Echo North
Echo Alkaev’s safe and carefully structured world falls apart after 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 offer: for her to come and live with him for a year. But there is more to the wolf than Echo realizes.In his enchanted house beneath a mountain, Echo discovers centuries-old secrets, 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, 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.

Echo North Details

TitleEcho North
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseJan 15th, 2019
PublisherPage Street Kids
ISBN-139781624147159
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult, Retellings, Young Adult Fantasy, Fairy Tales

Echo North Review

  • Christie«SHBBblogger»
    January 1, 1970
    Title: Echo NorthSeries: StandaloneAuthor: Joanna Ruth MeyerRelease date: January 15, 2019I went into this book thinking it was going to be a simple fairy tale retelling, a fresh spin on something I've heard a million times. Beauty and the Beast is a beloved fairy tale and known to many, but I guarantee nothing about this will feel stale or uninspired. This book is more of a mash up of several fairy tales with the author's imagination stamped in the fine details. Meyer held me spellbound and ca Title: Echo NorthSeries: StandaloneAuthor: Joanna Ruth MeyerRelease date: January 15, 2019I went into this book thinking it was going to be a simple fairy tale retelling, a fresh spin on something I've heard a million times. Beauty and the Beast is a beloved fairy tale and known to many, but I guarantee nothing about this will feel stale or uninspired. This book is more of a mash up of several fairy tales with the author's imagination stamped in the fine details. Meyer held me spellbound and captive to her words, there's no other way to describe it. One minute you're strolling through her world, naively thinking you'll coast on comfortably 'til the end. The next, the force of the story slaps you in the back with unexpected momentum. And you're careening through its twisted, thorny path so fast you're breathless with wonder. They were fairies, I think, or something like fairies: wispy creatures as tall as trees that seemed to be made of rain, or flowers; willowy spiders with laughing hair; bears with long fingers and masques instead of faces; hundreds of others harder to describe. They all danced together in the center of the clearing, a mass of strangeness and swirling color. In their midst sat a woman on a writhing throne, her hair the same shade as the starlight.I'm sitting here trying to form coherent, linear thoughts to write down. But my mind is still dizzy with the adventure I reluctantly returned from. I'm in the enchanted house under the mountain where nothing is as it seems. Your smallest wish is granted, and the nightmare you never knew existed waits for time to slip through your fingers. The answers to this enigmatic puzzle are as ephemeral as a dream you can't quite remember when you wake. Teasing the edge of your consciousness. Echo must have the cunning to solve the mystery, and the courage fight an ancient adversary with immeasurable power. You will agonize every step of the way with her. One wrong move will have all hope for the future folding in on itself like a house of cards. Echo Alkaev was disfigured by a mysterious white wolf in the woods as a child. Once she led a normal life, now she's reviled and feared because of the scars mapping one side of her face. Her father and brother have always given her unconditional love, but her confidence has been shattered by small minded people who cannot see past her surface imperfections. I learned very early that in the old tales of magic the wicked were always ugly and scarred, the good beautiful; I was not beautiful, but I wanted to be good, and after a while I couldn’t bear to read those stories anymore.Growing up in her father's book shop has garnered a passion for reading, and a thirst for knowledge. Yet nothing outweighs the loyalty and love she has for her family. So when her father disappears one winter after a journey into the woods, she sets off alone. Desperate to find him. Stumbling upon his half frozen and unconscious body, she's frantic to get him home. The white wolf from her past appears, and offers a bargain. One year of her life in exchange for her father's safe return. That year is a two-sided paradox of euphoria and despair, like a coin flipped and suspended in the air holding her fate in the balance. Even as she swears to uncover the wolf's past and set him free, the house's magic dazzles her with distractions. It's a visceral feast on your senses. Who wouldn't be enthralled with a library that allows you to enter its mirror-books, silver spiders spinning webs that can bind collapsing rooms, and a venomous garden with poison roses and vines? At night the house cracks and moans, cackling in evil delight. Echo doesn't know what forces threaten outside her locked bedroom door, but she doesn't truly know who's locked inside with her either. "What happens at midnight?""The magic ceases to function, and the house is unbound."Did that mean he would become unbound too? This book had so many dualities to explore. Layered characters with secrets and muddled intentions. Jaw clenching, white knuckled suspense where time ceases to exist. Just when you think you've reached the pinnacle of the adventure, you're steered on a harrowing voyage that seems doomed to end in failure. But this is where Echo's heart is exposed the most. She's a true heroine that may get knocked down, but she dusts herself off and runs fiercely towards the challenge again. Her courage never fails her, even on her darkest days. I was nothing short of frenzied this morning when I woke up and immediately dove right back into the book. I blew through 300 pages without pause, refusing to put it down until the conclusion. That's how good it was, I didn't have any choice in the matter. The lush, dark landscape was constantly shifting, the characters along with it. I loved not only this author's writing, but her finesse in storytelling. I'm an instant fan and cannot wait to read more from her in the future. Do not hesitate!! If I could heft a huge a neon sign up that blinks, "READ ECHO NORTH" I would. I want everyone to experience this exhilarating, fantastical tale. FOLLOW SMOKIN HOT BOOK BLOG ON:
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  • megs_bookrack
    January 1, 1970
    A wolf guarding over a disappeared Father. A young girl who must make a deal with said wolf to save her Father. A hidden castle with a secret, magical library.MY HEART SINGSSSSSSSSSS
  • julianna ➹
    January 1, 1970
