Sunday, September 11, 2016

Review: Eden's Wish and Eden's Escape by M. Tara Crowl

Eden of the Lamp #1
By M. Tara Crowl
From Disney-Hyperion
Middle Grade Fantasy
Release Date: September 1, 2015
Ages 9-12

All twelve years of Eden's life have been spent in an antique oil lamp. She lives like a princess inside her tiny, luxurious home; but to Eden, the lamp is nothing but a prison. She hates being a genie. All she wants, more than anything, is freedom.

When Eden finds a gateway to Earth within the lamp, she takes her chance and enters the world she loves. And this time, she won't be sent back after three wishes.

Posing as the new kid at a California middle school, Eden revels in all of Earth's pleasures--but quickly learns that this world isn't as perfect as she always thought it was. Eden soon finds herself in the middle of a centuries-old conflict between powerful immortals. A ruthless organization run by a former genie will stop at nothing to acquire the lamp and its power--even hurt Tyler and Sasha, the new mortal friends who have given Eden a home. To save her friends and protect the lamp's magic, Eden must decide once and for all where she belongs.


Eden is a twelve year old genie and yearns to leave her luxurious world and head off to Earth instead. Of course, this isn't a wish easily granted and when she does make it, things are not as easy as she'd hoped.

The moment I read the blurb, I wanted to read this series. The promise of magic, adventure and dreams lure in, and Eden is the perfect genie to make it work. She's sweet, kind and a bit stubborn. But it's her desire to chase an 'impossible' dream which makes her a delight.

The first chapters are a bit slow but after that, the tension mounts. Not only does Eden find herself battling the adventures of school but confronts powerful enemies, which aren't easy to defeat. Eden's adjustment to life on Earth is mixed with humor, and the friends she makes are true blue. It won't be hard for middle grade readers to identify with her and cheer her on until the very end.

The writing is well done for the age group and keeps the story riding along smoothly. The end of the story wraps most problems up neatly, but there are still enough openings to make book two a continuation that has to be read.

Eden of the Lamp #2
By M. Tara Crowl
From Disney-Hyperion
Middle Grade Fantasy
Release Date: September 6, 2016

Ages 9-12

Eden's new life on earth begins in New York City under the guidance of her new guardian: Pepper, a petite, bubbly genie alum who's also a Broadway actress. Before she has a chance to settle in, though, Eden is whisked away for a granting--only to find herself trapped in a laboratory. David Brightly, owner of the world's leading tech company, cares more about tapping into the lamp's power than making a wish and starts performing tests on Eden. With Brightly's plasma shield around the lamp, Eden has no way home. Left without a choice, she escapes the lab and goes on the run. After her daring exit, Eden finds herself on the streets of Paris--home to Electra's headquarters. Left in a strange city with a price on her head (courtesy of scheming Brightly), Eden has to keep her wits about her. She dons a chic disguise and flits around Paris incognito, investigating Brightly Tech. Assisted by Pepper and her old adversary Bola, as well as some new friends, Eden embarks on a quest to retrieve the lamp and protect the secrets of the genie legacy.


This book takes off where the first one in the series ends, and assumes that the reader already knows several of the characters from book one. In other words, I don't recommend to read this as a stand alone.

Eden is settling into her new life on Earth with her new guardian, and it's as fun as she'd hoped! When she's suddenly summoned away by a wisher who has her lamp, things take a drastic turn for the worse, and Eden finds herself in another adventure.

The first chapters introduce Eden to New York and her adjustment to life on Earth. The dialogue is snappy, the scene descriptions bring the world to life, but the drive as to what Eden wants is missing, which made it a little difficult to sink into those first chapters. When she suddenly goes missing, however, the pace picks up and the adventure begins.

Eden again finds herself in trouble, and her actions and decisions are a treat to follow. She's a girl easy to sympathize with and cheer for until the very end. There's a nice pinch of humor thrown in with the action, and the other characters add fun personalities to make it a rounded crew. There are several twists and turns, which are hard to see coming. And the ending again leaves enough loose strings to promise a third book.

Summed up, it's a cute read middle graders are sure to enjoy.

And here she is. . .

M. Tara Crowl grew up in Murfreesboro, Tennessee. She studied Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California, then received an MA in Creative Writing at Macquarie University in Sydney, Australia. She lives in New York City.

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