Title: Echo North
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Genre: Fantasy, Young Adult, Romance
My Rating: 4 stars
“No matter how much you might deny it, Echo Alkaev, you are extraordinary. You have been since the moment you were born.”
When Echo finds her father near death in the snowy woods, she makes a bargain with a talking wolf: she will live with the wolf for one year in exchange for him saving her father. Unsure of what she really agreed to, Echo is swept away into a magical house under a mountain, following after a wolf that seems to have a bunch of rules and a very stormy disposition. Finding out magic is real is one thing- finding out there is much more to the world that she never imagined is another, and Echo is about to see things she never would have imagined.
– an MC that has flaws and isn’t stereotypically beautiful, that loves to read and worked at a bookstore, that does what is least selfish even when it is the hardest route
– a strong brother/sister relationship, an MC with a loving father, an evil queen
– talking wolves and angry forests, a house that will make any item you ask for appear out of thin air
– seed cake sprinkled with sugared roses, venison and bowls of fruit, soup tureens and a mountain of sugary square cakes layered with jam, plenty of tea and honeyed biscuits
The house under the mountain, along with all its doors and all the things they contained, kept me entertained for pages and pages. There’s a library full of story mirrors that can be entered into and explored, rooms that need to be sewn back together or they’ll come apart, and a house that can conjure up items out of thin air. The setting was the best thing about this book in my opinion, and I loved that Echo could step into a story and explore while interacting with all these different worlds. I want a library of book-mirrors for myself!
“I held him like the world had spun away beneath me, and I was left to dance with the stars, not mortal any longer but a creature made of moonlight and magic.”
This is a retelling, and you can definitely feel the fairytale aspects of the story as you read. The characters all fit certain molds and aren’t super unique, but they’re interesting enough for the position they’re supposed to fill. The main plot was predictable, but it was so imaginative and magical along the way that I didn’t really mind that I was able to guess what was coming next. The bit of story after the halfway mark where Echo was traveling was the slowest part of the book for me, but even that didn’t delay things too much. It was a great build up to Echo having to face her fears and accept how she truly feels about everything. Echo made a long journey as a character, starting as a girl afraid of the world and their judgement towards her scarred face, to a person that would brave anything for those she loved- no matter what it cost her.
The ending was a bit unexpected, and really helped me appreciate everything in this book that much more. The beginning of the book was dreamy with some underlying danger, but the danger became very real towards the end, and I was on the edge of my seat for most of it. Overall, this was a quick and fun read that wasn’t too complicated while still having an interesting plot. Don’t expect anything groundbreaking from this, but know that you will enjoy yourself throughout and be thoroughly entertained along the way.
“Wild house and unpredictable wolf aside, I didn’t care where I’d promised to stay for a whole year, as long as there was something to read.”