Thursday, 17 February 2011

Books Remembered #7: The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody

This is a semi-regular feature I had last year where I reminisce about books or even series that I read over and over again. Or even a book read once that changed the way I looked at life. I wanted to re-introduce it as I wanted to highlight some books that have been out for a while and maybe don't get as much attention as the new releases. It’s not a review of the book(s) but merely remembering the impact it had on me and how it’s shaped my reading habits and likes –what made that book(s) memorable. So this month, I'm remembering The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody.

The Original Cover of The Farseekers when released in the UK

Some books stay with you long after you close the final page – the characters play on your mind and the plot twists’ linger. When I was a teenager one of the first books this happened to me with was The Farseekers by Isobelle Carmody. It was one of the Point Sci-Fi range – an extension of Point Horror, but to be honest it had little Science Fiction involved at first being more of a fantasy bent – or at least that’s how seemed at first. The book focuses on Misfit, Elspeth and her friends who all have different mental abilities and their struggle to survive in a world where anyone with any difference is abhorred and killed. Their home is Obernewtyn in the mountains but The Farseekers follows Elspeth as she and a small group travel the land to a hidden library on the coast where knowledge of the Before time could be found.
I’m not sure what struck me about the story most – misfits who don’t fit into society perhaps rang a cord with my teenage self or the adventure I felt like I should expect from life. Whatever it was I loved it. I felt for Elspeth as she risked the lowlands and discovery in a quest for knowledge. I liked the adventure where an underground river takes them through a buried city...which looks remarkable like one of our present day cities. Even more I liked that Elspeth could talk to animals and they each had their own character and personality.
I soon discovered that The Farseekers was actually the second book in the series and marched straight out to purchase Obernewtyn the first novel. It wasn’t as good to my opinion, but it did set the scene and fill in some background in more detail.  It was obvious the story wasn’t finished at the end of The Farseekers and I was anxious to know what happened next. And nothing. There was no more books to read. Isobelle Carmody hadn’t written them. I had to content myself with re-reading The Farseekers.
Years later as a student I discovered the Internet and made the amazing discovery that there were more Obernewtyn books – in Australia. No UK publisher had picked up the rights so the reason I hadn’t  seen any books in the series was because I lived in the wrong country! Making good use of new credit card I ordered the next two books in the series – Ashling and The Keeping Place and devoured them when they arrived weeks later. The good news – the books were longer, more detailed and more adult – I loved them. The bad news – the series still wasn’t finished – not by a long shot. In the ten years since another two books have been released (Wavesong and The Stone Key), but the story still hasn’t finished! From what I understand there are two more books left to complete the series (The Red Queen and The Sending), which are in the process of being written. At one point they had release dates for 2010 – but alas, it’s now 2011 and no sign. L
This isn’t a complaint as I love the series and still reread all six books regularly. I want the series to finish well – it’s been a great lesson in patience! I've been waiting for 15 years for the story resolution - another couple won't make much difference! But I still remember the excitement of reading The Farseekers and the love of the characters, the story and the writing it installed in me. So I want to finish with a quote that sums this series up for me...
A good book has no ending.  ~R.D. Cumming


  1. Great quote. ;) I love the covers for these as well. I, of course, living in the US never heard of these books. I wonder if it would be easy to get any? Hmm... will have to check it out! Great meme!

  2. Great idea of how to showcase and how to share your love of a book or book series Mel... I feel the same way about the Jean M. Auel books that I thought were finished and my giddiness was unbounded lately when found out there will be a new book coming out in "Earth's Children" series called "The Land Of The Painted Caves" on March 29th...

  3. Woah! GRRM-fans have nothing on you ;-) It sounds like a great series though.

  4. book six, the sending, just came out in Australia! you should order it from Penguin Australia. Love these books so much!