Eden's Wish, by M. Tara Crowl, the story of a young genie desperately wanting to leave her lamp and live in the sun of the real world. I wanted to read it, but never quite had the time. So when I was asked to be a stop on the blog tour for its sequel, Eden's Escape, I was very pleased, and sat down happily to read.....
Eden is the newest member of an ancient line of genies, each raised in the comfort of the magical lamp by its two guardians, who care for her with attention, baked goods, and a rigorous education. Eden will be the genie of the lamp till she's granted 999 wishes on earth, and then she'll be free to make a wish for herself, and live whatever life she wants. It will take years, because the lamp isn't easy for humans to find. And so Eden's visits to the real world are brief and infrequent, and it's driving her mad. So when she discovers a way to leave the lamp without it being found and rubbed, she does....and finds herself in California, totally unprepared for real life. Fortunately, a brother and sister taker her under their wings, and to their middle school....less fortunately, a nasty cabal of ex-genies want her and the lamp to fuel their dreams of power. Their plan would doom the lamps two guardians, and Eden, though she was happy to escape, can't allow that....
Eden's Escape (Disney-Hyperion, Sept. 6) begins, with a whirlwind tour of New York as seen through the eyes of a sheltered genie. But Eden can't enjoy her new life for long. She's kidnapped by a powerful and eccentric tech genius millionaire, who, like the bad guys in book 1, wants to use her and the lamp for his own purposes. She escapes the lab where she taken, and finds that she's in Paris, with no money, passport, cell phone...or magical lamp. Once again a local girl (a rebellious fashionista) looks after her...but to add to her problems, the same bad genie cabal find she's in Paris, and they plot to capture her themselves.
The momentum builds and builds as old enemies must work together to save the lamp, and it becomes a true page turner!
Although much is made of how beautiful the genies are (and there is diversity among them, which is good, though their names were not all historically accurate, which grated on my pedantic little eyes*), they are also formidably intelligent, and although Eden hasn't had enough real world experience to be a true Nancy Drew type character, she's smart enough to listen and pay attention and use what she's learned to good effect. And to use oxygen tanks to good effect to, during her escape from the Paris lab. What makes her most likeable is the wonder and joy she takes in the world and all that we take for granted--seeing San Diego, New York, and Paris through her fresh eyes is a treat!
These are great books for a ten or eleven year old--the dangers are vivid and gripping, the young characters relatable and interesting, and the various permutations of genie magic add enchantment. Older, more cynical, readers might not be able to swallow the lucky chances that make Eden's path easier than it might have been, but younger ones will be happy to go along with the ride.
*I just can't believe a Bambi from the 19th century. Unless it's a male deer.
disclaimer: review copies received from the author