Alyzon Whitestarr

Alyzon Whitestarr 1

by Isobelle Carmody

Paperback / softback Age range: 12+ years old Publication Date: 12/04/2016

5/5 Rating 1 Reviews
RRP  $24.95 $19.95
Alyzon Whitestarr doesn't take after her musically talented father or her nocturnal, artistic mother. In fact, she's the most normal member of a very eccentric family until the day that an accident leaves her more unique than she ever could have dreamed. When she wakes from a coma after an accident suddenly colours are more vibrant. Her memory is flawless; but strangest of all is Alyzon's sense of smell. She can smell people's feelings, view flashes of their lives and perceive their essences. Her best friend smells of a comforting sea breeze. She registers her father's contentment as the sweet scent of caramelised sugar. With Alyzon's extrasensory perception comes intrigue and danger, as she discovers the dark secrets and hidden ambitions that threaten her family. In the end, being different might be less of a blessing than a curse.
General fiction (Children's / Teenage)
Age range:
12+ years old
Paperback / softback
Publication Date:
Ford Street Publishing
Dimensions (mm):
Isobelle Carmody

Isobelle Carmody is one of Australia's most highly acclaimed authors of fantasy. At fourteen, she began Obernewtyn, the first book in her much-loved Obernewtyn Chronicles, and has since written many works in this genre. Her novel The Gathering was joint winner of the 1993 Children's Literature Peace Prize and the 1994 CBCA Book of the Year Award, and Greylands was joint winner of the 1997 Aurealis Award for Excellence in Speculative Fiction (Young Adult category), and was named a White Raven at the 1998 Bologna Children's Book Fair.

Isobelle's work for younger readers includes her two series, The Legend of Little Fur, and The Kingdom of the Lost, the first book of which, The Red Wind, won the CBCA Book of the Year Award for Younger Readers in 2011. She has also written several picture books as well as collections of short stories for children, young adults and adults.

After living in Europe for more than a decade, these days Isobelle divides her time in Australia between her home on the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, and Brisbane, where she is working on a PhD at the University of Queensland. She lives with her partner and daughter, and a shadow-black cat called Mitya.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating

5 / 5 (1 Ratings)
  • Alyzon Whitestarr

    by on

    Alyzon Whitestarr

    Isobelle Carmody

    Publisher: Ford Street Publishing (first published by Penguin Group)

    Format: Paperback

    RRP: ISBN: 9781925272185

    Reviewer: Tim Harris

    One of my favourite things about non-realist fiction is the capacity it gives writers to use fantastical elements to express nebulous, intangible concepts. In Alyzon Whitestarr, Isobelle Carmody does this very well, presenting a nuanced exploration of human nature and our equal capacity for both good and evil through the lens of Alyzon's heightened senses, all the while telling a great, suspenseful story.

    The narrative's pacing is spot on. There's always something to keep the pages turning, be it mystery and intrigue, character drama, or thriller-like suspense, but the story never feels unfocused. The prose itself is also very good. It reads well, and the odd combination of Alyzon's practicality (which often leaves her rolling her eyes at the antics of those less firmly grounded in reality) with her often poetic way of thinking provides for both clever lines and great imagery. Carmody's use of symbolism is subtle enough that it doesn't get in the way of the story, without being so subtle as to be wasted.

    Carmody does a great job of the balancing act of making her characters both distinctive and complex. The fantastic is again deployed to great effect here, summing up each character's essence in a few images, and most characters also have some quirk that gives readers an easily memorable handle to remember them by. A lesser writer might leave it at that, but Carmody combines this with a depth of characterisation that really brings her characters to life and makes them feel more real. This complexity provides a stark contrast to those characters which Carmody presents as distinctly unreal. These seem uncannily one-dimensional, as if they are more expressions of the metaphysical malaise the narrative centres upon than they are humans.

    Alyzon Whitestarr is an extremely enjoyable read. It is rare that a story combines nuance and accessibility so well. I would recommend it for readers aged fourteen and up who aren't afraid to ask difficult questions regarding the human condition.