    FULL REVIEW UP <3I want to get lost in the woods during a winter storm if it means I can have the experience of going to a magical sentient house that provides me with immersive mirror-books. Down to have fun times in the forest, 10/10seriously this book needs to be hyped up more!!!! It’s so amazing and wondrous and just!!!! It deserves more attentionAlso, while reading this book I freaked out so much that I created recordings of myself talking about the book while reading it. Will the world FULL REVIEW UP <3I want to get lost in the woods during a winter storm if it means I can have the experience of going to a magical sentient house that provides me with immersive mirror-books. Down to have fun times in the forest, 10/10seriously this book needs to be hyped up more!!!! It’s so amazing and wondrous and just!!!! It deserves more attentionAlso, while reading this book I freaked out so much that I created recordings of myself talking about the book while reading it. Will the world ever get to see sleep-deprived me rambling about wolves? No, unfortunately (truly, a loss 😔)When I was a third through this book I immediately knew that it was going to be one of my favorites and uhhh not to exaggerate but Joanna Ruth Meyer is clearly an actual, literal god sent down to us from the heavens to bless us with this book. This book is a retelling from East of Sun, West of the Moon and it also pulls from Beauty and the Beast, the tale of Eros and Psyche, Tam Lin, and Cinderella. And she pulls from these stories in such an amazing way that creates such an atmospheric world that made me feel like I was there.This gave me very Spinning Silver vibes without the jumping from perspective to perspective so if you enjoyed Spinning Silver, then I highly recommend this book because it’s just as beautiful and lyrical.→ so what the heck is this book about?Echo is a highly intelligent girl who was attacked by a wolf when she was younger, leaving her with scars across her face that cause anyone who sees her to be disgusted. First of all, I want to fight everyone in Echo’s village who DARED to make fun of her for her scars. I’ll be meeting those villagers in the freaking town square, ok??? Furthermore, the one that I really want to fight is Echo’s terrible, terrible stepmother. Can she leave forever pls?So basically, the only person that doesn’t really judge Echo for her scars is her father. I stan one (1) man and that is Echo’s dad. When Echo sees her father injured and on the brink of death, she immediately jumps at the chance to save him-- but in order to do that, she needs to stay with a wolf in a mystical, magical house for a year.The house that they stay in is made up of amazing, magical rooms. One in particular, that’s both Echo and my favorite, is the room of book-mirrors: you can jump into a mirror and travel into another virtual world where you can either watch the story unfold or simply relax and have some tea in a tavern. But the marvelous house that they live in comes with a problem-- the house is falling apart. Earthquakes occur every so often, and it becomes Echo’s duty to collect silk from the spiders and sew the rooms together. Oh, and Echo isn’t allowed to look at the wolf during the nighttime-- otherwise, she’ll be kicked out of the house to face the woods all alone.The thing is, you think you know what’s going on. And yes, a lot of the plot twists that I predicted did occur, but also… the ending unfurled in a way that I did not expect, and I was NOT ready for it. → the writingI’m sorry, I need a moment. This section is literally just going to be me gushing about how beautiful the writing is, because it just captivated me from the first chapter and yea, I did suffer sleep deprivation after reading until 2 am but it was worth it. *blinks at you through half-closed eyes*You’re just pulled into the storyline, and I just??????? I think Joanna Ruth Meyer is officially my writing idol because I lowkey can’t comprehend how she really did this.It’s just this! Fairytale world! Which we’ve all probably experienced before! But this book just does it so beautifully that I think it’s going to be The Standard for all western fairytale worldbuilding that I read from now on.This book can have my heart and more. Any body part, really→ the charactersEcho is a strong female heroine, and I would fight everyone for her. She’s been mistreated and bullied all throughout her life because of the scars on her face, and her character arc was really so moving as she spent time with the wolf- who didn’t care about her scars- and she learned not to yearn for the attention and approval of others and instead find strength in herself. She learns to stop wishing that her face was normal and perfect and embraces herself for the way she is.Strong and empowering self-image messages are built into this book in an artful way that I only just realized. When you travel into a book-mirror world, your appearance is how you wish to be. And in the book-mirrors, Echo looks as if she has no scars.Hal is someone that Echo meets within the book-mirrors (people can meet within them if they’re in the same story) and I think literally 80% of my notes were just gushing over how much I loved Hal. He’s a tricky, cocky boy who zips in and out of the book worlds so often that he’s been to every story multiple times-- all he wants is a friend and I just want to give him a HUG okay. He acts happy and clever but secretly he wants to find out what his past was while also trying to run away from the pain that always shadows him.Mokosh is also someone that Echo meets in the book-mirrors and she’s just. Amazing. (view spoiler)[I know she’s technically bad but I still love her. So much. (hide spoiler)] SHE NEEDS HER OWN NOVEL IN MY OPINION. JUST SAYING. She has her own, dark flaws, but I still love her so much?? She deserves the world. Also, I pictured her as South Asian when we first met her, but… I don’t think she’s South Asian. → seriously, this is so amazing?I expected a lush fantasy and this book delivered and more.This book is told in three parts, and each part is so meaningful and I kind of screamed when I reached part three. The only bad thing about this book was that it ENDED. (how dare) I think others have said this already but this felt like it was a real fairytale, like it wasn’t just a retelling but something that’s been part of folklore for years. If you uhhh like to breathe, then you’re going to like this book.Trigger and content warnings for sickness, animal attacking a human (specifically a wolf attacking a human’s face), and death.// this was a buddy read with my super secret fav, Mith <3Thank you so, so much to Page Street Kids for sending me a copy of this book. Seriously you guys are the best I love you guys so much for blessing me with this book
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  • Ashlee » Library In The Country
    January 1, 1970
    ”There is one thing you must not do, one rule you must not break.” Echo North is a brilliant and magical retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, while also pulling inspiration from the stories of Cupid & Psyche, as well as Tam Lin. I read this in less than a day and was completely enthralled with everything about it.Echo is the daughter of a bookseller that has always struggled to find her place and purpose in the world. She loves her family, her books and is a devourer of knowle ”There is one thing you must not do, one rule you must not break.” Echo North is a brilliant and magical retelling of East of the Sun and West of the Moon, while also pulling inspiration from the stories of Cupid & Psyche, as well as Tam Lin. I read this in less than a day and was completely enthralled with everything about it.Echo is the daughter of a bookseller that has always struggled to find her place and purpose in the world. She loves her family, her books and is a devourer of knowledge - but a fateful encounter with a wolf as a child left her face terribly scarred. Because of this Echo has experienced terrible rumors and unnecessary cruelty.Tragically, Echo's father goes missing for months, until Echo, lost in the woods herself, finds him half-frozen with the wolf from her childhood by his side. She makes a deal with the wolf to live with him in his enchanted house for one year. The only rule is that Echo may never look upon him between midnight and dawn.I LOVED the wolf's magical house in this book, the stories within stories in the mirror library, the growing companionship and dependence between Echo and the wolf, Echo's adventures with Hal and Mokosh, the budding romance, as well as the mystery surrounding how to save the characters under "her" enchantments. If you've read the stories that inspire Echo North, its no surprise as to where the plot will take us, however Meyer puts her own twists into the story, creating a refreshing and new take on time honored classics. Echo North is one of those books that drops breadcrumbs along the way, while you're fully engrossed in the beauty and mystery of the story. They are there to piece together or you can let the answers come to you, while the story sweeps you off your feet.I highly recommend this one!Review copy provided by Page Street Publishing via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.Blog | Bookstagram
