Disclaimer: I was given an ARC in exchange for an honest review.
Release Date: 1/15/2019
Overall: 5/5 Stars
Plot and Themes: 5/5
Awesomeness Factor: 5/5
Review in a Nutshell: Echo North is a magical retelling that will captivate you with its beautiful setting and fascinating mythology.
”There is one thing you must not do, one rule you must not break.”
// Content Warning: Violence, Death, Animal Death, Murder //
– Premise –
Echo North follows Echo Alkaev. When she finds her father near death in the woods, she makes a deal with a talking wolf to save him. In return, she must live with the wolf in his home for one year. His house is full of magic and wonders, but Echo must uncover it’s mysteries if she hopes to save the house, the wolf, and her friend who is trapped in the house’s enchanted library from disappearing when the year ends.
“I learned very early that in the old tales of magic the wicked were always ugly and scarred, the good beautiful; I was not beautiful, but I wanted to be good, and after a while I couldn’t bear to read those stories anymore.”
– Setting –
This setting is absolutely amazing. I was absolutely in love with the wolf’s house. The rooms and magic found inside of it was fascinating, and I was always so excited to see more of the enchanted home (especially the library with the enchanted book mirrors. I need some of those). The magic system and world building is a little vague, but that only adds more to the atmosphere of the book.
– Writing –
I really enjoyed Joanna Ruth Meyer’s writing style. It was a great blend of atmospheric and straightforward. It lent itself to the fairy-tale of the plot and setting perfectly.
“Why was there always a wood?”
This book is a retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I was only slightly familiar with the original story before reading, but now I really want to read more about it! It’s similar to Beauty and the Beast, but there are a lot of differences that add so much to the story (but if you’re a BatB fan, you will love this). The plot itself is a little slower, giving a lot of spotlight on the characters and world during the first two acts. That said, there is still plenty of action, and a lot of magic, throughout the entire book.
– Characters –
I really loved Echo as a character. She was horribly scarred as a child, and because of it, she is feared and hated in her village. You can see how deeply she internalized their hatred and how if affected her. Despite that, she has a great relationship with her father and brother. I really loved their dynamics and how much she cared for them. The wolf was another interesting character. I loved his depth and was fascinated by his secrets. He was definitely not what I expected, which was refreshing. Hal also wasn’t quite what I expected, and his character depth and the flaws revealed made me appreciate him as a character. He isn’t perfect, but still remains very likable. Finally, there’s Mokosh. She was very well developed with interesting motivations that led me to want to know more about her. She was another one that defied my expectations.
“So I lost him to the snow and the ice and the wolves. I lost him to the wind and the dark.”(I wish I could include this full quote, but spoilers).
– Conclusion –
Pros- Fascinating magic, adorable romance, and now I really want a book mirror
Cons- A little slow at first
Overall- 5/5 stars.
Echo North is the perfect winter read to transport you to a world of magic and enchantments.