Abbott, Ellen Jensen. Watersmeet. Marshall Cavendish, 2009. ISBN 9780761455363. $16.99. 341 p.
Reviewer: Brown, Ruth-Anne
Reading Level: Young adult
Genre: Fantasy fiction;
Subject: Fantasy--Juvenile fiction; Books--Reviews;
Abisina lives in the village of Vran where blonde hair and blue eyes are the only definition of beauty. Anyone who looks different is either killed or becomes an outcast. Her brunette mother, Sina, is alive only because she is a healer. After Abisina is born, Sina blackmails an Elder in order to keep her dark-haired daughter alive. But as Abisina grows up, she has no friends and she is beaten and spit upon. When the new leader, Charach, arrives in their village, he wants to wipe out everything that does not stand for Vran. Abisina runs away, but her mother is taken by the mob. With the help of a dwarf, Abisina finds the land over the mountains where her father is from. Once she is there, she finally finds an accepting home and a protector. With her new family, she conquers the evil that has oppressed her whole life. Abbott's debut novel weaves a rich fantasy of fairies, trolls, dwarfs, fauns, and centaurs. While the setting is otherworldly, the message is relatable. Abisina must overcome her instructed prejudice against those who look different from herself. She learns to recognize that beauty should not be compared to a stereotype and that an individual should not be discriminated against no matter how she or he appears. Abbott promotes the ideals of tolerance and acceptance in her book. Abbott plans to continue this book as a series with three more to come.
Volume 29, no. 6 (July/August 2009)
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