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  • Deborah O'Carroll
    January 1, 1970
    Originally posted on my book blog. My favorite books are the ones I find most difficult to review. AAHH. How can I explain my love for this book? IT’S SO, SO GOOD.Echo North is so beautiful it hurts. I found myself utterly enchanted by this story of the girl Echo and the white wolf and Hal and the Winds, and I’m so sad it’s over because I wanted to just LIVE in it for ages and ages. <3Don’t you love those retellings that feel like they’re the REAL story? This one felt that way. A retelling o Originally posted on my book blog. My favorite books are the ones I find most difficult to review. AAHH. How can I explain my love for this book? IT’S SO, SO GOOD.Echo North is so beautiful it hurts. I found myself utterly enchanted by this story of the girl Echo and the white wolf and Hal and the Winds, and I’m so sad it’s over because I wanted to just LIVE in it for ages and ages. <3Don’t you love those retellings that feel like they’re the REAL story? This one felt that way. A retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon, I loved how it seemed like this was the real history behind it. More than seemed, it WAS and—well, you’ll have to read it. ;) There’s also a hint of Beauty and the Beast, and just a dash of Tam Lin. All the retelling bits were brilliant and I loved them!This is the story of Echo, our heroine, trapped by her scars, who tells the story in words so heartfelt and gorgeous that I wanted to melt into them. It’s the story of the white wolf in the house under the mountain, of his sorrow and secrets, trapped by a curse. It’s the story of Hal, the . . . I don’t have a word for him, because all of them fall short of his irrepressible personality! The indescribable young man Echo meets, who is trapped in the worlds of the book-mirrors and by a shadow of his own past. They’re my FAVORITE. I love them all. Their stories intertwine flawlessly and paint a stunning picture I happily lost myself in.I sometimes almost forgot I was reading a retelling, because there was just so much MORE to this book. I think of it in three parts—the part where Echo is at home, the part in the House under the mountain, and the quest. They’re all fantastic (although the beginning part is kind of sad, but I somehow didn’t mind because it’s just what HAPPENED, you know?), but the middle bit is my absolute favorite. :DThe book-mirrors were one of my favorite things—how cool is the idea of stepping into a mirror which is actually a book, and experiencing that? There were other awesome things about the book-mirrors but I don’t want to spoil them—you must read it for yourself! :) Another thing I loved was the House! It almost has its own personality, and all the different unique rooms, full of fantasy and wonder and peril and bound together like patches on a quilt, were incredible. It was like having separate pockets of Faerie all tied together.The sheer imagination left me speechless. This is what fantasy was made for. I was spellbound by all the many different imaginative worlds and stories and fantastical elements woven together by this author’s skillful pen. How did she come up with them all? It’s like the full potential of fantasy has been explored in these pages. There are a thousand unique things in this tale, all perilous and beautiful like frozen starlight.It’s a story full of echoing joy and heart-rending sorrow, of stars and wind and snow, of a magical house and books explored through mirrors, of love and fire and woods and thorns, of music and wonder and mystery and adventure. None of it’s safe, exactly, but it’s all stunning. It was so vivid I absolutely BREATHED this story, both thrilling and quiet, on the edge of my seat but cozy at the same time, and got to know each of these dear characters so well. <3Because these CHARACTERS. Hal is the absolute BEST. I have a new favorite character, guys. ;) He’s so full of LIFE and his dialog and exuberance are just—the best. But I love how there’s something deeper back there, with several layers of mystery. He’s like all my most favorite character types! I love Hal and Echo together—they are my favorite! <3 The wolf was also awesome and also mysterious. He and Echo have a great dynamic as well! And I love Echo. And the romance was the best.All the dialog and interactions in this book . . . SO GOOD. And there were side characters I loved as well! Everyone was so alive. Echo’s brother Rodya—there need to be more good brother characters in fiction!—is not in it terribly much but he was fantastic. And I absolutely loved Ivan the storyteller and his wife and just . . . this whole book, guys. I want to hug it forever!Also, there are PLOT TWISTS. One of them I guessed and was totally hoping would be a thing. Another was hinted at and I vaguely suspected something was up, but oh, the glorious reveal of this mind-blowing twist! :O And some of the side characters had stories that were twisty as well. Did I mention how breathtaking the writing was? I just want to eat it! And I loved the music in the story and its descriptions. :) It was all so masterfully done!Some books simply enchant you, you know? This one stole a part of my heart and crept in as the last book I read in 2018 but one of my top favorites. I’m going to treasure my memories of reading this late at night near the cold end of the year, when I didn’t mean to read so late but couldn’t stop. ^_^I could probably talk about this book for ages but I’m going to stop now and simply say: If you love fairytales and the fantastic and characters who will steal your heart, you absolutely must read this gorgeous tale, full of the wild echoes of Faerie, of piercing starlight and wind and ice and fierce love.Just read it.Quotes:“What is your name?” I asked.“I do not have a name.”“Then what am I to call you?”“Whatever you like.”***“If I’d thought this story wouldn’t have a happy ending, I would have read something else.”His blue eyes locked on mine, suddenly serious. “Must you always know a story ends happily before you feel equal to beginning it?***We dined with the Winds in a hall looking out over the world, and the colors tasted bright and the wine smelt of music.***“It’s all very exciting, if rather ridiculous.”I couldn’t help but laugh. “/You/ are rather ridiculous.”He winked at me again. “Are you ready to run?”“What?”That’s when one of the soldiers spotted us, his blade flashing toward our hiding spot.“Run, Echo!” cried Hal. He grabbed my hand and we dashed into the wood.Thanks to the publisher providing a free ARC of this book. A positive review was not required. All opinions are entirely my own.
