Esther, the story’s title character, is a wonderful sixteen year-old girl who is brave, rash, powerful, and kind. She makes several mistakes and hurts others throughout the book, but she acknowledges those mistakes and apologizes. She actively tries to better herself throughout the novel. When other people have lifestyles that differ from hers, she does her best to understand them and show them respect. She also alters her perceptions about life as she gets introduced to new ideas. Esther isn’t perfect by any means. She gets angry and lashes out, she hurts others, and she makes foolish mistakes. These things make her a fleshed out character. Reading about a perfect character would be boring.
Itakh, Esther’s companion, is a funny and brave nine year old. Despite his young age, he isn’t used solely for comic relief. He has been forced to grow up too fast and that has given him wisdom beyond his years. It’s easy to forget that he’s only nine. That can be a bad thing in books, but for this particular character, it makes sense.
2. One of the themes seems to be tradition versus change. It’s specifically important in regard to whether or not it’s more important to uphold tradition when the lives of others are in danger. Such a question pops up several times in the novel which makes sense because it’s about a war that’s about to break out.
3. Another important theme is family. Esther often questions who she should consider her family and when is it time for her to stray from what her father might want her to do. These are difficult themes that Barton handles well. There’s also the concept of breaking free from one’s given role in life to do what one feels called to do. Esther would be a great role-model for young girls and even older readers can learn from her.
4. Religion is important to the work. Esther and most of the other characters are Jewish. I don’t personally know much about Judaism, but it was fascinating to read about. It made the story more interesting because it’s so heavily intertwined with the plot and it’s the basis for Esther’s personal values so she has to figure out how to maintain her beliefs while trying to understand those of others. The importance of Esther’s religion adds to her character and I liked that.
5. Overall, the novel is well-paced, captivating, and sprinkled with humor. There are lots of characters other than Esther and Itakh, and they all contribute to the story-line. Once a reader takes the time to sit down and read the book, it flies.
6. The suggestion on the cover that compares The Book of Esther to Game of Thrones by G. R. R. Martin is accurate. Barton’s style of writing is similar to Martin’s which is great.
Rating: 5 Stars
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"I received this book from Blogging for Books for this review."