As you’d all know, I was really looking forward to reading Isabelle Carmody’s latest. As I slid back into the familiar characters, I felt ten years younger automatically and I was willing the book to take me away. Unfortunately, Carmody failed.
It’s my belief that this book could have been cut by half. There’s a lot of self agonising in the first half of the book, where Elspeth mopes around and nothing happens. She doesn’t even leave Obernewtyn. Almost every other book in the series is characterised by some form of quest. This book seemed to be about the author indulging in thoughts about characters just because she could. There were so many scenes that did absolutely nothing to bring the story forward.
The only thing of note that happens in the first half of the book is that Elspeth finally loses her virginity to Rushton. Apart from this, it was a chore for me to slog through the pages. I was on holiday, yet I kept putting down my book and looking for excuses to do other things than read. Given how much I love to read, that’s saying something.
However, in the second half of the book Elspeth finally sets off on a quest. Things start happening. Maruman, who has always brought life and humour to the books, comes back. True, Elspeth still agonises a lot, but the momentum of the quest brings everything together into something I once again enjoyed reading.
I’m really looking forward to the next book in the series, which I feel will flow well, given that Carmody has set it up so thoroughly with The Sending’s ponderous first half. In truth, I won’t be able to judge how much of a disaster this novel was until I read it to find out how much of the groundwork was needed for the final novel to succeed. However, I have a feeling that there was a serious amount of indulgence allowed.
I’m giving this book a 2.5 out of 5. That includes at least half a point for nostalgia value. The rest goes for the second half, which has just managed to convince me to buy the last book in the series.
Tell me if you disagree with me about this book, but you’d better have a good reason. I really didn’t enjoy it.