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  • Sol ~ TheBookishKing
    January 1, 1970
    There is absolutely No Reason that this book should be 400 pages.I just ... ugh yet another case of Cover Catfish.Thank you Page Street for the ARC in exchange for an honest review!
  • Rosamund Hodge
    January 1, 1970
    GORGEOUS
  • Marquise
    January 1, 1970
    This début novel makes a valiant attempt at retelling the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale mixing the original French tale with its Nordic variant East of the Sun and West of the Moon and the Scottish folk ballad Tam Lin. But rather than retelling the original tales directly, it opts for being a retelling of three retellings: Robin McKinley's Beauty, Edith Pattou's East, and Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock.The result is a somewhat messy and flawed story, albeit quite readable and probably fit This début novel makes a valiant attempt at retelling the Beauty and the Beast fairy tale mixing the original French tale with its Nordic variant East of the Sun and West of the Moon and the Scottish folk ballad Tam Lin. But rather than retelling the original tales directly, it opts for being a retelling of three retellings: Robin McKinley's Beauty, Edith Pattou's East, and Diana Wynne Jones' Fire and Hemlock.The result is a somewhat messy and flawed story, albeit quite readable and probably fit to be enjoyed a lot more by people who've not read the above mentioned retellings first, as I did. Knowing the other retellings will definitely inform your reaction to Echo North, more so if you loved those a lot and are perhaps going to see the "copycat" elements Meyer lifted in a not exactly charitable light. I happen to think McKinley did better the creepy house plot and Pattou handled the white bear & girl love story much better, plus I believe the Tam Lin element smelt more of self-indulgence than plot necessity. Yet, even so, Echo North doesn't suffer only by comparison, it has its own flaws.First off, the cartoony villainy is strong in this one. Echo's stepmother is mean and cruel merely for the sake of being mean and cruel as all fairy tale stepmothers are required to be by the laws of fairy-taledom. The heroine has to play the required poor abused girl role for sympathy and because the author couldn't find better motives or a better way to have her leave the house to end up with Wolf. And then, there's the Big Baddie, the source of the curse on the white wolf, who also is another that's evil for the funsies. Then there's the defective worldbuilding. Well, in reality there's no worldbuilding to speak of here, the world is all just lifted elements from McKinley and Pattou with a little sprinkling of 19th century Siberia that doesn't go beyond "perpetually snowy forest and cute village."And it's the latter element that brings me to the third and very, very annoying flaw: the major blunder on the author's part as regards Russian names. Why on Earth is Echo's surname kept in the masculine form, Alkaev, instead of turning it into the feminine, Alkaeva? Come on, surely the author can't be this hugely ignorant, what with her fangirly admission that she used Siberian Russia as an inspiration and having Google quite ready to inform anyone about foreign naming conventions! I'm so tired of authors constantly showing their disregard for the fact that not everyone in the world has the same naming traditions, and Russian is one of the most frequent victims of such ignorance.And then there's the characterisation of the protagonist herself, Echo Alkaev (agh!). The girl was scarred when very small due to a childish foolishness with a savage white wolf that she thought was a kindness. Somehow, this tragic event that'd have made any decent people anywhere and anytime feel pity for the little girl's accident is turned instead into unexplained hate towards her. Seriously, why do many people believe that in the past they all were so backwards and supertitious that any corporal disfigurement was automatically seen with fear and hate and condemnation? Really, there's the past attitudes towards inherited disabilities and disfigurements and there's past attitudes towards ACQUIRED bodily flaws. Do you really think that if, say, you fell on your face over the oven whilst cooking and that left your with burn scars, the whole village was going to look at you as if the Devil cursed you and you're to be the town's pariah now? Seriously? There's absolutely NO credible reason for Echo to be so hated and feared because of her scars, none at all but for the authorial need to force her into artificial isolation and feed her self-pity. Angst, you know, it fuels the plot.There's also other stuff that'd have used a good editor: too much wandering 'round here, which bloats the book a tad, making it longer than it should be; there's the need for the Big Villain's motives to be better explained instead of just dropping it all by the end when the story needs to be wrapped up; and then there's the cutesy ending, with the stepmother being her cartoony wicked self for the last time for plot convenience. I'm not sure why the powerful Winds decided to solve things for Echo either, as she did nothing to win them over... Enfin.I do think the author is a good storyteller, though. Once she gets her writer's legs and produces her own stories with less heavy borrowing from others, she'll probably be one to keep an eye on for those of us who like fairy tale retellings.
