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Review

Echo North by Joanna Ruth Meyer

AUTHOR’S WEBSITE: http://joannaruthmeyer.com/
SERIES: (Stand-alone)
PUBLISHED: January 15, 2019 by Page Street Publishing Co.
PAGES: 389
GENRE: Fairytale, Retelling, Young Adult

AVAILABLE AT


Blurb

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.


Review

ALSO REVIEWED AT: Goodreads

You have to see its heart, love. Look past the flaws.

Once upon a time there was a girl with a great heart who came upon a white wolf captured in a tinker’s trap. It was her great heart that led her to free the wolf, but in return, he left her with only pain and scars. While the girl doesn’t blame the wolf for her life of loneliness, she sees his golden eyes and white fur in the darkness of sleep. The years go on, yet the white wolf remains in her thoughts and dreams. One day while searching for her missing father in the forest, those same golden eyes stare at her from beyond the show-covered trees. Their fates entwined, he offers to save her father in exchange for a promise. Will the girl sacrifice herself for the life of her father and future of her family?

Echo North is an enchanting tale of second chances and the profound power of love, the oldest magic. Of finding the strength to expose both your heart and soul, regardless of the pain and suffering that may slither their way in. Of perseverance and how the scars, both physical and emotional, gained from life’s trials should never be considered ugly, as they can only add beauty. Echo, misunderstood because of something she had no control over, selflessly sacrifices herself for the betterment of those around her, blindly throwing herself into a world of unknowns. While there is a chance this faith may be unfounded, she refuses to accept failure without even trying.

Everyone is searching for their true selves. But everyone hides their true selves from each other. Look for the truth.

Pulling from Scandinavian and Scottish folk tales with aspects from commonly known fairytales weaved throughout, you’ll want to think this is a story you’ve heard before, but it remains fresh and captivating throughout. Threads of inspiration are prevalent, but Meyer has created a unique and touching tale, and her straightforward, yet charming writing style easily draws in the reader, keeping the pages turning quickly. The story is broken up into three parts; the first is a bit of set-up, the second about exploration, and the third a wonderful adventure rife with magic and danger, each part bringing new depth to the tale. 

The setting is alluring, whether you’re racing through a snow-blanketed forest, ascending an ancient, enchanted mountain that scrapes the sky, or exploring the mysterious rooms of collected wonders in the house under the mountain, there is always something to discover. The characters are complex and intricately built, often portraying themselves one way to others, while their true selves lie beneath the surface wrapped in secrets. The twists and turns are plentiful throughout, and although it can be easy to decipher the big reveals, the revelations are still satisfying.

I found Echo North to be a quite enjoyable standalone and will be keeping my eye out for Meyer’s future projects. If you’re looking for a fairytale that gets more complex as the story continues or a story of love and sacrifice, this is one that fits the bill. I recommend giving it a try.

Justine Bergman

Web developer by trade, ravenous reader, excited reviewer, dark fantasy enthusiast, mother of pups, drinker of strong coffee, and player of games. I'm also a contributor over at Fantasy Book Critic and The Fantasy Hive, and I love sharing the love.

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