My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I was excited to get this book as a galley from NetGalley. I drug my feet getting started and I really with I hadn’t! This book is so good. I described it to a friend as Grisha meets Seraphina meets Daughter of Smoke and Bone (DoSB). It’s the most appropriate description I can think of. And while there are eerie similarities, the book does not come over trite or cliche. While some might call these similarities weaknesses, I see them as
Echo (besides having an awesome name) is an orphan who has been taken in by a race of creatures who live somewhere between the human world and the realm of magic. They are part human/part bird and pass in and out of our world (hence the DoSB comparison). There is an ancient feud between Echo’s adoptive bird-race, the Avicen, and the ancient Drakharin race of dragon-like beings (enter Seraphina-esque characters and abilities). Members of both races are searching for the mythical firebird which is supposedly the key to creating a lasting peace between the two warring cultures (shades of Grisha here). It seems all plot similarities between these books have been consumed so I’m anxious to see what Grey will have Echo do next.
Somehow, despite the rather obvious similarities between these four titles, Grey manages to make Echo’s story unique. In the beginning I even thought that Echo and Ivy might be lovers, which would have added a pleasantly unexpected twist, but other flairs of originality made Echo’s heterosexuality less of a disappointment than it might have been. Echo is spunky and a little rash, making her another in a line of strong female leads in recent titles (Celaena Sardothien, Mare Barrow, and Meira). She is deeply loyal and fiercely protective of her friends and her heart.
Echo travels through parts of the world that are rarely mentioned in YA bringing fresh scenery to the readership. The Avicen and Drakharin worlds are interesting and I would like to see more of them and learn more of their histories in the coming titles. I wonder at the fate of a mortal human girl in a world of quasi-immortal, magical creatures with whom her life has become inextricably connected. Jasper and Dorian provide just the right note of romantic realism with which to temper Echo’s own entanglements. And Echo’s story follows a traditional Hero’s Journey fairly well to lend this book to lots of comparisons.
Grey has created distinct characters, an explorable world, and a plot that seems to be at a dead end. I can’t wait to see where Echo takes us next. And she responds to tweets, which is awesome.