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Esme's Wish Paperback – 30 October 2017
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Captivating. This colorful, well-constructed tale is as much detective story as fantasy and deftly blends both elements into a page-turning plot that hooks the reader in. The world’s lushly described architecture, mythology, sirens, and dragons create the allure of being whisked away into a great adventure. (Sarah Scheele for Readers’ Favorite)
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When Penelope’s sister, the despicable Mavis, moves in to mind Esme while her father has his honeymoon, Esme experiences strange headaches and dizzy spells. She has a vision of her mum and dad and is puzzled by it. Her anguish over her mother intensifies and she decides to take off to Spindrift Island where Ariane disappeared many years before. As her quest unfolds, Esme is swept unexpectedly into another world, the world of Esperance, where she makes new friends and continues her search.
What unfolds is a series of adventures large and small, of dragons and other mythical creatures, and of special magical gifts. To say more would spoil the enchantment.
Foster has a fluid, engaging narrative style. The writing is simply exquisite. The pacing, plot twists and characterisation are just perfect. Depictions of the city of Esperance are conveyed in vivid and captivating detail. The various threads and elements of the story are woven together beautifully, culminating in an ending filled with wonder and surprises.
This is a story of loss and searching, of ancient Greek myths, of the artistic temperament and supposed insanity, of minds capable of accessing the inner realms the rational mind cannot reach. Absorbing, enchanting, whimsical, Esme’s Wish is a story to lose yourself in. I would recommend this book to readers one and all. Thoroughly enjoyable.
Esme stays in Esperance, a beautiful canal city plagued by earthquakes. Esme isn't well liked at home because of her mother, but here her mother was popular and Esme soon finds two allies. Daniel and Lillian are kind to Esme and they help her with her mission. Esme never expected to find such good friends. While getting to know more about Aeolia's history Esme discovers her mother had an entire life there, she only knew part of the woman she so admired. What was her mother hiding and why did she disappear?
Esme's Wish is a gripping magical story. Esme is a fantastic main character. She's smart, gentle and caring. She's never given up on her mother and her loyalty knows no bounds. I was incredibly curious about each truth she unravels. Esme is having a great adventure and I enjoyed every single moment of it. She's a resilient and determined girl and she constantly conquers her fears, which is something I admired about her. She's a fantastic main character and it was a joy to read her story. I really liked reading about her friendship with Lillian and Daniel, they have such a heartwarming bond, which for me was one of the best parts of the book.
Elizabeth Foster's writing has a nice easy flow. She has fabulous world building skills and I was impressed by her vivid descriptions of Aeolia and the mesmerizing way she writes about magic. Esme's Wish is filled with surprising twists and turns and I loved searching for clues together with the brave Esme. Esme's Wish is a terrific beginning of a series and I can't wait to read more about Esme and her friends. Elizabeth Foster completely enchanted me with her wonderful story and I look forward to the next one.
Top international reviews
From the startling opening wedding scene of Esme’s Wish to the highly satisfying conclusion, this novel aimed at younger readers is a fine read for those of any age who still yearn for wondrous worlds. This older, ahem, vastly older reader, felt immersed in Aeolia's realm of blue water and orange dragons. I enjoyed the pacing, the mystery, and also the perfect language which does not assume that younger readers will flinch from some longer words that are precisely placed for the sentence. Above all, I was gripped by a fallible child’s quest for her missing mother, Ariane, and, as her doubts grew about Ariane’s actions and motives, her determination to find the truth.
The praise I’d meant to lavish on this book can be read in so many reviews by delighted readers that I will take another tack: how the producer of the movie (a movie must be made) could so easily bungle it, as they have for too many once-glittering worlds (poor ruined Narnia, for instance).
“Silently she sat, swamped by a loneliness her small frame couldn’t contain”.
Bungle one: the casting. Fifteen year old Esme with hair “as stringy as sea grass matting” feels small and abandoned, lurching between nights of despair and getting her nerve up for each stage of her quest. She must not be portrayed as a drop-dead gorgeous, confident 19 year old who need only flick her hair to bring wizards and warriors rushing to her help.
“ .. Esme barrelled into a boy … A spyglass flew out of his hand, spun high in the air, and thwacked him on the side of his head on the way down.”
Bungle two: The dreaded sloppy romance angle. There isn’t one. In what a producer will itch to turn into a classic movie “meet cute” scene, Esme does run into Daniel. She also meets a girl, Lillian. The point here is that Esme, after having been shunned for years, must go about the awkward and messy business of learning what it is like to have friends.
“This library holds the largest collection of song spells in all of Aeolia”.
Bungle three: skimming over Esme’s search in favour of visual "action": earthquakes, swooping dragons, and strange creatures in lagoons. Esme’s strength is that she starts with only a few clues and her determination, but keeps on at it, scouring compendiums and researching the wonderful Library. She absorbs new learning, both magic and science, plans out her moves and takes sometimes incautious lunges forward without help. No magic wands to solve it all here.
“The dots were soon recognisable as a flight of orange dragons, their wings beating like sails beneath bolting clouds”.
The world of Aeolia is breathtaking, and the producer’s instinct to flood our retinas with overblown imagery would detract from the story. This is about Esme and Ariane. Try instead, producers, to match Elizabeth Foster’s craft: make your scenes fleeting and vivid, deft brushstrokes rather than visual battering rams.
I will leave you now to the wind-played harps and song spells of Esperance in Aeolian.
Foster wove together a new world full of the old myths as well as original ones. From dragons, to sirens, to magical gifts, Esme’s world is beautifully constructed. The characters were real and their conversations genuine.
If you held me at golden sword point and demanded I compare this work with another I’d say it can’t be compared. In my own opinion, it’s a lovely new world that stands alone and high above others. Though it had elements of Percy Jackson, the Last Airbender, and Greek myths.
You are sure not to regret reading this one and I, personally, am going to add it’s second to my to-be-read pile.
When the newlyweds leave for an extended honeymoon, Esme decides she'll investigate one last time on the small island where Mom was last seen. What she finds there is completely unexpected, involves new friends, a mythology and history that force her to rethink everything, and make for an excellent read. This is a gem of a story, perfect for younger teens (as well as fantasy loving adults). It's a great choice for library collections and I'm eager to read the sequel when it's released.
Poor young lady fears her mother is worse than dead.
She is in fact lost to a mystical crises. Unfortunately, when she previously tried to tell her husband about her mystical roots, he thought her insane.
A colorful fantastic tale about the love between mother and daughter, suspending belief to fulfill the hearts demands for love.
The rewards are reaped my more than a far away fantasy land. Esme's homeland thrives too.
Can she keep her mother alive and well, avoid being trapped by her more conventional step mom's family, and return to the mist and dragon filled world where she too is needed for the health and welfare of all?
I was pleased to enjoy an advance copy of this book.
I'm looking forward to the next installment of this journey.
Read my full review on UndergroundBookReviews(dot)org!
This is a fun middle grade fantasy with interesting characters that compelling you to keep reading.
I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.
Easily deserves the 5-stars