Friday, November 15, 2019

Review: Echo North by Joana Ruth Meyer

Book: Echo North
Author: Joana Ruth Meyer
Series: Standalone
Publication: January 15, 2019

Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.

In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.

At first, I thought this was a retelling of Beauty and the Beast. But it wasn't just Beauty and the Beast; it held elements of other less well-known stories in it, such as the greek myth of Cupid and Psyche. This entire book was written with such a timeless element to it, and it felt like a fairytale itself with cruel stepmothers, missing parents, sacrifice, enhanced and vicious houses, and a love worth fighting for until the very end. And book mirrors. Book! Mirrors! Disclaimer: ranting (see: fangirling) to come.

This book was pure magic with a dash of love, sacrifice, and twisted malice. The story begins off like your typical fairytale, with the heroine, Echo, accepting a deal with a great big wolf in exchange for saving her father's life. Spirited away into an enhanced house, she is then tasked with keeping the magic that holds the house together from unbinding and destroying them all. And then more secrets are revealed, and there's this great quest at the end, and it's just wonderful.

The most important thing I wanted to talk about is the book mirrors. BOOK MIRRORS. What are they, you ask? Well, book mirrors are individual mirrors that physically hold an entire book in them. By stepping in, you are transported into the book's world, where you can physically experience the plot and characters and explore the world as the author imagined it. You can ask the mirror to skip to different parts of the book to experience specific things, leave at any point, or just wander around outside the plot itself.

I repeat: Experience the book's world. Journey alongside a book's characters. YES PLEASE. SIGN ME UP. I WILL TAKE THEM ALL. Yes yes yes. I want to experience and live through ALL my books!!! No one would ever see me in real life; I would physically live in books. Which sounds absolutely wonderful, in my opinion. 

Apart from the boor mirrors (which I still can't get over!!), one thing I noticed was that the pacing of the book changed quite often throughout the book. However, I didn't mind it at all, since I was much too intrigued by the plot and characters and just wanted more. I simply thought this was a beautifully written book with classic themes of love and wonder and magic all seamlessly woven together, and would reread it at any time!

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