W-A-T-E-R-S-M-E-E-T.  The word easily rolls off my tongue. The cover with the picture of the girl caught my attention first.  She has the look of a scared, caged animal.  I want to know what Watersmeet is. As I usually do with fantasy books, I dove into this book with gusto. Any book that can keep me interested from beginning to end and not drag is a good thing…..

First time novelist Ellen Jensen Abbott has impressed me with her book, WATERSMEET.

There are many forms of prejudice in Vranille. Every day it is a fight for survival for Abisina.  Shunned constantly and roughly pushed aside by others, Abisina is an outcast just because of how she looks.  The worst thing about being an outcast is the all-consuming loneliness she felt on an everyday basis. There’s always a fight for food and no one, unless they were an outcast themselves, is allowed to talk to her.  

The only thing that kept her alive was her mother, who was the village healer. Things are about to go from bad to worse for Abisina.  Someone other than her mother is about to come into power, meaning bad news for all outcasts.  

Forced to flee, she heads to Watersmeet for help in the form of her father, a man she has never known.  Along the way, she sees fauns, has a run-in with centaurs, eats a poisonous mushroom to save herself, faces minataurs, and has the courage to continue on.

Will Watersmeet be her salvation or her downfall?  

The teacher in me came out as I was reading this book – you can easily make comparisons between this fantasy world and the real world we live in.  How many times have people in this world faced prejudice, violence, and oppression, all because they were different than the ideal that society has imposed?  Remember the Holocaust and Hitler? I saw many similarities between Charach and Hitler.  Both were very charismatic leaders and no one saw the evil side of them until it was too late.  You can do a lot of interesting activities in the classroom with this book.

Abisina changes a lot in the course of this story.  There were many challenges she faced that brought upon these changes.  First and foremost, and probably the most important, is that she had to look at the prejudices in herself.  Once that was done, she became more forgiving, accepting, and tolerant.   This, of course, is crucial if she wants to continue the legacy of Vigor.  

Does that mean we will see more of Abisina in the future? I certainly hope so.

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