Wednesday, June 17, 2020
Ellen Jensen Abbott
Watersmeet, book 1
About the Author: (Amazon)
Ellen Jensen Abbott thinks that life would be perfect if she could move to the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she grew up. Until she can convince her friends and family to join her, she's content to be writing, teaching English at the Westtown School, and living in West Chester, PA. Her debut novel, Watersmeet, was an IRA Young Adult Award Notable Book, and was nominated for YALSA's Teen Top Ten. The sequel, The Centaur's Daughter, is "fast paced and full of romance, suspense, and adventure and handles prejudice and acceptance in thought-provoking ways," according to The School Library Journal.
Book Summary: (Amazon)
From her birth, Abisina has been outcast--for the color of her eyes and skin, and for her lack of a father. Only her mother's status as the village healer has kept her safe. But when a mythic leader arrives, Abisina's life is ripped apart. She escapes alone to try to find the father and the home she has never known. In a world of extremes, from the deepest prejudice to the greatest bonds of duty and loyalty, Abisina must find her own way and decide where her true hope lies.
I'd Recommend To:
Fans of fantasy & Ren Faires
Well, this book review has been 11 years in the making. You ever already have a big list of books to read, then get another, then life gets in the way and you end up not reading any of the ones you previously had, nor the new ones you've acquired? Yeah I guess that's what's happened here... I received this ARC back in 2009 and planned on reading and reviewing it right away, but then came high school, then college, then the real world, and I guess it just got put on the back burner, and I'm so sorry Ms. Abbot! BUT I've finally read it thanks to our extra long time-out due to Coronavirus, and now I'm ready to read the next two books in the series.
Want to hear something else that happened in my long journey of reading and reviewing this book? I was on a kayaking adventure and planned to kayak to a little beach and sit and read on it, but the weather took a sudden turn for the worse and although the kayak never flipped over, my bag and everything in it was SOAKED so poor old Watersmeet not only really met the water but then took about a month to dry out enough to wear I could read it again! It's certainly been a wild ride but here we are, finally having read the book and now I'm ready to review it for you.
This is a story of Abisina, a girl with copper skin and dark hair. Because she's not blonde hair, blue eyed (like myself), she's considered an outcast in her village and the only thing that literally saved her life when she was born was the fact her mother is the village's healer and the town elder owed her a favor. But now an ancient evil has come to down, planning to kill everyone basically. Unfortunately, Abisina's mother is one of the many lives he takes, but thanks to the help of few kind humans and dwarves, Abisina is able to make it out alive and start on a journey to a town called Watersmeet, where her father is the man in charge. Finally! She makes it there! But she comes from a town that thrives on hate and exclusion, and Watersmeet is the exact opposite - Watersmeet is a place where all are welcomed and accepted. Can Abisina unlearn the teachings of her past village and come to accept and love the creatures of Watersmeet? Although it took me even longer to get to this book than it took Abisina to make it to Watersmeet, the timing of reading this couldn't be any more perfect. We are all facing the exact same situation Abisina was put in - here in the United States, we are a country divided. Hate and racism fueled by fear run amuck in our country, just as they did in Abisina's home village of Vranille. We are at a turning point in history, for one way or another; will the American people choose to continue living in fear and hate or will we learn to love and accept one another as Abisina must learn to do in Watersmeet?
I absolutely loved all the magical creatures in this book - centaurs, dwarves, fairies, minotaurs, uberwolves, fawn, humans. It had me dreaming of being in such a magical land at night when I was alseep. I would LOVE to be able to go to a place like that in real life, and the past few years I've been working at Renaissance Festivals where people do dress up and act like such creatures, which is why I'd highly recommend this book/series to rennies.
There is a final battle that I feel was really rushed compared to the rest of the book, and I understand it's about the journey not the destination, but I just feel the length of the time in Watersmeet and the battle were not properly proportionate to the time in Vranille and on the trek to Watersmeet. Additionally, there were a few times when the language used was a word I had never heard of and had to look up to understand the meaning of the sentence, and I'm now 23 so I think if I were 12 like when I was supposed to originally review this book, that problem would've occurred even more. Because of these reasons, I'm ranking the book only an 8/10. However, I definitely still recommend people read it and once I find more time I will totally be checking out the 2nd and 3rd books in the series.