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(Watersmeet #1)

3.66  ·  Rating details ·  1,000 ratings  ·  156 reviews
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 ...more
Hardcover, 341 pages
Published April 1st 2009 by Marshall Cavendish
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Average rating 3.66  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,000 ratings  ·  156 reviews

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May 21, 2010 rated it did not like it
The idea behind the book was good but the writing couldn't stand up to the challenge that the writer seemed to be making for herself. The book attempts to deal with issues like racial prejudices and blind faith but the writing is just not developed enough to really explore these subjects. I would have loved to see more subtlety and less in-your-face "symbolism" but Abbott didn't seem capable of it.

Throughout the entire read, I kept waiting for more from this book, but I never got it. Suffice it
Mar 25, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
I sort of struggled over how many stars I would give this book, three or four. In the end, I decided to go with three, because I felt like it most accurately described how I ended up feeling about the book.

The almost-four-stars of it first: Abbott is obviously a skilled writer. Her descriptions were good, her characterization consistent, and the writing flowed. The dialog was mostly good (very few clunkers!) and as a fantasy, it mostly works. The writing here simply isn't the problem. My issues
A Book Vacation
Aug 19, 2012 rated it really liked it
To see my full review:

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 relat
Michelle Rebar
Dec 09, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, mythology fans
Oh, my goodness and holy wow. This is the best book I've read so far this year. I really wish there was a special button to click that would give an extra star. Anyone who likes fantasy or mythology will love WATERSMEET. It is set in a dark fantasy world that fans of Maria Snyders books will appreciate, but it is inhabited by creatures straight from the imagination of Brian Froud. If you cross Narnia with The Dark Crystal and The Neverending Story and threw in a little Braveheart, you would find ...more
Apr 15, 2009 rated it liked it
Watersmeet was a fascinating and truly impressive debut novel. Abbott's writing style is very easy to read. The fantasy world that is created contains many mythical creatures- fairies, trolls, dwarfs, fauns, and centuars, but at the same time it deals with the same issues we face in today's society- discrimination, prejudice, tolerance and acceptance.

The main character Abisina deals with many of those issues throughout the novel. Abisina is a terribly flawed character, but I think that is what m
Jennifer Wardrip
Reviewed by coollibrarianchick for

W-A-T-E-R-S-M-E-E-T. The word easily rolls off my tongue. The cover with the picture of the girl caught my attention first. She has the look of a scared, caged animal. I want to know what Watersmeet is. As I usually do with fantasy books, I dove into this book with gusto. Any book that can keep me interested from beginning to end and not drag is a good thing.....

First time novelist Ellen Jensen Abbott has impressed me with her book, WATERSMEET.

Aug 17, 2009 rated it really liked it

It seems that lately I've been reading books in which some (or all) of the plot involves the subject of prejudice. Watersmeet was no exception. The lead character, Abisina, experiences it on a daily basis. Why, you may ask? It's because her dark hair and skin keep her from embodying the image of Vran (the man who spread his settlement into free territory and cast out the "monsters"). So, Abisina is treated as an outcast, her only refuge is her mother, the village healer. While her life certainly
Jul 14, 2012 rated it liked it
This is a fairly enjoyable fantasy about a girl who lives as an outcast in her village and the tragedies and triumphs that befall her as she attempts to escape the increasing danger there and to find her father.

