Title: Echo North
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Pub. Date: January 15, 2019
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart when her father leaves for the city and mysteriously disappears. Believing he is lost forever, Echo is shocked to find him half-frozen in the winter forest six months later, guarded by a strange talking wolf—the same creature who attacked her as a child. The wolf presents Echo with an ultimatum: If she lives with him for one year, he will ensure her father makes it home safely. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.
In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, each room must be sewn together to keep the home from unraveling, and something new and dark and strange lies behind every door. When centuries-old secrets unfold, Echo discovers a magical library full of books-turned-mirrors, and a young man named Hal who is trapped inside of them. As the year ticks by, the rooms begin to disappear, and Echo must solve the mystery of the wolf’s enchantment before her time is up, otherwise Echo, the wolf, and Hal will be lost forever.
This will be a spoiler free review.
WHY DID I WAIT SO LONG TO READ THIS BOOK?? My plans were to read it in Feb/Mar but I just didn’t get to it, so I finally sat down, turned on the audiobook and inhaled it. It was a chore to get me to turn it off to do adult things and life. I didn’t want to stop listening to it. It felt like I had to physically pull myself out of the story and back into the real world…then I was impatient to get back to the book. I desperately didn’t want it to end, because then I would be done reading, and that was the last thing I wanted.
This is easily one of my new favorite fantasy books. It was gorgeous, vivid, amazing…basically everything I want in a fantasy. It was like Cinderella (you know what scene, with a dress) Beauty and the Beast (self-explanatory if you’ve read it), Psyche and Eros (Cupid) and just a lush beautiful fantasy that keeps you engaged from the very beginning. I could go on and on and on about how much I loved this book.
And a little side note – I probably wouldn’t have noticed the Psyche & Eros relationship deal if I hadn’t read Soul in Darkness by Wendy Higgins recently, since that relationship wasn’t known to me before then. But, ugh, I loved it.
I loved the character the story, how it all came together. Everyone should read this book and fall in love with it. I just get giddy remembering it. If you picked this book up because of it’s gorgeous cover, you definitely want to check out the story within. You follow Echo as she learns to love herself, to be true to who she is, and when all seems lost, to hold on with everything you have. It’s truly a magical tale. There’s even an enchanted library full of mirror books that You. Can. Walk. Into. How cool is that? I want one. I’m not sure if I want the magical house that comes with it, though.
As for Echo, I felt for her through the whole book – especially when she had to deal with her evil stepmother. Yuck. Her journey isn’t an easy one, and it requires a lot of trust on her part. She’s selfless and doesn’t lose her capacity for goodness, despite everything she goes through. She’s not without fear, but she’s strong and I really liked experiencing this story through her. Hal is a sweetheart and I loved that he was always down for an adventure and pulled Echo right along with him. It’s easy to get lost in books, and that’s abundantly clear in this book. Hal is sweet and caring and full of charisma. Echo is drawn to him and views him as the light in the darkness she’s currently facing.
This book is definitely unique and while it pulls from some well-loved and well-known stories, it’s wholly its own and utterly captivating. It’s a book about self-discovery and learning to love.
“If you love something you will not give it up, not for anything. It belongs to you; it is part of you. If you grab hold of it and never let it go—no one can take it from you.”
I love this quote from the book. There were a lot of beautiful lines that just resonated, and I felt them. Honestly, it felt like a long-forgotten fairy tale, and I loved that about it. It was magical, I felt like I had been transported into Echo’s world – similarly to her adventures into the mirror books. It wasn’t overly flowery in its writing, but the pictures it painted in my head – even weeks later I can still see everything so clearly. It’s a gem of a book, and I so happy that I’ve finally gotten a chance to read it and fall in love with it. Joanna Ruth Meyer wrote a book that is pure magic and I will now read anything she writes.