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  • Vicky Who Reads
    January 1, 1970
    Psst! I also have a giveaway + an interview with Joanna up on my blog! Find it HERE!4 starsThis was so magical, I totally fell in love with the enchanted house under the mountain and all of the lush settings in Echo North! (This was definitely my favorite part of reading, 100%.)The settings and way Meyer built this world was so magical and absorbing and I couldn’t get enough of it. From Echo’s hometown and its almost provincial feeling to the sweeping and somewhat menacing enchanted house under Psst! I also have a giveaway + an interview with Joanna up on my blog! Find it HERE!4 starsThis was so magical, I totally fell in love with the enchanted house under the mountain and all of the lush settings in Echo North! (This was definitely my favorite part of reading, 100%.)The settings and way Meyer built this world was so magical and absorbing and I couldn’t get enough of it. From Echo’s hometown and its almost provincial feeling to the sweeping and somewhat menacing enchanted house under the mountain to the icy cold landscapes she travels to at the end of the book, Echo North was as magical as it was lush!And even more than that, I totally thought Echo herself was such a cool character, and dynamic not necessarily in the way that she changes her outlook on life–but that she changes the way she looks at herself. I thought one of the most important part of Echo’s character arc was the way she looked at herself and her facial scarring and learned to accept that part of herself instead of hate it. And of course, there’s so much more to the plot than that, and the enchanted house is actually disappearing and parts of it (the rooms are there but not there) are breaking away due to the enchantment wearing out.This is where the magic comes in a lot, and I loved seeing Meyer not only develop something enchanting, but also something a little bit sinister and scary and dark as what was happening in the house. And the journey Echo takes–from her village to the house to the more physical quest–was really interesting, although the reason I took off a star was because of the last part, the physical quest. For the first two parts–the village and the enchanted house–I’d give this book a five stars, but for the physical journey to the “final battle” of sorts, I would dock the stars a bit because it wasn’t perfect, in my opinion. (Still really good, though.)The journey was good and I think it was important to the storyline, but also the last bit felt a little rushed and I wish Meyer dedicated more page time to that and took some away from the house? Because a lot of things were being compacted into this section, and there was so much going on I was a little overwhelmed. The ending fight scene though was top notch, and I loved reading that (as well as THAT TWIST OH MY GOSH!!!). That part blew me away! I also felt like, as a result of the lack of page time, the villain in person seemed a bit less AHH than I expected or wanted. I wanted her to be a little more shocking and stark and villainous (not in a caricature way) than we got, but it was still very interesting. Despite my criticism, I still really enjoyed reading Echo North and would totally recommend you pick this up! If you like magic and enchanted libraries and sweeping tales with lush landscapes, do not hesitate to check this one out!Thank you so much to Page Street YA and Joanna Ruth Meyer for providing me with an advance reader’s copy in exchange for an honest review!Blog | Instagram | Twitter
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  • Laura Weymouth
    January 1, 1970
    I've always loved the fairytale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and in ECHO NORTH, Joanna Meyer beautifully captures the original essence of the story while tying in a lush new mythos all her own. If magic houses, vengeful goddesses, mysterious wolves, and frozen tundra are of interest to you, then this book deserves a place near the top of your TBR.Echo is an endearing and relateable main character, whose steadfastness in the face of trials will have you rooting for her all the way. In fact I've always loved the fairytale "East of the Sun, West of the Moon" and in ECHO NORTH, Joanna Meyer beautifully captures the original essence of the story while tying in a lush new mythos all her own. If magic houses, vengeful goddesses, mysterious wolves, and frozen tundra are of interest to you, then this book deserves a place near the top of your TBR.Echo is an endearing and relateable main character, whose steadfastness in the face of trials will have you rooting for her all the way. In fact, this is the sort of book where not just Echo herself, but many of the characters, feel like old friends. The real glory of ECHO NORTH is its setting, though--the icy, Russian-inspired countryside that serves as a backdrop for Echo's adventures. Portrayed with loving detail, the world of ECHO NORTH feels real enough to visit, and I for one am looking forward to a return trip. Perfect for fans of THE BEAR AND THE NIGHTINGALE, by Katherine Arden.
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  • Breanna
    January 1, 1970
    THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and PaperbacksARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter. “Ever north, where the mountain meets the sky and the trees are hung with stars.” Echo North is a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, while also blending elements of other similar stories, such as Tam Lin. This book completely blew my expectations out of the water. I’m familiar with the stories on which Echo North is inspired by, and so I THIS REVIEW & MORE → Paws and PaperbacksARC received through #booksfortrade on Twitter. “Ever north, where the mountain meets the sky and the trees are hung with stars.” Echo North is a breathtaking, brilliant retelling of one of my favorite fairytales, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, while also blending elements of other similar stories, such as Tam Lin. This book completely blew my expectations out of the water. I’m familiar with the stories on which Echo North is inspired by, and so I had some sense of how the plot would unfold. Joanna Ruth Meyer did such an excellent job, however, in taking the original elements of the fairytales and adding little twists to create a whimsical story that was both true to its roots, and yet totally unique. After making a deal with a strange white wolf, Echo, our heroine, finds herself as caretaker of an enchanted house that responds to her wishes. The house also includes a library full of magical mirror-books, capable of transporting the reader into the books’ story. “What would happen when I blew out the lamp—what would happen if I lit it again?” The storytelling was fantastic. The vivid descriptions and writing had me completely enamored by the book. Little hints are revealed along the way, and yet I was so focused on the magic of the story that it wasn’t until after the reveals at the end that I was able to reflect upon all the pieces. The ending was a little bittersweet, but it was entirely satisfying and wrapped the book up perfectly. Please do yourself a favor and add Echo North to your TBR, especially if you’re a fan of whimsical fairytales like East of the Sun, West of the Moon. This is such an enchanting, wonderful story and I’m so thankful I was finally able to find an early copy of it.
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  • Ashleigh
    January 1, 1970
    Wow! Where do I start?! I absolutely adored this book. It immediately drew me in from the very first line, on the very first page.I love the main character, Echo Alkaev. I love her because she’s perfectly human, and she’s perfectly flawed. She is scarred by a wolf as a child, and then is forced to live with this very same wolf to save her father’s life years later. She quickly learns upon going with the wolf that all is not as it seems. She is propelled into a world with an enchanted house benea Wow! Where do I start?! I absolutely adored this book. It immediately drew me in from the very first line, on the very first page.I love the main character, Echo Alkaev. I love her because she’s perfectly human, and she’s perfectly flawed. She is scarred by a wolf as a child, and then is forced to live with this very same wolf to save her father’s life years later. She quickly learns upon going with the wolf that all is not as it seems. She is propelled into a world with an enchanted house beneath a mountain, a magical library with mirror-books, and a couple of mysterious characters she meets inside these books. I found myself cheering Echo along her journey and I felt quite satisfied with the ending. I’m really hoping that Joanna *cough cough* writes more adventures in this breathtaking world.If you like fairytales, magic, mystery, and a setting inspired by 19th Century Siberian Russia, then this book is for you! It’s releasing in January 2019, so go forth and add to your TBR.
