3 out of 4 stars
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The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid is the thrilling tale of a young boy named Will Cleary and his adventures (and misadventures) in an eerie and magical underground kingdom called Echoland. Initially embarking on a passionate quest to rescue his long-lost sister, stolen away years before by the denizens of Echoland, Will soon learns that his problems have only just begun: This frozen subterranean kingdom is a parallel world to our own, where the copies or “echoes” of every person in the human world live and reside. Will Cleary’s own echo is the prince of Echoland himself. The prince has powerful enemies who want him dead, and these enemies know that the easiest way to get rid of the prince, Will’s echo, is to kill Will. Why? Because once a sound is dead, its echo is doomed to die, too.
Will the prince regain a throne that is rightfully his? Will our hero Will Cleary escape with his sister and return home to the surface? Or will the forces of evil prevail and take out both Will and the prince—the sound and his echo, dooming the kingdom of Echoland to a never-ending reign of terror?
The Crystilleries of Echoland is a highly enjoyable, fast-paced read. The writing is simple, succinct, yet poignant. The plot is impressively original and well-structured, a roller coaster of brilliant twists and turns that constantly keeps the reader guessing. Moments of action, drama, terror, and humor are all deftly balanced. And each and every one of the characters, from minor players to major ones, from villains to heroes, is lovingly crafted with a unique appearance and a distinct voice.
In addition, the author uses the interplay between sounds and echoes throughout the book to weave a very thoughtful and poignant commentary on racial equality. This element adds another layer of depth to the story that I really liked.
I have only two real quibbles with this book. The first is that at times the writing is cryptic and I had some difficulty figuring out what was going on. I would have to reread passages or go back a couple of pages to try and establish context. A bit more exposition by the author to explain the more unfamiliar and fanciful elements of Echoland would have been helpful. Secondly, I spotted several punctuation errors. There were not so many errors that these mistakes were constant or distracting, but I counted more than ten occurrences throughout the book. These errors consisted mainly of missing commas.
Overall, my rating for The Crystilleries of Echoland, for the reasons listed above, is 3 out of 4 stars. Although this book’s target demographic appears to be middle school and young adult readers, I think that anyone who has a soft spot in their heart for the fantasy genre—or just anyone who appreciates a fresh, well-plotted story—will enjoy this book immensely.
The Crystilleries of Echoland
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