Eyelash is the protagonist in Nabila Jamshed’s first fantasy novel, Wish Upon a Time: The Legendry Scimitar.
She is a fifteen-year-old who is described as having an “audacious eye for what was not meant to be seen” and as “the girl with a crazy sense of humor and a profound sense of peace.” Overall, she is a fairly likeable character.
We meet Eyelash as she is getting ready to attend a concert with her best friend, Iris. As she looks into the mirror she sees someone else’s reflection. Eyelash finds this odd, but after a while just assumes it was a hallucination and goes to the concert. At the concert, she is transported to a forest where she meets Dream, the girl whom Eyelash saw in the mirror. Dream tells her that she is in “Imagination,” a parallel universe to Eyelash’s world. Dream calls Eyelash’s world “Reality.”
Eyelash stays at Dream’s house while she waits for a notice from the government saying they will open up a portal for her to go home. While at Dream’s house, Eyelash and Dream get drawn into a war and fly off to retrieve a magical sword that could end the conflict. The story then focuses on a battle between good and evil.
There were a few things that bothered me while I was reading this book. The first was that, towards the beginning of the book, the author throws in strange creatures to alert us that this is a fantasy book. For example, we meet a unicorn that never reappears and doesn’t seem to have a purpose. It probably exists purely to tell us that this is a magical place, but it’s not necessary and ends up sounding cliché. Second, as petty as it sounds, Eyelash’s name really bothered me. It’s distracting and it seems to be a part of the “this-is-a-fantasy-book-so-everything-must-sound-fantastical” theme. Nabila Jamshed is trying to make her character seem interesting by having an interesting name, but she doesn’t need to as the character is interesting enough on her own. Also, the magical powers that Eyelash gains in “Imagination” are inconsistent throughout the book. Sometimes she is so powerful that she can blow up charmed locks, and other times she is too weak to defend her friend against a villain. Finally, the author is also quite wordy. Her descriptions are beautiful at times, but often so elaborate that it becomes hard to follow the plot.
On a more positive note, I really enjoyed the little sub-plots that the author creates. They aren’t forced into the story line, but enhance the story and help us understand what drives and motivates her characters.
Overall, Nabila Jamshed creates a very beautiful world, with characters that have interesting and unique life stories. The problem is not her story, but the nature of the genre. I feel like I have heard of a lot of “regular person gets sent to magical world” stories and hers just isn’t anything especially creative. So although her writing is beautiful, I don’t think she brings anything new to the genre. To be fair, I don’t like fantasy books very much, but I did enjoy getting inside her characters. So if you’re into fantasy stories, this book may be for you — the strange, funny characters and clever, magical world are engaging. However, for those of you who don’t love the genre, I don’t recommend it.
Sofiy Inck lives in Brooklyn, NY with her family. She enjoys playing the piano and writing.
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