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 Ariane, the more she questions whether she really knew her at all.
What I Liked:
This book gave me the book tingles right from the start! You know, that sense you feel in your core that the book will turn out to be a great read and possibly become a new favorite? I felt that. I immediately felt drawn to Esme and her story. I felt for her helplessness as she faces her Father's wedding with an unlikeable woman and family who wishes she didn't exist, while she still clings to the idea that her mother could possibly be still out there, and not lost to the sea as everyone thinks.
Esme's quest to find her mother, or at least to find some answers, leads her to the magical world of Aeolia. This place is nothing short of magnificent! Dragons, magical abilities, sirens, plus everything else imaginable. You can even enter the sea and never drown, how cool is that?! So yes, my favorite thing about this book was how well I could picture Aeolia and the beautiful city of Esperance. Author Elizabeth Foster did a great job weaving together a stunning new world that I wish I could somehow explore on my own. I want to visit the streets and float through the canal! I want to ride a dragon and visit the library! ?
I also really enjoyed the company of the characters. Seeing everything through Esme's eye was a blast as she took to the streets and wouldn't stop until finding the next clue leading to her mother's whereabouts. She quickly made two trustworthy friends (Daniel and Lillian) who each offered their own level of support, making their friendship to be one of the amazing aspects that I loved about this book. They make a fun and talented trio for sure.
However, there's a lot more to this book than just a stunning world. I liked how the author approached themes such as loss, abandonment, betrayal, greed, and several other topics that seemed to plague our main character, yet she still manages to deal with and overcome. Such an more admirable young person!
Despite that this book is marketed as YA and it truly being more fit for the Middle Grade audience, I believe this book is well worth the read. It has everything you could wish for in a book -- a unique magical world, great charaters, and non-stop adventure. I truly cannot recommend it enough!