So the beginning of The Farseekers was a little bit hard for me to get into—which is inexcusable because I started it literally the moment I finished the first one. With that kind of momentum, I hold Carmody personally responsible for slowing me down.
This second book jumps in months (weeks? years?) after the first ends. Elspeth is a Guildmistress (a goofy way of saying ‘leader’) of the ‘farseeking’ group. Basically this means she trains all the new farseeking Misfits. Now Obernewtyn is functioning as kind of a Xavier Institute for Higher Learning for talented Misfits. There are several ‘guilds’ for each talent: beastspeaking, farseeking, healing, coercing (forcing people to do what you want), empathy (basically a completely useless talent it seems like to me, all they can do is sense how people are feeling, MAYBE influence that if they’re really powerful), etc etc.
Rushton has just rushed (sorry, unavoidable) back to Obernewtyn to warn them that the Council is taking a little too much interest in their goings-on. The guilds decide to send out an expedition to Sutrium (the capital) to investigate and maybe set up a safe house. This expedition coincides with another Elspeth and the teckno-guildmaster (basically a scientist) have planned. Pavo wants to collect a cache of Beforetime books he has discovered in a faraway city, and Elspeth wants to rescue a powerful Misfit that she has sensed (also in a faraway city). Oh, and before they leave they also rescue Jik, a Herder’s assistant that is also a Misfit.
So they’re on the way. Elspeth is riding a horse named Gahltha. There’s some weird stuff going on with the horses, because now that they can chat with the humans, they’ve used this gift basically to bitch and whine about having to work for them. Gahltha, a previously abused horse, is the ringleader of this ‘rebellion.’ He and Elspeth make a deal that he and the other horses will participate in this quest, and if they can work together the horses will be seen as equals. For some reason, none of the other animals are so pushy (the dog goes ahead of them and warns them of poisoned trees and ground, and then gets killed in a firestorm, and he says nary a word in protest).
Anyway, so these people and the grumpy horses get captured by the Druid’s men (a rebel group). Elspeth discovers some Misfits among them, including an old friend that she met for about 2 seconds in the first book—Daffyd. Daffyd shows up a bunch in the future, so write that down. Elspeth and Kella (the other female, a healer) are almost forced to marry some of the rebels, but then they all escape on a raft that Domick (a coercer) somehow makes in about 3 hours (but it is big enough to hold all of them, plus the horses, and survives a ride through rapids during a storm, under a mountain, through an ancient Beforetime city of skyscrapers).
When they are shipwrecked (raft-wrecked?) an older couple takes care of them. In return they ask that some of the group visit Aborium to check on their son, Brydda, who is a rebel leader. The others go to Sutrium to set up a safehouse. Elspeth meets and befriends Brydda (after almost being kidnapped), and he goes with them back to his parents house, where Domick meets them to warn them that Ariel (remember him? Creepy sicko child from the first book?) works for the Council and Herders now and is behind the sudden interest in Obernewtyn. They escape, and go to a lost city to get those books I mentioned about seventeen paragraphs ago. Luckily for them the powerful mind Elspeth was looking for happens to be in the exact same place. It is a young girl they nickname Dragon, because of her powerful ability to coerce people—i.e. make them hallucinate terrible things. But she’s a total sweetheart though. Well, we think. She can’t really speak any language and kind of acts like an animal.
On the way home, there’s a firestorm, and everyone but Dragon and Elspeth are killed (I’m not sure who’s with who at this point—but I do know Jik dies, and maybe the dog too). Elspeth convinces Dragon and Daffyd (I tell you, he pops up at the most opportune times) to go warn Obernewtyn about Ariel without her. She is badly injured, but some magical birds take her to a magical place and magically heal her. As well as tell her the same story Maruman (remember the cat friend?) always yammers on about…she has to save the world from the second holocaust, she is the chosen one, yadda yadda. Then they send her back to a mountain in the middle of nowhere which is where Gahltha is waiting for her. The magic birds have been chatting with him as well, and now he’s all nice and penitent, and hell-bent on protecting Elspeth from everything.
The end is pretty anticlimactic, with the return to Obernewtyn, in ruins, surrounded by soldierguards. But wait! It’s just an illllusssion (say in Gob Bluth’s voice) masterminded by Dragon. They get rid of the soldierguards pretty easily, Elspeth and Rushton make awkward, sexually charged glances at one another, the end.
This book has some really great parts, and except for a few chapters that drag (like her magical bird encounter), it kept me pretty invested. There are a lot of characters, and everyone has weird names so it is difficult for me and my tiny brain to keep track of them all. It doesn’t help that several minor characters have very similar names. I like all the parts with horses (predictably), but I’m not a fan of Maruman and his weird drug-induced hallucinations. Also, I predict that I’m going to get tired of Elspeth’s repetitive ‘Who me? The Seeker, hero of the animals, rescuer of the world? I don’t believe it! All of these animals must be on drugs!’ act that I can tell is going to be a recurring thing until she finally makes peace with her ‘destiny.’ Get with the program Elspeth. Can’t you hear the omniprescent narrator voice in your head? Who’s the main character here? Obvi you’re going to need to save the world so please pull yourself together. Also, put Rushton out of his misery and make out with him a little, at least.