The Sound and the Echoes by Dew Pellucid
My rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars ★★★☆☆
If you consider yourself a fan of high fantasy stories, for middle-grade/young adult readers that are both insanely creative and most definitely offbeat then you really should check out The Sound & The Echoes by Dew Pellucid. Coming from someone who has read her fair share of fantasy books, I have to admit that most of the time I was in awe (honestly!) as to how Pellucid came up with such mind-boggling ideas. From the world building, to the premise, to the characters; The Sound & the Echoes offers a nice vacation from mundane reality. There were a few minor bumps here and there, but for someone who's read as much of these types of books as I have... it's almost impossible not to notice some minor details that I'd have liked to see fleshed through a bit differently. Overall though, this story was thoroughly enchanting and enjoyable.
The Sound & the Echoes introduces the reader to a magical world where everyone has a mirror image living in another realm. Our world would be most similar to the Sound World but when a Sound is born, his Echo is simultaneously born elsewhere. But the Echo Realm is governed by a cruel rule. If a Sound dies, his Echo must die as well. So, if you're an echo and you wanted another echo out of the way...there would be an easy way to do so: kill his sound. And so the prince's sound, Will discovers that his life is in danger. Fate Sealers & Fortune Tellers want him dead to keep the crown prince away from ever gaining the throne! Before long, Will's world is completely thrown upside down as he learns the truth about his identity and the truth behind his own sister's mysterious disappearance.
When I started this book, the tone it had right at the beginning gave me an impression of something of a cross between Harry Potter and The Chronicles of Narnia, while being something different and seperate all-together. There some a bit too familiar elements featured here (like the wizened omniscient 'teacher figure' or even the Faith Sealers themselves which were reminiscent of the Nazgûl in LotR or even the Dementors in HP),but most of what Pellucid brings to the table is beyond unique. The world-building, especially in the Echo Realm is a perfect example of the epic inventiveness at the authors disposal. The Sound & the Echoes is filled with beautiful descriptions of the icy, translucent, shimmering world of the Echo Realm. The wintery setting was a definite plus for me; snowy landscapes just feel more enchanted. I don't know if that's just my Canadian showing? haha
Dew Pellucid's approach to magic wasn't your average 'spells or powers' type of magic either. Heavy on crystal balls, secret passages, mysteries and cryptic clues, it's more inherently magical items or that the world is itself enchanted. There's a Lake of Eternal Ice with hidden treasures in it's depths, there are Cold-Fire Mushrooms, Warming Snowflake Blankets & millions of crystal balls used for anything from magic to spying to fashion. The characters themselves though don't really display any magical abilities (for the most part.) I really appreciate this take on magic, something I'd last encountered when I read the Narnia series. It's uncommon but it offers a variety of outcomes & possibilities. I thought the characters were well-developed & likeable, though I would have wanted some of them to be a bit more developed(like Emmy & Fortis Fortuna). Will as the main protagonist was relatable and also realistic in his thoughts & actions. I thought he displayed bravery, curiosity and persistence throughout. I also really liked his best friend in the Echo Realm; Peter and the two of them were fun in a quirky and offbeat kind of way. Two other standout characters were Aurelius & Valerie :) To be honest, most of Dew Pellucid's characters are a bit odd, but I've always loved things a bit odd anyways...
The plot of The Sound & the Echoes is what you'd expect from an average middle grade high fantasy in terms of complexity. With some characters I had an easy time figuring out whether to trust them or not but with others it wasn't so easy. I found that the pace did slow for a bit around the halfway mark, but only for a very short duration. Soon enough, I was eager to see how the story would end up and how Pellucid was going to tie things up. There are a few scenes in the end where I would have wanted even a little more detail, not because I was confused but everything happened so fast that I hardly had time to fully appreciate what had happened and how neat it was. But even that can be a good thing because at the end, I felt like I wanted more. I don't know if Dew Pellucid has plans for more adventures for the Sounds & the Echoes but
A free copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
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