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  • Arielle ⭐ Cursebreaker ⭐
    January 1, 1970
    First ARC of the year complete and just like last year, I started off with a good one! I feel like there have been a lot of re-tellings out/coming out recently. I had only vaguely remembered what the stories of Tam Lin, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and even the myth of Cupid and Physche were about. I myself looked them all up after I saw another reviewer mention them and I would actually recommend not doing so. While this story is obviously unique, there were a few things that I think I wa First ARC of the year complete and just like last year, I started off with a good one! I feel like there have been a lot of re-tellings out/coming out recently. I had only vaguely remembered what the stories of Tam Lin, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, and even the myth of Cupid and Physche were about. I myself looked them all up after I saw another reviewer mention them and I would actually recommend not doing so. While this story is obviously unique, there were a few things that I think I was able to piece together sooner because I had just skimmed those tales.This is a story of Echo, named such for the fact that she echoed her late mother's heartbeat with her own. When she is young, Echo is disfigured by a strange white wolf in the forest and grows up being reviled by her village. When she is sixteen, she has another encounter with the same wolf and ends up bartering one year of her life for the safety of her father. She ends up spending that year in this awesome house that all of these different rooms that she learns to tend to from the wolf. OBVIOUSLY my favorite one was the library that had the cool mirror books. Basically you could step into them and live out that particular story and leave whenever you wanted. It's in those "books" that she meets Hal and the story progresses and mistakes are made and ~feelings~ begin, and...................that's basically all I'll say about it. You'll just have to pick the book up once it comes out and find out yourselves!!!Anyway. I think I liked the second half of the book more than the first (even though the first had the mirror books). The second half featured Echo actually DOING something to try to save a certain someone. I felt like in part one there were too many instances of her wasting time, trying to figure things out. Maybe it's just because I've read so many books and fairy tales but I was like damn, girl, you need to figure your crap out already! Overall I loved the ending and this was a very solid book to start out 2019. I very much recommend!Huge thanks to NetGalley and Page Street Publishing for allowing me to honestly review a copy of this book early!♥For more of my reviews, please visit:
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  • Kim Chance
    January 1, 1970
    I absolutely ADORED this book! Enchanting and whimsical, yet gothic, raw, and emotional, this book pulled on every single one of my heartstrings! This re-telling had the feel of a classic fairy tale and it certainly took me on incredible reading journey. I was lucky enough to read an ARC version of this book and I knew immediately that it would be a book I read over and over again. I simply cannot recommend this book enough. Definitely one of my new favorites!
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  • Meg
    January 1, 1970
    This was disappointing for me. I went into this hoping for a romantic BATB retelling, and that's not entirely what I got. I found this to be closer to a middle grade novel, and while it was beautifully written and lush in description, it just wasn't for me.A really interesting aspect of this book was the magical library Echo discovers. Instead of books, they are book mirrors, and they transport you into the story and you can either pay attention to the story unfold or just wander around in the w This was disappointing for me. I went into this hoping for a romantic BATB retelling, and that's not entirely what I got. I found this to be closer to a middle grade novel, and while it was beautifully written and lush in description, it just wasn't for me.A really interesting aspect of this book was the magical library Echo discovers. Instead of books, they are book mirrors, and they transport you into the story and you can either pay attention to the story unfold or just wander around in the world the author created. Almost like a open world RPG game lol. If that ain't the coolest thing ever I don't know what is. Unfortunately it wasn't enough to save this story for me.The entire Part 2 of the book was so boring to me. I felt like it dragged on too much, became muddled and confused at some parts and I just wanted it to be over. Also I can't get over how badly Echo was betrayed and she kind of just brushed it off her shoulders. Girl c'mon have some self worth!TL;DRThe writing was beautiful, lush and descriptive but the plot and story weren't what I was anticipating and left me rather bored.
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  • Alexandra
    January 1, 1970
    IT WAS GLORIOUS!!!!! Review to come!
  • Jenn
    January 1, 1970
    This is a retelling of the Norwegian fairytale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon. I had no idea. I liked the description and so I decided to read the book. I started this morning and couldn’t put it down. It was so exciting and heart racing. I positively loved it!I received an arc and this is my review.
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  • Rose
    January 1, 1970
    This is ultimately yet another bland East of the Sun, West of the Moon retelling. It's not unique or compelling enough to be a true reinterpretation of the original. Nor is the quality of writing good enough to make it satisfying as a straightforward retelling.In the afterward, the author wrote that she was inspired by Beauty, East, and Fire and Hemlock. And I had to laugh because those were, I swear, exactly the three books I was thinking of while reading this. Which would normally be amazing! This is ultimately yet another bland East of the Sun, West of the Moon retelling. It's not unique or compelling enough to be a true reinterpretation of the original. Nor is the quality of writing good enough to make it satisfying as a straightforward retelling.In the afterward, the author wrote that she was inspired by Beauty, East, and Fire and Hemlock. And I had to laugh because those were, I swear, exactly the three books I was thinking of while reading this. Which would normally be amazing! Except I was thinking that this read like those three books mashed together to create something inexplicably bland. I felt general apathy at the 'twists' and big reveals because I wasn't invested at all in these characters. Flavorless dialogue, bland characterization, and vague world building all leech away the potential pathos of Echo North.If you're looking for a (better) straightforward retelling of East of the Sun, West of the Moon then try East or Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow. For an actual reinterpretation of the fairy tale, Bleddynwood is fantastic.(eARC provided by NetGalley)
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  • Hannah F. Whitten
    January 1, 1970
    This book wrecked me in the best way. The setting is lush and inventive, and its written in a way that pays homage to so many different myths and fairytales while being wholly fresh and original. The central love story is beautiful and believable, and doesn't smooth over the tough parts in favor of an easy ever after. ECHO NORTH is a love letter to stories and storytellers, and is as much about the importance of storytelling as it is about Echo and her white wolf. Highly, highly recommended.
