This book is amazing. I’ll just start with that. This book is wonderful. The style, the characters, the plot… It’s just wonderful.
I had the privilege of reading excerpts of this book, since Miranda (Mandy) and I are in the same writing group (which in no way affects this review, because this book can more than stand on its own), and I immediately fell in love with the poetic writing style and intricate characters. Every excerpt just piqued my interest more, and by the time I was finally able to buy Echoes I was dying to read it. Unfortunately, I’d made it a reward for reaching my goal of 100k for NaNoWriMo (which I didn’t come close to), so I waited to read it until sometime in December (although I did cheat on a couple of chapters on days that I met my daily goal. Shhh).
Now I’ve finally been able to read the whole thing, and I love it even more. Fair warning, the style isn’t for everyone, and it crosses the lines in genre, but Mandy did an excellent job executing it. The writing style is poetic and unlike anything I’ve ever read, told from a limited third-person POV that allows the reader to see Emma’s fascinating, unique way of thinking and seeing things. Emma sees symbolism in anything and draws incredibly poetic parallels between things in her description. It’s gorgeous to read, and even though there’s very little dialogue, you never really get tired of reading the long descriptions because they’re so beautifully written.
The characters are incredibly well-developed, the two most prominent characters (Emma and Natan) being particularly distinct from any other characters I’ve seen. Emma is shy, and her quirks are well thought out and shown clearly and in a way that makes her particularly stand out as developed and unique. She doesn’t talk much, but that doesn’t detract from her character (or the story, for that matter) in the slightest.
The character relationships are another thing I really admire in this book. The contrast between Natan and Adrae (and their relationship in general), (**minor spoiler ahead**) the way that Natan protects Emma, (**more major spoiler ahead. Highlight to read**) the relationships between Emma and those she knows from her old life, etc. Mandy is excellent at skillfully writing the dynamics between characters so that they seem real. (And you ship couples way easier than in the majority of popular YA fiction. Or anything else for that matter.)
Overall, Echoes is definitely worthy of five stars, and I highly recommend it. :)