Esme’s Wish is a middle-grade fantasy by Elizabeth Foster and was published by Odyssey Books on October 30th, 2017.
Esme’s Wish is a fantasy woven with dragons, magical powers, enchanted objects, and a scenery that is breathtaking to read. Add a little Greek Mythology into the mix and a mother-daughter relationship for the most realistic vibe. It’s basically a perfect recipe for a MG-to-YA to devour.
The story revolves around Esme, a fifteen-year-old girl who isn’t very happy with her father commencing his second marriage because she misses her missing mother and hopes for her to return one day. But when things don’t work out the way she expected them to, she takes it upon herself to find answers. Fast forward and she’s in a magical, fantastical land called the Esperance.
Esperance is a place perfect for an ideal vacation with scenic views like dragons flying above head and Greek statues decorating the city. Not only this, you can breathe underwater here and people possess gifts that are common terms for unique magical powers–being fireproof, for example. The author excelled in the world-building area since I genuinely felt like diving into this world right away! The visual images were created beautifully and worked as a cherry on top to the reverie by the city of Esperance.
The book had three things that made it a perfect fit for the targeted readers: friendship, willpower, and love. When a middle-grade reader would pick up this book, they’d be delighted to learn on all these three aspects while living through Esme’s Wish.
Esme reflects the power of love when she decides to step out of the safe boundaries and find the truth about her mother’s disappearance–it’s a huge propeller for the story and works as a great reason for the readers to sympathise with the protagonist. Her willpower is what keeps her going even in a foreign world like Esperance; her determination never faltered and that makes the readers stand by her till the end.
Lastly, the friendship between Esme, Lilian (a native of Esperance whose mother was friends with Esme’s mother) and Daniel (a native of Esperance who loves dragons) is cherishable to say the least. The trio is adorable and reminded me, faintly, of the epic Harry Potter trio. Through the rough paths, they all stick together and figure out a way, but never do they question each other or show even the slightest sign of distrust. It’s inspiring and I’m sure a reader can take away the importance of genuine friendship from this tale.
The plot has decent twists and revelations that can amuse as well as astonish. While some places seemed too predictable to me, I’ll make sure to not speak for everyone else since the right reader might enjoy them all the more. The journey, overall, was impactful and I truly can’t wait for the sequel–Esme’s Gift–to hit the shelves later this year.
Lastly, I would suggest everyone to not be influenced by my rating since this book is more of a something-missed-for-me-but-it-would-be-best-for-you kind of work so I strongly recommend this to all those who love fantasy with great character development and a world-building that would lure you.
Trigger Warnings: Mother-missing situations, drowning scene, earthquake incidents, blood and deep injury.
Esme’s Wish is set in this beautiful, magical world called the Esperance. It’s depicted stunningly with the fantasy elements like dragons and underwater breathing. Is this otherworldly place inspired from a real location?
I visited Venice some years back with my children and found it such an enchanting place that I never wanted to leave! Venice was the primary inspiration for Esperance. There is something dreamy and beguiling about a real life ancient canal city always on the brink of disappearing into the sea.
Speaking of real locations, do you think an author’s fictional imagination is highly influenced by the place they write in? For example, would sitting outside help me imagine the flying dragons more clearly and sitting inside a cave help me imagine them as chained?
Having some real-life experience certainly does help with the writing process! I have floated through the canals in a gondola in Venice; I’ve swum and snorkelled and discovered some of the wonders of the sea. But there is a limit to how much you can experience yourself, and that’s where the power of imagination comes in. I can’t ride a dragon, but by focusing on the sensations that situation would evoke, I can almost feel its wings beneath me and the air rushing by. That stirs enough emotion and excitement in me to be able to write a scene.
Rooting from the previous question, Where did you spend most of the time writing this amazing novel?
As my story is always in my head I can pretty much write anywhere! I write by hand mostly so all I need is a notebook and pen (and a sip or two of coffee!) I write at home but I also love to write in cafes and by the sea. I also often write on holidays – something about being in a relaxed environment does wonders for my muse.
Not only is the world building in Esme’s Wish a praise-worthy trait of the book, but the characters and MG-to-YA themes followed are fantastic. How did you manage to excel a mother-daughter relationship as well as the friendship in this book? Was one difficult to write than the other?
I focused on Esme’s loss of her mother as a way into the mother-daughter relationship. When it came to friendships I was keen to establish a dynamic of three. I actually wrote a post about the power of triangles on my website. Once I had established the friendship and worked out how to write believable dialogue, that part of the novel practically wrote itself!
The Esme Series has a second installment, right? Any hint to what we can expect in the sequel?
Lots of ghosts and dragons! Esme will be going to school in Esperance as well as exploring other parts of Aeolia. She turns sixteen partway through the book and from then on the trilogy starts to get a little darker.
A fun question for the last: If you weren’t writing a fantasy, what genre or subgenre would you have aced?
I haven’t really thought about it! I think I might have made a good investigative journalist as I am very enquiring, so maybe non-fiction?
Thanks for your great questions. I really enjoyed answering them!
I was born in Brisbane, Australia, and now live in Sydney. Apart from writing and reading, which take up most of my time, I love walking, travelling and playing piano (badly).
As a child, I was called Dizzy Lizzy – which I regarded as an insult all my life, until I started writing! Now, daydreaming is a central part of what I do. My favourite childhood books included the Chronicles of Narnia and Enid Blyton’s adventure stories. I was such an avid reader that my godfather gave me the complete works of Shakespeare when I was ten. (Still haven’t read them all…) My reading tastes nowadays are eclectic, ranging from classic authors such as Jane Austen, to the works of modern YA writers, including J.K. Rowling, Tamora Pierce, Melina Marchetta and Maggie Stiefvater.
I love movies almost as much as books. Dreamlike films – such as the works of Hayao Miyazaki – hugely appeal to me, as do any clever psychological films and TV series which revolve around female characters, such as Buffy and Veronica Mars.
I used to enjoy writing as a child, but then I grew up and was sadly waylaid by more serious pursuits. Reading to my own kids reminded me of how much I missed getting lost in other worlds, and once I started writing again, I couldn’t stop. I am also fascinated with people’s motivations and personalities, and now I get to explore them on the page. I am a member of the SCBWI, the CBCA, and a reviewer for CBCA’s Reading Time.
Win a digital copy of Esme’s Wish by Elizabeth Foster. Intl and ends June 5th, 2018.
I received a digital copy of this via my participation in a blog tour but that, in no way, influences my rating and/or opinions about it. Thank you Elizabeth Foster, Odyssey Books, and Rockstar Book Tours!
You can follow the tour according to this schedule!