Isobelle Carmody Reviews: Ashling, Book Three in the Obernewtyn Chronicles

Review by Nef. Back to all Isobelle Carmody Book Reviews [hr][/hr] Ah Ashing. That scene, that phrase and THAT word. Ravek If you don't know what Ravek is, then you have to read the book and find out! It’s the sort of thing we obernetters live and breath for: the will-they/won’t-they question being answered with a word that must be translated! AshlingOf course there is other stuff going on in the book, but really it’s just a background for that one scene. Actually, Ashling is possibly the most interesting of the books to read, because this book is where all the quest stuff REALLY starts cooking. The other books have Elspeth’s quest hovering in the background looking over Elspeth's shoulder, but they are really very ober-centric stories of how Elspeth came to have a home (building us up to break our hearts later when Elspeth has to leave that home …). In Ashling, Elspeth starts actively searching for answers to her own quest beyond the safe confines of Obernewtyn. There is rather a lot going on in this book, so bear with me as I try to explain it coherently with as few spoilers as possible. This story is in two parts, really: There’s the Sutrium part, then there’s the Sador part. So anyway, Elspeth goes all superman and saves a gypsy from a burning stake, only to be ordered (as only Maryon can order) to give the gypsy back to her family within seven days ... in Sutrium. If she doesn't, everyone is going to die in the next year ... so there's no pressure or anything. Since she's going anyway, an increasing moody Rushton turns management and asks Elspeth to performance manage Brydda and Domick, both of whom have been uncommunicative in recent times. So our intrepid middle-management heroine sets off down south with her noble cat, trusty horse, and Matthew (just ‘cos). Joining this professional-looking group is the love-lorn stowaway Dragon, who follows Matthew through pouring rain. Elspeth wastes no time causing trouble in the market place (with not a little help from Dragon) getting into arguments with misfit-phobic rebels, being pursued by a mysterious gypsy, and involving herself in plots to catch the slave trader Salamander. Add into the mix a hint of Dragon’s past, a grizzly murder of an old friend and a glimpse of Ariel, and you can see that this is not your average rescue and recovery expedition. With everything going skew-wiff (in particular for Dragon and Matthew, who both find themselves in rather difficult circumstances), help arrives in the form of a test to see if the misfits are suitable to join the rebels. With Maryon's uncanny ability to see the future pushing the story along, off sets a team (perhaps not exactly the most suitable team, but you get what you're given with Maryon), headed by Elspeth and Rushton, to prove their might! AshlingBut of special concern to Elspeth is the new girl Freya, with whom the now downright surly Rushton seems to be interested. For Elspeth, will the battlegames become not only a fight for Obernewtyn, but a fight for her life? And has she lost Rushton for good? So that’s the story, briefly (and trust me, I cut that down to the bare bones!). This is the first book I had to wait for (in that I had to get my sisters to post it to me from Australia), and back then, I thought 3 months was a long time (of course, 14 years later, it doesn’t seem so bad). I have to say that I was not disappointed. Anything that makes you squee like I did at the end is COMPLETELY worth the wait. Ashling is a more mature book than the previous two. You can certainly see Isobelle’s style developing, and the plot, although it sounds complicated when boiled down to gravy above, flows coherently and leaves you quite on the edge of your seat. You have to love this book just for the introduction of the new characters that crop up – Jakoby, Swallow, Dardelan, and Bruna. Their introduction is actually quite interesting – they don’t actually do much in the book, but because it’s been around so long, when they crop up in the later books, they just seem like instant old friends rather than people you have to be re-introduced to. I quite like that facet of these chronicles – familiarity breeds acceptance, so the characters all grow far larger in your mind than perhaps they are on the page. We also are introduced to the nefarious Malik (yeah – remember him? He seems like ancient history now) and it’s the first time we find out about Salamander. The more I talk about this book, the more I realise just HOW much plot is contained in it. IC was on fire! But of course, it was all just background for THAT scene. You know the one I mean. Sucks to be a Dameon-shipper! [hr][/hr] Back to all Isobelle Carmody Book Reviews
    12 years ago

    But Min, jelly Rushton is adorable ;R
    [act]shrugs[/act] I guess green is just his colour. I mean, it matches his eyes so well ^^;

    [ edited 04 Feb 2012 : 18:54 ]

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    12 years ago

    Sucks to be a Dameon-shipper!

    [act]shakes fist[/act] we regret nothing! NOTHING! :P

    Ah Ashing. That scene, that phrase and THAT [strike]word[/strike] moment.

    This is touching.

    [ edited 03 Feb 2012 : 19:22 ]

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