post-apocalyptic world, nuclear fallout, mental powers), but at the same time it explores very different ideas and attacks the idea from an entirely different angle. I like to think of this book as an insight into where the Oberchrons are possibly headed. I have a fascination with IC’s standalone novels as I find it fascinating to get an idea of how IC envisages the end of a story (having waited so long for the end of the Oberchrons). Quite apart from the Oberchron insights this book affords, I love this story. Merlin is an intense but sympathetic character, and I just love Ford. I also love the old Connell Lee cover – the artwork is amazing and (which is sometimes not the case in book art) gives a fairly good indication of what the book is about. The story itself is a great blend of sci-fi technology, adventure, a personal quest, and an examination of what it is to have free will. I remember buying this Scatterlings in the winter school holidays at my favourite local bookshop. Every time I read this, I think of a the pale sun of a winter morning and carrying my brand new book in a paper bag. As I said, this book is often overlooked, but it’s definitely worth a read. Be warned, however, that this book may be difficult to find, so and jump on it when you find it. [hr][/hr] Back to all Isobelle Carmody Book Reviews