Review: Eden’s Wish

Eden's Wish
Eden’s Wish by M. Tara Crowl
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This review is also available on my blog, Read Till Dawn. From now until the end of the month you can also enter to win a copy of both this book and its sequel at the review link above.

I may, on the surface, be a little old for Eden’s Wish. According to the information sheet I got from the author, it’s targeted toward kids aged nine through twelve; I’m seventeen, five years above the highest age suggestion. But I still loved reading Eden’s Wish, perhaps partly because of its target age. You see, I’m in the middle of applying to college. I’ve been very stressed out about grown-up questions like where to apply, what to major in, and – oh, you know, no biggie – what I want to do with the rest of my life. I loved reading Eden’s Wish, because it took me back, for a few hours, to sixth grade. You see, back then I would have been swept entirely away in the breathless combination of magic and relationships that is Eden’s Wish. It was nice to take a break from my applications and be transported back to that simpler time in my life by reading Eden’s Wish.

Before I go any further with this discussion of Eden’s Wish, I want to get the negatives out of the way. There are only two troubles I have with the book, and both of them are pretty small. The first is that it does slightly blend in with other novels in its genre simply because there are so many fractured fairytales on the market about young characters dealing with unwanted destinies. This isn’t a huge problem here, since Ms. Crowl creates a pretty unique storyline and Aladdin isn’t usually retold that often anyway, but it does mean that in a few years I might have trouble remember many specifics from Eden’s Wish. The other trouble I have with the book is that I get a general sense it could have delved deeper into the possibilities of its plot. Perhaps this is just a side effect of its younger audience, but I personally would have liked a better explanation of how the genies are born (is there a surrogate involved? Do they grow out of the lamp’s walls? Does Goldie give birth to them?). It would also be cool to learn even more about how granted wishes shaped history, and about how Xavier and Goldie made the lamp in the first place.

Those were the minuses, so now it’s on to the plusses!

I really loved Eden as a character. She wants to do the right thing, but she’s so desperate to escape the confines of her lamp that she unwittingly brings danger to the world. The ethical dilemma that she faces throughout the book is – when you actually stop and think about it – really fascinating. I spent the entire book unsure whether I wanted Eden to be free from the lamp (but let it fall into the wrong hands), or to go back inside it and be safe (but trapped). I can’t spoil the ending, of course, but it’s definitely an interesting question.

The supporting characters are also very interesting and three-dimensional. Eden’s human friends Tyler and Sasha are really great, and I enjoyed reading about them, but my favorite supporting characters were actually Xander and Goldie (the creators of the lamp, who raised Eden inside it). We don’t get to see too much of them throughout the book, but observing their relationships with not just Eden but also all of the ex-genies was really interesting.

This review is getting long, so I’d better bring it to a close. There’s more I could talk about, but suffice it to say that Eden’s Wish is a good book. I wouldn’t go around crying from the rooftops that it’s the best book in the entire world, but it’s good as a comfortable escapist MG fantasy novel. If that’s what you, or a middle schooler you know, is in the mood for, then definitely give it a try!

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