The Sending by Isobelle Carmody

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Penguin, 2011.
(Age: 15+) In the sixth and penultimate book in the Obernewtyn Chronicles, we see Elspeth Gordie the former outsider Misfit and now a Guildmistress of Obernewtyn struggling with her destiny as the saviour of The Land. Being the only person who can disarm Sentinel, the dormant computer that controls the Balance of Terror arsenal, she awaits the final summons that will begin her quest. If she fails the entire world will be destroyed, but if she does succeed, she will have to leave The Land and all that she loves behind forever.
I had only read the first three books in this series many years ago, so prior to reading The Sending, I decided to read all the books. This may have been a mistake as without the lapse of years between books, I found the constant reference to previous events repetitive. While I enjoy a good big read, this story progresses very slowly and became a little monotonous in its detail and description. There are endless discussions and meetings and list making on what to pack for the sea voyage to the Red Land and planning for the Moon Day Festival. It takes far too long for anything related to the quest to actually happen - close to 400 pages pass before she sets off on her final journey. Because of the complexity of this vast set-up, I struggled to remain interested, especially with only the first person narrative of Elspeth to follow.
It does have passages of wonderful, descriptive writing and I did enjoy the 'voice' of the wild wolf pack, and the way Elspeth struggles with her dark side. In the end however, I found it hard to maintain concern with the manoeuvrings, and what the eventual outcome will be. This is not a bad or unworthy book, but I think I've been spoilt by reading some outstanding and fascinating fantasy and sci-fi novels recently.
I'm sure fans of Isobelle Carmody will find much to love in this book, and are eagerly awaiting the final book due out next year, when all the many questions and story threads will finally be resolved.
Alicia Papp