I would have enjoyed it more except that it seemed a bit as if the author sat down with a list of themes she wanted to make sure the reader 'got' and built a story to illustrate them, in a not very subtle way. We have the hatred and violence that stem from bigotry and prejudice and blindl
This book for me was like the ebbing and flowing of a tide. It started out a bit slow and far-removed, built up into something great (in the middle), but then it lost it's flow about three-quarters of the way through and went back to being slow. It had some great ideas and settings, and it was a readable book....I just think it could have been a great book if it was developed more. I enjoyed the mines/underground "city" of the dwarves, and Watersmeet itself. Those settings were very well done an ...more
Jan 18, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was a perfectly average fantasy story which used the culture of its land as a sort of metaphor for racism/the Holocaust. Our protagonist, Abisina, is a dark-haired and copper-skinned girl who lives in a town where every child born without blonde hair, fair skin, and blue eyes is tossed out of the town limits and left to die. Though she was protected from this fate at birth, she is considered an Outcast and treated as less than human, alongside town members with disabilities and other such i ...more
Gavin S.
Oct 17, 2017 rated it liked it
This book is about a girl named Abisina and how she has to go on an adventure to find her father in a place she's only heard of a few times. She has to leave her mother because a new leader comes to her village and starts doing things to the outcasts. Abisina is an outcast so she leaves the village and finds these creatures that help her find watersmeet. Watersmeet is the place she thinks her father is. Many things pop up on the way to watersmeet. This book relates to fablehaven because there ar ...more
Erin Grunke
Mar 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
The beginning was so compelling that I thought it would be a different book than it was, but after she escapes her village life, it felt like... almost like reading a Redwall book, where it was relaxing and kind of an easy journey. It wasn't terribly compelling a lot of the time and I did not feel the need to rush though to find out what happened to the characters. But The end was quite anticlimactic.
Jj Burch
Dec 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
I’m not a huge fan of fantasy, but that could be because I’ve never read much of it. Highly impressed with the story, the characters, and the timeliness of the novel. Identity, discrimination, and nature vs. nurture are all topics explored. It would be a great a high-interest read for those teaching quest narratives.
Dec 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: awesome, yes
When I started this book, I didn't have high expectations. While the first part of this book is slow it soon picks up the pace and gets very interesting. It was a pleasant surprise when I couldn't put it down. I would recommend to anyone who is interested.
Aiden Nguyen
Dec 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Ok book, but wasn't very engaging for me.
Aug 24, 2019 rated it it was ok
Good start but just got boring
Dropped at p170
Christa French
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
If you're looking for a good, evocative Darkness vs Light narrative, you found it.
Jennifer Tso
Jan 17, 2013 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
LPL Staff Reviews
Jun 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: fantasy fans
While packed with dwarves, centaurs, fauns, fairies and more, the story is world building and focuses on discrimination. As an outcast in her village, Abisina is considered to be dirty and part demon. She is treated with a combination of abuse and neglect. In addition to the villagers' intolerance of anyone born with "flaws," the wrong skin color, hair color, or even eye color, every non-human creature is considered to be evil, a demon. Though Abisina has been raised an outcast, when she leaves ...more
May 04, 2009 rated it really liked it
Abisina lives in a repressive community, following the laws/religious codes of Vran, which declare her an outcast. The only reason she wasn't exposed to the elements at birth was her mother's powerful position as the village healer. But another charismatic leader is about to come to power, and his rise is bad news for all the outcasts - human and other.

Events cause Abisina to seek her father, in the far village of Watersmeet. But her journey causes her to face her own prejudices, and realize she
Mar 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Abisina is an Outcast in her village of Vranille, mostly for her dark skin and hair. Her mother is the town's only healer, but it only buys her the right not to be thrown outside the walls entirely and left to the ruthless centaurs who prowl these lands. But when disaster strikes, and Abisina is left to fend for herself, she finds that not everything she has been told is the truth---not about herself, her family, or her world.

In a nutshell, this is a decent book about a young girl learning to ov
Nov 10, 2013 rated it liked it

Watersmeet is part of the reason why I'm now avoiding fantasy books for at least a few days, so I can erase this book from my mind. (Yes, I have the power to do that, because I'm just that awesome and I have superpowers).

Watersmeet isn't the book that describes everything and fill everything in. It's the type of book that makes you find the true facts and remove the false hints. It kind of makes you become a detective of books, I guess. But it quickly makes you annoyed with having to look back
Ms. Patterson
Feb 16, 2010 rated it really liked it
I picked up WATERSMEET, because I loved the cover with the piercing green eye and the plot sounded promising. I'm a big fan of fantasy, and love trying out new authors in the genre.

