4 out of 4 stars
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During his search to find his missing twin sister, Will Cleary gets drawn into a mysterious crystal-like world parallel to his own. This world is populated by Echoes, a reflection of the Sounds residing in the living world. When a person (or Sound) dies, his or her Echo is killed to maintain balance, but someone is killing Echoes before their Sounds die. It is up to Will to not only find his sister but to also figure out who is behind the murders so he can restore order in Echoland.
Dew Pellucid's novel The Crystilleries of Echoland has won several awards, and it is easy to see why. The worlds of the Sounds and the Echoes are intriguing because it takes the visual of a mirror-world and alters it to fit sound rather than image. Instead of Echoland simply being a reverse of the Sound world, it is its own setting. Pellucid's description of this crystal kingdom reflects the fragility of the human ego and power while highlighting the potential for strength and resilience.
I enjoyed the originality of this novel. Usually parallel worlds are too similar to one another, but Echoland is entirely different, both in in the physical description as well as in the social structure of its citizens. Even though each Sound has their own corresponding Echo, the roles they play are quite different--and not just because of the decisions they make. I appreciate the way Will takes matters into his own hands and sets out upon his journey. Even though he is only twelve, he shows great maturity and is a role model for adolescent readers. He struggles with the loss of his sister and the lack of attention from his parents, but he uses those struggles as a springboard his mission and never lets fear overtake him.
I have two complaints about this book, neither of which really impact the rating. The first complaint stems from my own inexperience with fantasy novels. The plot interested me and I regularly study children's and young adult literature, so I decided to read this book. I had some difficulty keeping track of the characters and the places, but avid readers of fantasy novels should not have this problem. My other complaint is also minor; I feel like Pellucid overuses the word "lucent" as a descriptor. It isn't a common word, much less one younger readers will be familiar with, but it may prompt them to expand their vocabulary.
Overall, I rate this book 4 out of 4 stars. I did not notice any spelling or grammar errors, which is an extremely rare feat, and the language is appropriate for the target audience (even with the abundant use of "lucent"). I recommend this novel to adolescent readers and fans of fantasy-mysteries.
The Crystilleries of Echoland
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