2 out of 4 stars
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Ten years ago, a missing boy emerged from the pond on his parents’ Alaska property, rescued by a wolf and a falcon. His twin sister, however, did not return. Now, 12-year-old Will Cleary enters Echoland, a frozen, watery world where a transparent twin of each human resides, to save the lost Emmy Cleary.
Humans are “Sounds” and their counterparts are “Echos.” When a Sound dies, their Echo is executed. So, Will knows he’s in danger when he discovers that his Echo is a prince who the usurper king wants dead.
The Orphanage of Castaway Children takes him in. But who can he trust? His chemistry teacher from home? A mysterious man claiming to be on his side? His magician roommate? Books, special coins, and a “Crystillery,” or crystal ball that shows memories, will help him uncover the truths of this realm.
Author Dew Pellucid shares a wonder-filled fantasy world in her award-winning novel, The Crystilleries of Echoland. I was captivated by the idea of a crystallized world which observes and links itself to our world. However, I thought there were too many similarities to J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter books in the elements of the story. Mysterious teachers. Reaper-like spies. School bullies. Enough said.
Overall, I craved more description. I loved the orphanage’s garden and how the fountain poured candy cane shaped water to celebrate Crystalmas. But I wish there had been more elaboration on the overall look and mood of the interior of the orphanage.
The narration on the Royal Shekel, “as hard as metal, as warm as sunlight, as gleaming as ice,” tells us exactly what it’s like to hold this coin. But I found myself wanting more details like this on the crystal ball objects mentioned throughout the novel. A crystal ball is typically a glass sphere of a standard size. So, what do crystal ball door knockers, sunglasses, and bookmarks look like?
The personalities of the characters really came out in the dialogue and action. I could relate most to Will, a brave boy with a soft spot for animals. But I think more backstory and reflection at pivotal moments would have brought out greater emotion. For example, I wanted Will to reflect on how his life had been affected by events in Echoland. What were his emotional struggles? I also wanted to learn about the personal experiences of the children at the orphanage before they were brought there.
Towards the end, it seemed like physical hurdles were overcome too quickly and easily. There were several times when I thought a character’s life was in danger, but some lucky loophole would save them directly after. I wish there had been more prolonged suspense.
As far as grammar, a number of sentences throughout the novel were actually dependent clauses and, thus, not complete sentences. This made for choppy and confusing reading.
So I rate this book 2 out of 4 stars. The grammar errors and lack of lengthy narration prevented me from giving it 3 or 4 stars. The concept and characters were relatable. But there were so many missed opportunities to go into detail and flesh out the culture of Echoland and the backgrounds of the characters.
In summary, older children and young teens would enjoy this book. Boys would it enjoy it the most, since the central characters are boys. Older fantasy enthusiasts might find it too simple.
The Crystilleries of Echoland
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