3 out of 4 stars
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Of all the many people who had disappeared without a trace, only William Cleary had returned. Yet his return was without the sister who had vanished alongside him. As twelve-year-old Will Cleary, nearing a fateful thirteenth birthday, sets out in search of his long-lost twin sister, Emmy, he soon becomes inextricably involved in the fate of the strange world which she disappeared into. Echoland, as the world is called, is something of a translucent reflection of Will’s own world, an echo of his world inhabited by echo people and vanished sounds, such as Emmy. In this alternate world, Will’s mission to bring Emmy back swiftly becomes something much greater as he realizes the vital role he plays to this world. In an attempt to restore the rightful king who can return justice to Echoland, Will, alongside friends new and old, will defy the grotesque Fate Sealers, perform daring ventures, and uncover secrets intended to forever remain in the dark.
The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid is, for the most part, an enjoyable read. I found myself much more involved in the story once I had gotten past the first few chapters and was to a point where the plot was going in a clearer, more decisive direction. Once I was to that point it was very easy to follow and find interest in Will’s adventures. It was also a fair bit easier to understand the unfamiliar world after I had passed the initial introductions of it. In addition, I found the pictures featured at the beginning of each chapter to be extremely helpful in visualizing this world of Dew Pellucid's.
Something I can definitely say I liked about this novel is that I was never bored. Confused a bit at times, yes; bored, never. Whether in a moment of action, thought, description, or speech, I found this book thoroughly interesting. The fast pacing of this book draws readers quickly from one scene to the next, introducing a variety of characters and many fascinating scenes. I greatly appreciated the aforementioned, illustrative pictures introducing each chapter. These pictures made what probably would’ve been rather difficult to visualize otherwise as simple as just bothering to look. A picture’s worth a thousand words, as the saying goes, and these pictures added a lot towards understanding the world. My favorite part of this story was the unique and interesting characters. Whether a friend or foe, they were what made the whole story interesting. Just as a good book should, it was the characters and not so much the setting that created the story.
As enjoyable as this book was, there were, however, some aspects that I think could’ve been done a bit better. The thing that bothered me most was not quite being able to understand or fully grasp the world. I understood the who of the world, as in the characters, I mostly understood the what, or the plot, and I sort of understood the when, as in what time period the story took place. But I really never understood the where or the how of the world. I didn’t find really any explanation of how Echoland fundamentally worked or any especially clear explanation of where Echoland was exactly. Nonetheless, I did feel like it was a well-developed and thought out world. It just felt as if not enough was shared or explained for the reader to understand the world as well as the author did. To that end, although the fast pacing did ensure an active read, there were times, especially in the beginning, where a more leisurely pace would’ve lent the reader a greater ability to understand what was going on. In a few other places the pace prevented a conversation or a sometimes suspenseful moment from being fully developed.
I rate The Crystilleries of Echoland 3 out of 4 stars. There were very few errors and I found the story to be, largely, both entertaining and interesting. There are some places that I wish the story was a little more developed, but I still liked it overall. I would recommend this book to young teens middle-schoolers who enjoy fantasy novels.
The Crystilleries of Echoland
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