Wow, I can’t believe the blog has been quiet for this long! Sorry, about the MIA, it’s just been a bit hectic lately but today I bring you another book review! I actually saw this on blog tour on Twitter being hosted by That Bookshelf Bitch and since I’d done the Heart of Mist tour with her I thought I’d do this one too (I mean, I might find my next favorite read if I stick with her, right?)
Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster ● Publication Date: October 30, 2017 ● Publisher: Odyssey Books
When fifteen-year-old Esme Silver objects at her father’s wedding, her protest is dismissed as the action of a stubborn, selfish teenager. Everyone else has accepted the loss of Esme’s mother, Ariane – so why can’t she?
But Esme is suspicious. She is sure that others are covering up the real reason for her mother’s disappearance – that ‘lost at sea’ is code for something more terrible, something she has a right to know.
After Esme is accidentally swept into the enchanted world of Aeolia, the truth begins to unfold. With her newfound friends, Daniel and Lillian, Esme retraces her mother’s steps in the glittering canal city of Esperance, untangling the threads of Ariane’s double life. But the more Esme discovers about her mother, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
So I already mentioned why I wanted to pick this book up. Basically, I’m looking for my next favorite read and after reading the summary for this book I thought it would be interesting. Plus, it’s tagged fantasy and there’s an enchanted world?! Plus, I remember being told there wasn’t going to be romance, what more could I ask for?
In this book we follow Esme Silver, who lost her mother when she was eight. Seven years later and it seems like everyone around her is moving on. Her father is about to get married, the people around her are just itching to get rid of anything relating to her strange mother, and Esme…well, she’s the only one who is skeptical about her mother’s disappearance. Ariane was supposedly lost as sea but Esme knows that her mother was always careful and a strong swimmer. Something wasn’t adding up
When her father and her step mother go on their honeymoon, Esme decides to investigate and then finds herself in Aeolia, a fantasy world that should only exist in her mother’s paintings and in her bedtime stories
As a main character, I found Esme’s perseverance refreshing. From the beginning we know that she loves her mother and wants to do whatever is possible to find her, deciding that Ariane is merely lost somewhere and in need of help. And even when she found herself in a world she didn’t technically know (though she sort of did via her mother’s stories), it never stopped her from continuing her mission/investigation. Even when she was in dangerous situations she never lost track of what she wanted
At the same time though, I found her a little too trusting, which took away some of the suspense from certain events. When she first arrives at Aeolia (or Esperance), she ends up meeting Daniel, who takes her to the city. Daniel ends up becoming one of her friends there and he offers to come check up on her the next day. I’m not sure about you guys, but I would be weary of someone like that. With Lillian and Miranda it was a bit less strange to me, only because Miranda called out to Esme by her mother’s name. There was a connection there (plus, Esme had nowhere to stay). In the story Esme is sixteen but I feel like there should be some semblance of suspicion with the people around her, which she lacked (a lot). It always turned out okay, which was lucky for her but as a reader it took away some of the feelings that could have been there. Like the time she sees someone in an alley (it was described like one) and the first thing she does is go towards him to ask for directions
I don’t know about you guys, but a guy in a hood and in an alley isn’t exactly my to-go person if I’m lost, especially not in a place I’m unfamiliar with (lol)
Aside from Esme, we also get to meet a few other characters. Many that don’t get developed and are only there because they were acquainted with her mother. They served their purpose in furthering the story and helping in Esme’s investigation so I have little thoughts for them. But we do have two other “main” characters. One of them is Daniel, the boy who Esme met when she first came to Aeolia and the other is Lillian, who she met because Miranda (Lillian’s Mother) called out to her thinking she was Ariane. Since they end up living together, they become friends and it just so happens to be that Lillian and Daniel were childhood friends. As characters I got a bit more attached to them because I can see them trying to date when they get older. They just had this connection with each other even though they were fighting when Esme first met them. But like the others they also serve a purpose (to help Esme find her mother)
Now I’m not saying the characters were bad, but compared to other stories, they were very simple. In a way it makes sense since this book (I felt) was written and geared towards younger audiences. Middle school to junior high, maybe even high school freshman. It’s not just the characters but the writing as well. It’s much simpler than what you would find in a YA fantasy novel
One thing that I felt really stood out in the book was Aeolia (and the world in general). Since the beginning took place near a lighthouse and there were many mentions of mythology, I couldn’t help but think of Water Memory by Mathieu Reynes but once we stepped into Aeolia I imagined something amazing and colorful like the previews for A Wrinkle in Time. It just had that feeling of magic and vibrancy and there are dragons (and other magical creatures that I don’t normally read about)!! And there were some moments where I thought, this is a Harry Potter influence
In terms of the plot, it was very simple but also not what I expected. I don’t want to spoil anything but we do get a conclusive end (and a cliffhanger if that even makes sense!). I do really want to read the sequel but it’s not out yet #clenchesfist
Overall I really did enjoy reading this book. I just really enjoyed how the focus of this was familial love. From the start you can tell that Esme loves her mother and in this journey you can see how she’s not just saying it, but showing us how far she’d go to find her mother. The character I did wish we had more of was Ariane. There was just so much about her even though she wasn’t there and it made me curious. I want to know how much she told her husband about Aeolia, her intentions (not inferred, I want to read them), and just read from her perspective since everyone called her eccentric. Now that I think about it, this world and how they spoke about Ariane also remind me of the DLC for Oblivion (I forget what it’s called, lol).
I ended up rating this book a 3.5 and would recommend it to younger readers who like fantasy. I also would like to see this as a movie or an anime short
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Elizabeth Foster read avidly as a child, but only discovered the joys of writing some years ago, when reading to her own kids reminded her of how much she missed getting lost in other worlds. Once she started writing, she never looked back. She’s at her happiest when immersed in stories, plotting new conflicts and adventures for her characters.
Elizabeth lives in Sydney, where she can be found scribbling in cafés, indulging her love of both words and coffee.
BLOG TOUR SCHEDULE & MORE
And just like last time, there will be a Twitter chat on Friday February 23! Chats tend to last about an hour long and are really fun. Join us by using #EsmePH on twitter and one lucky person will win a printed copy of the book, bookmarks, and stickers~ And who doesn’t like free stuff? More chances to win can be found here (Rafflecopter giveaway)
Also, I am part of the beginning tour participants so I don’t really have any links right now for the other posts but expect them as the days go by. Most of them will be reviews but there will also be some other fun content like interviews and playlists
Thanks for stopping by! And like always, if you’ve read the book, what did you think? Let me know in the comments section, on twitter, goodreads, and/or other places! And if you haven’t checked it out yet, do you plan to? Has my rambling convinced you to?