Saturday, July 31, 2010

Scatterlings by Isobelle Carmody

Carmody, Isobelle - Scatterlings Merlin awakes from a terrifying accident not knowing who, or where she is. All she knows for certain, is that this is not her world ... Bewildered and alone, Merlin sets out through an alien landscape to try and discover the truth about herself - as terrifying as it may be.

I discovered Isobelle Carmody through her Obernewtyn series, and as I always do with any author I like, I toddled off to check out her backlist.

This post-apocalyptic tale was the one that interested me most (although I hope to try out her fantasy some time too) and when I saw the ebook on sale, I bought it, downloaded it and let it sit on my phone until I was ready to read it. After finishing Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang, I decided to stick with the end-of-the-world theme and give Scatterlings a go.

First up, this is a children's book, probably aimed at preteens around 10 - 12 (although I have no experience with picking ages for books so don't take that as gospel). All the same, it is a nice, easy little read for an adult and I enjoyed it.

It doesn't have a lot of depth, but I did think that it matched the idea of the worth of survival against the need to preserve technology that I found in Where Late the Sweet Birds Sang. The Citizen gods in their domes are determined to survive, even if their time has passed and they are willing to use anyone and anything required to do it.
Meanwhile, the clans have adapted to survive in this new world (the cause of the old world's demise is never really addressed by the way) and their society is disrupted and thrown into upheaval by the intrusion of the Citizen gods.

I really liked the concept of honesty among the clans, and the way that the presence of telepathy made lying essentially obsolete. In many ways, this was the greatest difference between the old world and the new, not biology or technology but honesty.

There is not a lot of depth to the characters here, but I'm not sure that it was ever intended. This is a adventure story wrapped around a mystery and it does do both those things well.

The main character is Merlin, who at the beginning of the book wakes with no memory of who she is. I don't want to say anything about this as any discussion would involve spoiling the solution to the mystery, which I don't want to do. All I will say is that the answer is not what you might expect and very clever. I also liked the answer Merlin found to solve the main dilemma, one that managed to think of both sides of the problem and avoid lots of wanton destruction.

There is also an unexpected twist at the end that I thought was particularly well done. The solution was an apt one that was obvious when you stopped to think about it, but not something I had anticipated. In a way, that leaves the ending quite open, but to me it felt well finished all the same.

While nothing to blow the mind, I found this a very enjoyable story and I'm glad I found it and read it. If you'd like a pleasant little read and you see this in a second-hand bookshop or library, I'd recommend picking it up.

Isobelle Carmody 
Read: 28-7-10 to 31-7-10

1 comment:

orannia said...

I'm never read any of Isobelle Carmody's books, but I am tempted.