Wavesong – by Isobelle Carmody
True confession: I have a journal in which I keep track of the dates I start and finish books, and according to that journal, it has been almost eight years since I read The Keeping Place, the fourth book in Isobelle Carmody’s Obernewtyn series. Wavesong, which is book five, has been out for several years now, but it’s taken me awhile to finally read it, mostly because I had an ambition to reread the first four beforehand, as I had forgotten the majority of what happened in them. I reread the first two, which was helpful, but I balked at the sizes of books three and four and decided that if I insisted on rereading them too, I might never get around to the newer books. I figured the important things would come back to me, or would be explained in the text anyway, and that turned out to be true. There were some things I wish I remembered better, but my confusion was minimal. The map and character list in the front help. Side note: if you, like my best friend, are put off by books that are complex enough to require maps and character lists, this series probably isn’t for you.
If you haven’t read any of the books in this series, you should definitely start with book one, Obernewtyn . These books are very complex and elaborate, but they’re worth reading. Elspeth Gordie lives in a post-nuclear Holocaust world, where civilization is closer to that of the Middle Ages than the contemporary world and people with Misfit abilities, like telepathy or animal-speech, are persecuted and seen as less than human. In Wavesong, Elspeth travels from Obernewtyn to the lowlands to check on the progress of the upcoming elections in the Land, newly freed from the oppressive Council. However, old enemies are working against her as she finds herself in the midst of an invasion of Herders – fanatical warrior-priests. Taken captive, Elspeth receives help from several unlikely sources, and uncovers an even more sinister plot that could cause the deaths of thousands.
Because of the differences between the Australian and American editions,Wavesong is technically half a book. The fifth book in Australia is called The Stone Key, but when it was published in North America, it was separated into two books: Wavesong and The Stone Key. Therefore, it ends a bit more abruptly than previous books did, although the stopping place is fairly reasonable. Rest assured, I will not be waiting nearly as long before reading book six (or, five and a half?).