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  • Namera [The Literary Invertebrate]
    January 1, 1970
    I really, really wanted to like this book, and the writing was certainly beautiful. But there was one glaring problem: This is a book about love, and I did not feel the romance at all. Echo Alkaev was terribly scarred as a child, when her attempt to free a wolf from a trap backfired. Her facial disfigurement has resulted in her ostracism from the entire village – they call her the cursed on, the devil’s daughter. Only her widower father and elder brother care for her.Even their love begins to fa I really, really wanted to like this book, and the writing was certainly beautiful. But there was one glaring problem: This is a book about love, and I did not feel the romance at all. Echo Alkaev was terribly scarred as a child, when her attempt to free a wolf from a trap backfired. Her facial disfigurement has resulted in her ostracism from the entire village – they call her the cursed on, the devil’s daughter. Only her widower father and elder brother care for her.Even their love begins to fade away when her father remarries to a cruel, spiteful woman whose only interest is money. Echo is aimless and alone – even her coveted acceptance to university disappears, thanks to her stepmother. Frankly, I would have preferred to see a heroine with a little more backbone at this stage. Dude, tell your dad what’s going on!! Tell your brother!!!! Stop letting your stepmother control you!!Unfortunately, this was just an early symptom of Echo’s fatal flaw: she is ridiculously forgiving. She makes a bargain with a wolf – the same wolf who scarred her – that, if she stays with him for a year, he’ll rescue her father from the snowdrift he was trapped in. Almost from the beginning Echo doesn’t appear to harbour even the tiniest bit of resentment towards the wolf. We readers were constantly shown how the scars had ruined her life. So how could she forgive him so quickly?!? He didn’t even have to apologise (though he did); she was just like, ‘Oh, it’s fine, wolf, despite you literally messing up my entire childhood I don’t mind at all.’ Sorry, but I prefer my heroines a little less inhumanly forgiving. I’m supposed to be able to relate to them, after all.By day, the wolf teaches her how to control the wild magic that infuses the house they live in. By night, he sleeps in a corner of her room – and she must never, ever, light the lamp to see what his nightly form looks like. When she isn’t learning magic she’s exploring the worlds she finds hidden behind mirrors. There she finds Hal, a forgotten prince whom she falls in love with.This book is a retelling of the Norwegian myth East of the Sun and West of the Moon, so I won’t give any more of the plot away because it follows the myth fairly closely. There’s one thing I will say for the story: it was beautifully written. Meyer’s prose style is light, but sharp, perfectly suited to the telling of fairy-tales.Unfortunately there was hardly more substance than you’d find in your average fairy-tale. I’ve no idea why Echo would fall for Hal, apart from him being the first – and only – boy who’s ever paid attention to her; I’ve no idea why he would fall for her, beyond her ability to save him from his curse. I found Hal more a pitiable figure than anything else. Since this book was literally all about love, the fact that I wasn’t sold on their love story ruined the whole experience for me. Not even the incorporation of Tam Lin – one of my favourite ballads – could rescue it. Overall Good writing, but flat romance.[Blog] - [Bookstagram]
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  • Carol (StarAngel's Reviews) Allen
    January 1, 1970
    The writing was beautiful and absolutely perfect. I started to feel it slowing down after the Wolf Queen takes Hal but other than that, I though rly enjoyed this fairytale retelling.
  • Emily G
    January 1, 1970
    4.5. This kind of fairy tale retelling is right up my alley.
  • Azbaqiyah
    January 1, 1970
    Plot - 3/5Characters - 2/5World Building - 2/5Writing Style - 4/5Cover - 4/5Overall Rating - 3 / 5
  • Morrisa
    January 1, 1970
    For starters, thank you to the publishers for approving this e-arc for me through Netgalley. I didn’t know much about this book other than the synopsis and from having seen the cover floating around on goodreads. But oh boy, am I glad I got to read this early. This story follows Echo, a young woman who was mauled by a wolf she saved as a little girl, who later agrees to live with the wolf for a year in his enchanted home in order to save her father’s life. I was expecting this to essentially be For starters, thank you to the publishers for approving this e-arc for me through Netgalley. I didn’t know much about this book other than the synopsis and from having seen the cover floating around on goodreads. But oh boy, am I glad I got to read this early. This story follows Echo, a young woman who was mauled by a wolf she saved as a little girl, who later agrees to live with the wolf for a year in his enchanted home in order to save her father’s life. I was expecting this to essentially be a beauty and the beast retelling, but what I got was so much more and so much better than beauty and the beast. In the acknowledgements – the author lists many different references for inspiration: east of the sun west of the moon, tam lin, and other similar fairytales. All of it was blended perfectly to create a unique, fun, and enjoyable story that is just as excellent as the classics it’s based off of. Echo North reads like a fairytale your parents might have had your parents read to you while you were tucked in bed. It’s beautiful, magical, and so creative I found it so hard to put the book down. I devoured this book in 2 days – it would have been less if I hadn’t been so busy. Every second of the novel I was drawn into the story – I felt like I was there with Echo, with Wolf, with Hal, inside the enchanted home in the woods. I loved the characters – the life each brought to the story, the way they were all connected in some way. I wish I could find the proper words to tell you how amazing this story was. The plot is so brilliantly crafted that to this day, nearly two weeks later, I still think about it. It brings me so much joy and happiness when I think back to the events. This was one of those books where the answer is right in front of your face, and you may or may not notice it. I was able to guess at some of the bigger reveals, but then I was STILL surprised at some of the other things Joanna added in at the end that had me literally gasping out loud. The plot line and timeline might seem a little strange at some parts, or things not make entire sense in the beginning but I beg of you KEEP reading, wait until the end, because this novel was so worth it.I wish I could erase my memory and read this book all over again from start to finish because it was just THAT good. Please add Echo North to your TBRs, preorder, request on netgalley, do WHATEVER just please read this book. If you’re a fan of Bear and the Nightinggale, Beauty and the Beast, Uprooted, ACOTAR, etc, you’ll LOVE this book. It should be put in the classic fairytales section, because it was just…so magical. It hits shelves Jan 15, 2018, so not too much longer of a wait. Thank you again Page Street for approving me on netgalley. 🙂 (REVIEW FEATURED ON https://morramor.wordpress.com/2018/1...)
