3 out of 4 stars
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Dew Pellucid’s fantasy novel The Crystilleries of Echoland introduces us to Will Cleary, a 12-year-old who disappeared with his twin sister Emmy a decade ago. Will was found, wrapped in a glowing plant and accompanied by the falcon Deá and the wolf Damian. Emmy, however, remains lost, and the twins’ parents do not cope well with this; the father reads obsessively, and the mother dives around the pond that Will and Emmy disappeared into. Both parents are looking for clues into Emmy’s disappearance, but despite how ineffectual their methods are, they do not attempt any other course of action.
The disappearance of Emmy is part of a wider pattern of disappearances, all recorded in a 1,007-page book which Will darkly refers to as a “gravestone” book. Will is unique in that, of all the people recorded in the “gravestone” book, he is the only one to have returned. The consequences of his return are more fantastic than he realizes, for there is a parallel world to Will’s called Echoland. Will is a Sound, and Sounds have Echoes, or reflections of themselves, that reside in Echoland. Will’s Echo is a prince who is poised to become king, but dark forces within Echoland are conspiring against this outcome, with consequences for both the prince and for Will.
While The Crystilleries of Echoland has sixty-three chapters, these are brief. Furthermore, the pace of the story is brisk, so getting through the book should not take too long. Pellucid writes in an accessible manner appropriate for young adults, though given the amount of violence in the book, your mileage may vary regarding how appropriate this book is for that market. There are two things that go against the writing: too many commas are used where they are not needed; and Pellucid seems particularly taken with the word “lucent,” which occurs throughout the text with irritating frequency.
The Crystilleries of Echoland does have strong points. The graphic artwork throughout the book conveys an appropriately other-worldly atmosphere, enabling the reader to immerse themselves in Will’s world. The concept itself is intriguing, in terms of how Sounds and Echoes inhabit parallel realms and yet lead existences which are inextricably linked. Pellucid is masterful at world-building and she has constructed an imaginative and coherent universe within this book.
I must award The Crystilleries of Echoland a rating of 3 out of 4 stars. A proof-reader is required to edit a lot of the commas throughout the work, and a thesaurus will be necessary to replace the word “lucent” to not induce annoyance in the reader. These stylistic criticisms aside, this is an interesting book which gets the reader thinking and is recommended for young adults and older adults alike.
The Crystilleries of Echoland
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