DISCLAIMER: I received a free advanced copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
Let me start this review off by saying I have a feeling this book is going to receive a lot more positive reviews than the one you're about to read. The story centers around Elsa, a precocious seven year old who has no friends except her grandmother. They have created a fantasy world by the name of Miamas. In this world, there are many stories, characters, and fairy tales that grandmother has passed down to Elsa. Unfortunately, Elsa has to deal with the passing away of her grandmother due to cancer. But before she dies, she asks Elsa to perform a quest for Miamas, to deliver letters to various individuals that she has written. The letters are apologies from the grandmother but Elsa does not know why.
As Elsa delivers the letters to each person, she learns about his/her back story and their relationship with her grandmother. Turns out, some of these people are "famous" characters in Miasma that Elsa recalls being taught about. She begins to learn about her grandmother's past and some of the ways she helped and hurt others. One of the main story lines is the relationship between Elsa's mum and her mum, Elsa's grandmother. Elsa suspects they do not get along but cannot figure out why. The deeper the book goes, the more the reader gets to learn.
Personally, I had to drag myself through the last half of this book. The fantasy world of Miasma plays a pivotal role in the book but it was just very distracting to me. I am sure there is a deeper metaphorical message behind having a mythological world, but after learning about it for a few chapters, I began to groan when it would come up again. The writing is very prose-like which starts off okay but after reading 4 pages with no dialogue, it got old. This book overstayed its welcome, in my opinion. A heartfelt, emotional story was cluttered with fantasy worlds, and watered down by the obnoxious nature of Elsa at times.
Overall, it wasn't a terrible book, and I believe the average reader will like it more than me. I would have gotten rid of the fantasy world (because I believe the story could've worked out perfectly without it) and made Elsa a little sweeter, because at times she got on my nerves.
I love to read and to discuss books. My preferred genre is sci-fi but I like to read mostly anything.