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  • Maca
    January 1, 1970
    2,75⭐ 2,75⭐️
  • Celia McMahon
    January 1, 1970
    Wow. Just wow. I have forever loved the tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, especially after reading East by Edith Pattou, which introduced me to the story. Not only did the cover of this novel draw me in, but the review of an author of a debut novel which I just adored. The synopsis did me in, and I had to request it. Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street for allowing me the wonderful chance to review this title ahead of its release date. This story follows Echo, a seventeen-year-old girl Wow. Just wow. I have forever loved the tale, East of the Sun, West of the Moon, especially after reading East by Edith Pattou, which introduced me to the story. Not only did the cover of this novel draw me in, but the review of an author of a debut novel which I just adored. The synopsis did me in, and I had to request it. Thank you to NetGalley and Page Street for allowing me the wonderful chance to review this title ahead of its release date. This story follows Echo, a seventeen-year-old girl who lives with her bookseller father and brother. An encounter with a white wolf when she was young, left one half of her face scarred. This led to a life of cruelty which did not end even when she grew. Her father marries an equally cruel woman who forces her father to venture off to make money for his family. When he does not return, Echo goes off to look for him and finds not only her father but the white wolf she'd rescued as a child. The wolf tells Echo that he will save her father if she comes to live with him for a year. Fearing for her father's weak state, she agrees and is whisked away to a magical house. The only rule the wolf has is that she cannot look upon him after midnight. The house in which Echo finds herself was simply amazing. All the different rooms and the idea that the house stitches itself together was so cool. When Echo comes upon a magical library in which she can step into stories through mirrors and meets the handsome Hal and the pretty girl, Mokosh, her adventures becomes so much more engrossing. There are surprises and magic at every turn and kept me reading way past my bedtime. This book takes East of the Sun, West of the Moon and spins it into something unique. It gave me a lot of Howl's Moving Castle vibes, which is one book I adore. The character of Echo grows into a meek girl wanting to hide her deformity to a brave woman finding her strength. The writing was gorgeous and kept excellent pace with the story. There is not one thing about this novel that I did not dislike. I love when I stumble upon books like this. Echo North was fresh and imaginative. If you love retellings, fairy-tales, books that give you all the FEELS and drown you in magic, this is the one for you. I will be buying a copy to have on my shelf.
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  • Cindy
    January 1, 1970
    Every now and then I come across a book that is so gorgeous, so poetic, so chock-full of FEELINGS that I feel like I'm having an extra-sensory reading experience—like I'm not just reading the words, but tasting and swimming in them. These are the books that make me alternately feel ecstatically delighted, and make me despair of ever writing anything half so amazing.Joanna Ruth Meyer's sophomore novel, ECHO NORTH, is exactly that sort of book. I picked it up on Monday, after waking up sick and sp Every now and then I come across a book that is so gorgeous, so poetic, so chock-full of FEELINGS that I feel like I'm having an extra-sensory reading experience—like I'm not just reading the words, but tasting and swimming in them. These are the books that make me alternately feel ecstatically delighted, and make me despair of ever writing anything half so amazing.Joanna Ruth Meyer's sophomore novel, ECHO NORTH, is exactly that sort of book. I picked it up on Monday, after waking up sick and spending the morning feeling listless and miserable. Almost as soon as I started reading, I forgot my sore throat and sniffly nose, completely caught up in Meyer's masterfully told story. It's a retelling of one of my favorite fairy tales, which means I tend to be extra critical as a reader, but Meyer manages to evoke classic young adult fantasy writers like Robin McKinley while still crafting a story that is completely fresh, sophisticated, and original. the whole book feels like a love song to creativity and imagination, filled to bursting with birds that become dragons, a magical house stitched together like a quilt, and a swoon-worthy romance. And as if all of that wasn't enough, it had THE BEST TWIST—I'm really, really good at predicting surprises, and I thought I had all the puzzles in ECHO figured out, but one in particular really left me reeling in the best way!If you love fairytales, outcast girls, or sumptuous description, be sure to get a copy of ECHO NORTH when it releases in a month. You won't regret it!
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  • Anna Bright
    January 1, 1970
    what an utterly exquisite book.Joanna Ruth Meyer’s sophomore novel is a retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” a slightly lesser-known fairy tale, but also includes elements of Tam Lin, Cupid and Psyche, and other stories. and while the story takes place in a winter village and a house beneath a mountain, it takes us all over through an enchanted library and, ultimately, through the heroine’s quest. honestly, this is one of the book’s greatest charms: it’s layers upon layers of magic, what an utterly exquisite book.Joanna Ruth Meyer’s sophomore novel is a retelling of “East of the Sun, West of the Moon,” a slightly lesser-known fairy tale, but also includes elements of Tam Lin, Cupid and Psyche, and other stories. and while the story takes place in a winter village and a house beneath a mountain, it takes us all over through an enchanted library and, ultimately, through the heroine’s quest. honestly, this is one of the book’s greatest charms: it’s layers upon layers of magic, embroidered with extraordinary imagination and whimsy, all centered around a heroine who has suffered and loved so much it’s impossible not to root for her. ECHO NORTH is out January 15– I can’t wait for you all to read it.
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  • Virginia
    January 1, 1970
    4.5 stars (I keep wavering between 4 and 5 stars so I'm splitting the difference):I wasn't sure what to expect from this book because I'm completely unfamiliar with the fairy tales it pulls from (though it turns out East of the Sun West of the Moon is where Beauty and the Beast takes some of its roots, and that is a tale I'm familiar with). I needn't have worried though, as Meyer weaves a beautiful tale which enchanted me so thoroughly that I devoured it in a day and a half.I found the main char 4.5 stars (I keep wavering between 4 and 5 stars so I'm splitting the difference):I wasn't sure what to expect from this book because I'm completely unfamiliar with the fairy tales it pulls from (though it turns out East of the Sun West of the Moon is where Beauty and the Beast takes some of its roots, and that is a tale I'm familiar with). I needn't have worried though, as Meyer weaves a beautiful tale which enchanted me so thoroughly that I devoured it in a day and a half.I found the main character compelling and was drawn into her story immediately. The world felt fairly rich and well established, and yet, I think it's important to go into this book with the mindset of a fairytale retelling because otherwise there are a few things that might be difficult to swallow. (I don't know about you, but my suspended disbelief setting is higher for fairy tales than for general fantasy.)In the interest of keeping this review spoiler free I will have to keep my very small number of issues with the plot to myself. Most of the issues I have can probably be swept under the carpet with the explanation of "it's a fairy tale, silly" but one of them had to do with Echo becoming "conveniently" (for the plot) less intelligent for a bit, and then figuring things out only when they were very clearly spelled out for her. This one issue is the only thing that makes me tempted to rate the book four stars instead of five, because the rest of the story is beautiful, consistent, and very well told.All in all, it was a great read that I would recommend it to anyone who feels like disappearing into an enchanting story.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    A delicious walk through an enchanting and beautifully written world. Just like in BENEATH THE HAUNTING SEA, Meyer weaves a magical tale that quickly roots into your heart and never lets go!
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