From Goodreads: From her birth, Abisina has been outcast–for the color of her eyes and skin, and for her lack of a father. Only her mother’s status as the village healer has kept her safe. But when a mythic leader arrives, Abisina’s life is ripped apart. She escapes alone to try to find the father and the home she has never known. In a world of extremes, from the deepest prejudice to the greatest bonds of duty and loyalty, Abisina must find her own way and decide where her true hope lies.
This is one of those novels that I definitely think our young adult population should be reading as it addresses many important issues, such as discrimination, bullying, tolerance, and forgiveness. I certainly don’t expect to come across such phenomenal themes when I pick up a novel, but that’s exactly what I got in Abbott’s Watersmeet, and I really enjoyed it.
Abisina has had a very hard life, and yet, for the most part, she is relatively normal. I would think that someone who goes through as much as she does, being outcast, jeered at, and occasionally beaten, would not only hate those who treat her so unfairly, but also hate the world. Abisina is a much stronger person than I am, because I don’t think I’d come out on top like she does, but even so, it’s a struggle for her, and I loved that Abbott made Abisina’s character so real. Yes, Abisina comes out on top, but she struggles with her feelings throughout the novel, and even though she was discriminated against by her own people, she easily becomes the discriminator when meeting others, such as dwarfs and centaurs. She’s not perfect, by any means, and though she did and said some things that I scoffed at, in retrospect, I’d probably do the exact same, as shameful as that may be. It is very easy for us to become what we hate, especially if we’ve experienced it our entire life (being bullied to becoming a bully, etc.). It’s just as easy for us to fear a certain thing or group if we’ve experienced unpleasantries because of it/them (such as a fear of all dogs because one bit us once upon a time), and I really loved the struggle that takes place throughout the novel as Abisina must come to terms with the idea that not all dwarfs, centaurs, etc., have ill will towards others.
I really enjoyed the fantasy aspect of this novel as Abbott fleshes out the mythological creatures we don’t hear all that much about: centaurs, fauns, trolls, dwarfs, and fairies. Though we learn more about some than others, I was initially drawn to this novel because of the title—I wanted to know more about centaurs and Abbott definitely provided a lot of information. And, I love that she provided both sides of the coin for these creatures; not all are good, and not all are bad, which, again, goes back to the idea that we are all unique and prejudice against others is a terrible thing.
Overall, I really enjoyed the journey Abisina embraks on in order to find her father and try to save her people from the evil that has taken over. At some points I did feel like the novel was a bit slow in terms of action, but when the action came, Abbott did a phenomenal job capturing the reader’s attention and bring it all to life. Four stars.
I purchased a copy of this novel from Amazon.