Reviews provided by Syndetics
Library Journal Review
In a post-holocaust world of enforced pastoralism and strict adherence to a religion that bans technology, a young woman labeled a misfit or mutant finds herself condemned to a prison farm known as Obernewtyn. There, she encounters others with psychic powers like her own and discovers a dark secret concerning the mysterious triumvirate who control the destinies of the young people assigned to their care. An award-winning author of children's books in Australia, Carmody crafts a thought-provoking tale of courage and sacrifice that should appeal to adult and YA readers alike (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.
Publishers Weekly Review
In the tradition of Andre Norton and Marion Zimmer Bradley, Carmody embarks on a promising new series featuring telepathy, empathy and other psychic talents. On an Earth nearly wiped out by radiation and chemicals that have whitened the sky and poisoned the land, surviving humans have built a semi-agrarian culture. Though their own religious leaders, the Herders, have paranormal powers, they persecute the mutated Misfits, whose psychic abilities they view as a form of subversion. Thus, Elspeth Gordie, an orphan, conceals her exceptional abilities (prophetic visions, the ability to communicate with animals) from the other workers around her. Nonetheless, she is discovered and taken to the legendary Obernewtyn, an isolated town reputedly full of horrors. But instead of the tortures she expects, Elspeth finds friends and learns of the harmful experiments performed elsewhere upon talented Misfits and of the destructive powers that may have survived the Age of Chaos that ruined Earth. Though most of Carmody's characters are clearly bad or good, she avoids blatant stereotyping by imbuing many with conflicting interests. She also presents the Herders' primitive culture in considerable and vivid detail, from Elspeth's arduous ride through the Western Mountains to a farmer's daily life of toil and gossip. Despite their abilities, the Misfits are at the mercy of their superstitious culture and those who run ObernewtynÄa plight that generates convincing plot turns. This is the first novel by Carmody, an Australian children's writer, to appear in the States. Readers will look forward to more. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved
Kirkus Book Review
First of a post-nuclear science-fiction series, and first US outing for this Australian children's writer. Years after the nuclear-holocaust Great White, the repressive, all-powerful Council rules with the help of priestly Herders. Dissenters are condemned and burned; mutant Misfits are sent to the eponymous forbidding mountain fastness. Orphan Elspeth Gordie--her parents were burned--can hear people's thoughts and communicate telepathically with animals. She manages to conceal her deeper abilities from Obernewtyn's visiting Madam Vega, though she's still ordered across the Blacklands to attend the suitably gothic edifice, where she makes friends with Matthew, another telepath, and blind Dameon the empath. In turn, Rushton, the green-eyed overseer whose status and motives are unclear, notices Elspeth. Beautiful Cameo has been "treated," her mind filled with hypnotic blocks. Dr. Seraphim, Elspeth learns, thinks demons lurk in Misfit minds and uses hypnosis to combat them, while Vega and the vicious Alexi seek a telepath to help locate powerful machines hidden since the Beforetime. Terrified, Elspeth feigns feeblemindedness, so Vega and Alexi focus on Cameo--and destroy her mind. The Council, meanwhile, has sent men to apprehend Elspeth. Somehow she must escape, braving the Blacklands, winter snows, and Obernewtyn's insensate, bloodthirsty guardian wolves. For some reason, Rushton's willing to help. Pedestrian and one-dimensional: Carmody's not the first to stumble attempting the transition to an adult audience. Copyright ©Kirkus Reviews, used with permission.