3 out of 4 stars
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Everyone has an echo, few people have the chance to meet theirs. Will gets that chance, but it is not a fun frolic through an enchanting garden. The realm of Echoland is rife with turmoil and danger. Will and his echo must face those dangers if they are to save their friends and their own lives.
The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid is a wonderful middle grade read. Will chooses to set out on a journey to try to find his lost twin sister Emmy. He and his sister had been kidnapped as toddlers, but only he returned. Will has only a few clues and two trusted companions to guide him toward the path of discovering the truth. What starts out as a desire to help his family ends up in a deadly game of secrets with his own life hanging in the balance. As Will is taken from the solid realm of Sounds into the cold realm of Echos he has encounters with many people, some good, some evil, and some that are somewhere in between. He must choose who to trust and how much to tell. It is his suspicions that lead him forward.
I really liked this story. It has a fun cast of characters, adventurous encounters, and plenty of mystery to keep me turning pages. I enjoyed puzzling through the hints and clues to piece together the truth of what happened to endanger Will and Emmy. I especially liked Emmy’s slight-of-hand ways of helping Will along the way; it made me smile every time she managed to do something helpful that first made Will groan.
On the other hand, I did not like the feeling of confusion that came with the complex realm of Echoland. There were many questions about the world and how things worked that were left vague. It took most of the book for me to feel that I had a general understanding of how the different realms reacted with each other. Readers of such a complex world deserve a better understanding of what makes the world function so that they can truly immerse themselves in the adventure and not feel like they are seeing glimpses of a world through a fog.
All in all I would give this book a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. It was cleanly written with a strong plot. It had twists and turns along the way to keep the reader guessing what would come next. The fast paced adventure would be enjoyed by readers in early middle grades, ages 10 and up.
The Crystilleries of Echoland
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