There’s a lot of pressure on any author who has been writing a series since they were 14 as Isobelle Carmody has. She began writing the first book in this series back then and the expectation from the readers is that she will bring her trademark use of words, evoking the world of Obernewtyn, therefore making the next book as memorable as the last one.
Carmody doesn’t disappoint her fans. The Sending is a mysterious journey that takes the reader along for every heart-breaking twist and uplifting moment that central character, Elspeth Gordie experiences.
It opens with Elspeth, having returned to Obernewtyn on command of the Old Ones, preparing for her journey to the Red Land by ship. This journey, she believes, will take her to the Sentinel, a powerful computermachine that she is destined to destroy before it unleashes a terrible fate, similar to that believed to have eliminated the Beforetimers in the years gone by.
Before she can complete her task, she must overcome her fears of physical intimacy, as well as the dark part of herself where her powers have a different purpose than she’d previously believed.
There is a lot of set up for the journey. The first part of the book is dedicated to Elspeth preparing to travel by sea, so she is surprised when Maruman, her cat (whom she communicated with on a psychic level), advises her that she must leave Obernewtyn immediately, without telling another and she is never to return. Though uncertain, she accepts that this is part of her task, secret to most apart from a select few, and leaves with Maruman to begin the trek over the High Mountains.
As her powers become stronger, Elspeth finds that the journey isn’t at all what she anticipated. She is reunited with her friends, the gypsies, who are assigned to aid her on her journey by a powerful seer. Their travels across the Blacklands bring them to Dragon, future true queen of the Red Land, who was abducted at the beginning of the book.
Carmody skilfully brings her reader into the story. Fans of the series will absolutely love this instalment as a lot of previous storylines from earlier books are paid off. Those who haven’t previously read the other books might find themselves a little lost about the characters and place names, but there is enough back stories hinted at that they should be able to pick up who these characters are and what their lives have previously involved.
Fans or not, every reader who picks up this book will be eagerly anticipating the final book in the series due out next year.