I loved this book! Although targeted at the YA genre, I thoroughlyenjoyed being transported to another place and time. I've never read a fantasy book before, and I was delighted by the experience. Elizabeth is such a beautiful writer and her imagination created the most magical setting and characters. I have a deep love for the ocean and this story truly inspired me. An eloquent writer with great talent, I was extremely impressed. I can't wait to read the next installment!!
Esme's Wish is the story of a teenage girl, Esme Silver, who has just witnessed her father getting remarried even though she does not believe her mother is dead. Following her feelings and some small could-be-clues, Esme makes her way to the last place she knows her mum, Ariane, was before her disappearance and discovers there is a whole other world waiting for her. Esme finds herself in Esperance, a city in a world called Aeolia, where many residents seem to know her mum. Over the course of the book, Esme finds out more about her mother and gradually realises she did not know as much about her mum or herself as she originally thought she did.
Esme is a is a strong character in that she does not give up just because something appears difficult. She is determined, resilient and independent but she also allows the people around her to help her when she needs support, something I think is great for the main character to do. The two friends Esme makes soon after arriving in Esperance and continues her journey with are Daniel and Lillian. These two educate Esme on life in Aeolia, it's history and the magic that has not been working right for many years. They both have stories of their own and both of them are interesting additions to the story.
The world in which the story takes, Aeolia, is somewhat simplistic but beautifully described. Not sure if it is what Foster had in mind, but I pictured Esperance as an ancient European style city with lots of light architecture standing out amongst the deep blue skies and waters. The only issue I had within the world were some of the creatures in it, specifically the dragons. When there is mention of dragons in a book I want a great dragon story or at least a cool dragon side-story, but they were mostly described as a transport with only a few hints at them being something more. I hope that the plot of book two will allow for more of the dragon story I was hoping for.
Speaking of the plot, it was, in my opinion, brilliant for a novel aimed at younger readers. Being 241 pages, I did not expect a whole lot to happen in the first book of the series, but Foster managed to pack it will quite a lot of story. There was a decent dash of fantasy elements, such as magical talent and mythical creatures, mixed up with the large mystery that surrounds Esme and her mother and those two elements mixed well together. There were no dull stretches as most of the major plot points overlapped with each other, but it was all rather realistically paced with the events making sense and occurring naturally.
I personally enjoyed the way this book was written - detailed but not overdone. Every element, whether it be the character, the world or the events taking place, were all written in a way that made them easy to picture without feeling like I was being smothered with descriptions. The writing felt natural and made the story feel more real. Despite Esme's Wish being targeted at younger readers, I, as a young woman in my twenties, thoroughlyenjoyed the magic this story had to offer.
I thought this was a wonderful novel and I have only a minor complaint that I do not believe is worth deducting a star for. I cannot wait to see where Elizabeth Foster takes this series!
This is a lovely book about a young girl, Esme who’s mum had disappeared eight years ago. She never believed her mum died and wants to search for her, all those years her wish has been to have her mum back. Her father finally remarries a typical horrible stepmother and while he is off on his honeymoon, Esme learns of plans to change her life. So finally she takes the search for her beloved mum into her own hands. This book takes us to a beautiful place with idealistic islands, where you can breathe under water, see dragons flying and I just wanted to go there. I believed in this place and urged Esme on in her search for her mum. I thoroughlyenjoyed reading this book. I received this book for free and voluntarily reviewed it. It was a fantastic read.
Shattered by her mother's mysterious disappearance seven years prior, Esme is unable to move on. Her father's re-marriage is the last straw, especially when she finds out that her guardian during her father's honeymoon turns out to be the interfering older sister of her stepmother Penelope. Drawn by unanswered questions and a mysterious sea eagle Esme finds herself at Spindrift, the site of her mother's disappearance where she tumbles into a whole new world.
This novel has so many strengths it is hard to know where to start. I will resort to using headings.
The prose. Delightful. Here is but one example:
'She couldn't see the woman's face, but it didn't matter. There was a map of this person within her, one that she had folded and unfolded countless times. The fall of her hair, the slope of her shoulders, the shape of her was more than enough.'
The world building. The enchanted world of Aeolia is delightful, the city of Esperance reminiscent of Venice, with its canals, yet steeped in the lore of the sea. It is a city beneath the waves that is also above sea level, a land with its own magic which is waning, yet still indescribably unique.
'At the mention of 'Aron' the bag came to life. It quivered and puffed like a set of bellows, before stretching out to more than its original size. Esme watched the bag's contortions in awed silence. When it had stopped expanding, she fumbled with the drawstring and peered inside.'
The friendships In Aeolia, Esme meets Lilian, who longs to acquire the gift of singing songspells, and Daniel who wants to be a ranger and tame dragons. Initially at odds, Lilian and Daniel have past differences to overcome, while Esme in her turn must learn to trust and open up to her new friends.
The quest Like all good fantasy novels there is a quest. In Esme's case it is simple - to find her mother. But it soon becomes apparent that her mother's disappearance was far from simple. That it is, in some strange way, linked to the Aeolia's waning magic. Linked so strongly that Esme begins to doubt her mothers motives. What will her friends think if they find out the truth? Will she find the courage to face her fears?
Esme's Wish marks the beginning of a delightful new fantasy series for upper primary and lower secondary school readers. I thoroughlyenjoyed my immersion in this world.