Obernewtyn is the first books in the series, written by Isobelle Carmody.
The book takes place after the great white or the Nuclear war and is said to be nothing but burnt ashes and tainted ground.
Elspeth Gordie is a young girl born on Herder Isle and became an Orphan when her parents were burned on the stake. Herder Isle is an untainted island just a fair bit away from the mainland, on this Isle the Herders are vicious and use orphans to collect white stick, a poisonous substance left behind after the great white.
The priests or the leaders tell civilians that it is used for medicines and such, but that is a lie.
The Herders are known for their torturing ways and cruelty to everyone.
After being identified as a misfit, a human that has developed mind abilitys. She is sold to Madam Vega, a pretty lady who is one of the leaders at Obernewtyn, a massive castle like building created to slave misfits and earn money. The owners are also obsessed with learning the location of the beforetime weapons so that they can use them to cause chaos yet again.
Elspeth grows up on the farms, she meets many friends but most people become defective after the owners torture and use beforetime machines to gain access to knowledge in someones brain.
Ariel is a handsome boy who charms the owners and everyone he meets, you soon learn that he is also known as the Destroyer by legend and H'rayka in beast legend.
This first book was written when Isobelle was around 16 and the series has spanned her life time, and she continues to write.
Elspeth will go on an epic journey that will eventually lead to the destruction/dismantlement of the beforetime weapons.
It is vital that you read this book first before reading any others in the series as it is the basis of the story.
This has been one of my favorite books and I recommend it to everyone.