Abisina is an outcast in her town of Vranille, because she has dark hair and green eyes, not the ideal of blonde hair and blue eyes. The only reason she wasn't left to die as an infant is because her mother is the town's healer. Abisina is used to the ill treatment of her town, being at the end of lines hoping for a s
Sarah Maddaford
I enjoyed this story although I had a bit of trouble getting into it. The story also ends a tad abruptly and I was disappointed with the cliche bit of the ending as well. I liked the dwarves, some of the other characters weren't very well drawn in the story. I suppose they didn't get enough screen time in this book and will get more in the next one. I didn't really notice the lack until afterwards when I was trying to remember details and couldn't. The atmosphere was great, the world building (a ...more
Jessica Peregrym
Jun 16, 2013 rated it liked it
Ok, so this book falls to about every cliché in fantasy stories starring a female lead. Girl is looked down on and bullied by her ignorant village peers for being different, and is rejected by almost all but her loving mother, whom is the village healer. One day an ancient evil comes to their village and stirs trouble, causing her mother to be killed and putting the girl on the run. Luckily her mother left her vague instructions to find her long lost father and a magical artifact to lead her way ...more
Jul 13, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Watersmeet is the story of Abisina, the daughter of her village's healer and, with her dark hair and skin, reviled by the blue-eyed blonde-haired Aryan stereotypes in charge. Abisina is one of the Outcast, and was only spared because of her mother's limited influence as healer. When the village welcomes Charach, one of the religious leaders of her people, the subtle simmering evil boils over and results in the wholesale slaughter of the Outcast. Abisina flees her village in pursuit of her unknow ...more
Apr 30, 2010 rated it really liked it
nice one! this is an epic fantasy with all the creatures that fit so well into the genre. Although i think this could stand alone, there is sure to be a sequel.
Sina, a young girl in a generic medieval village is an outcast because she looks at all different from the rest of the blond and blue-eyed villagers. But then this story could fit into Puritan New England, for all the fear and prejudice poisoning these people. Any excuse to make one of their own an outcast and these people are on it. The
Jul 16, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2011-summer
This story contained some of the more traditional creatures in literature: centaurs, minotaurs, dwarfs, fauns & fairies - NO vampires. Very refreshing to read a more traditional fantasy at the YA level, but it still contained some very important themes to this age group - racial prejuidices and the treatment of people who are different is one major theme throughout the book. Abisina grows up in a village who only values people who have blonde hair and blue eyes, so with her brown hair and green ...more
Aug 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Melissa by: Ruth Koerner
Shelves: young-adult
In the village of Vranille, where perfection is a requirement, Abisina is an outcast. When Charach comes to Vranille, Abisina must flee from her village to keep her life. She embarks on a dangerous journey over the mountains to find Watersmeet and, potentially, her father. To survive the journey, she must overcome years of fear and prejudice and learn to accept help from others.

Toward the end of the book, it seems as though the author is trying to tie everything up quickly to make the story work
Emily Ruth
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Watersmeet is a bit slow at the start and a tad long, but man is it worth it! Abisina's tale is unique and imaginative, in the fashion of Lord of the Rings. Centaurs, dwarves, fairies and more light it up brilliantly, and the human characters are delightfully woven in. I really have not read a book this imaginable in a long time.
Abisina's time in Vranille was touching and realistic. I felt what it was like to be her, and could easily see the cruelty of the town and the love of her mother, all th
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Ellen Jensen Abbott grew up in the foothills of New Hampshire’s White Mountains—often disappearing for a whole day to build forts, pretend, and read in the fields and forests around her house. She has degrees in English and education from Brown and Harvard Universities. When she is not dreaming up stories about Seldara, she teaches English at a boarding school in Westtown, PA. Ellen, her husband, ...more

Other books in the series

Watersmeet (3 books)
  • The Centaur's Daughter (Watersmeet, #2)
  • The Keeper (Watersmeet, #3)

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