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Echo North

Narrated by: Elizabeth Evans
Length: 10 hrs and 10 mins
Categories: Young Adults, Ages 13 & Up
5 out of 5 stars (4 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

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.

©2019 Joanna Ruth Meyer (P)2019 Tantor

Critic Reviews

"Epic and engrossing. Magic pulsates through every page.... Readers will ache when it's over and want to start all over again. A lush, captivating new twist on beloved fairy tales.” (Kirkus, starred review)
 

What listeners say about Echo North

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  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-05-2019

Nice little story with fun magic...

It’s certainly not my favourite beauty and the beast retelling, but it was okay. I loved the magic and it had some really cool twists and turns at the end. I got through if very quickly and found it relatively enjoyable.

On the other hand, I felt like it was very drawn out - I got to the fourth hour thinking, “there can’t be much more.” And yet there was still another 6 hours. Then all of the sudden the entire conclusion was jammed into one hour. It got a bit muddled because she was revealing all of the ‘mysteries’ at once which made for a bit of a messy knot. Also, the main character seemed very oblivious and idiotic at points. There were some VERY obvious connections that she didn’t make which had me face palming at moments. And then there are a couple details that didn’t make sense or that are somewhat unclear (for example injuries & wounds - broken ribs and sprained ankles don’t heal in a week). There was definitely some suspension of disbelief required at moments, but it was all completely forgivable.

Besides that, it was a pretty good story to curl up with for a weekend and it managed to keep me occupied without ever getting too boring.

2 people found this helpful

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  • Coloradofarmgirl
  • 17-06-2019

Author must have been tripping

This story is way out there. I think some chemicals were used while writing it. Had to return it, it was that bad.

1 person found this helpful

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  • ang
  • 04-08-2020

Ending has technical difficulties

I enjoyed the story. As always Elizabeth Evans narration is fabulous!
At the end the book keeps turning itself off and on, over and over. Hopefully it can be repaired.
I need more books narrated by ELIZABETH EVANS.

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  • E.F.B.
  • 10-10-2019

A dark but deep retelling

What a creative story! I wouldn't have heard of this book had one of my fellow reader friends not pointed it out to me not too long ago. It's a loose retelling of Beauty and the Beast, and may have also drawn some inspiration from other myths, like the myth of Proteus and Aristaeus. I don't know that last part for sure, but that one big Scene near the end seemed strangely familiar to me and I was remembering something similar from something I'd seen in my childhood that was an animated show. I realized just before writing this that the animated show was, "Adventures from the Book of Virtues", Googled it and they did indeed have an episode about determination that referenced a myth where a dude had to hold on to another dude no matter what he magically turned into in order to get information that was desperately needed. Funny what your brain holds onto sometimes...

I had no idea what to expect with this book since I'd never even heard of the author, but several of my GR friends loved it, so I decided to give it a chance. Overall, I liked it and felt is was masterfully written.

What I liked:

The twists on the retelling. It can be easy for some retellings to stick a little too close to the original fairy tale to the point that the new story doesn't feel fresh. This one, however, managed to keep enough elements of the original Beauty and the Beast tale to be recognizable, and yet put so many imaginative twists on those elements that it felt like a brand new story. It also added totally new elements that made it completely unique from any other retelling I've ever read.

The themes of self-acceptance and love that sees beyond the surface. I appreciated so much that even though much of society scorned Echo because of her scars, she had at least a few people who were on her side because they saw her true value and they tried to encourage and affirm her even when she started to believe the lies that hateful people were throwing at her. Echo's brother especially was the absolute best!!! *hugs him for being a wonderful, loving human*

The theme of love that endures all things. Had Echo and her romantic interest's love been nothing more than physical attraction (as it sometimes can be in some YA novels) it never would have endured the trials they went through. This becomes doubly true after you learn the big twist near the end of the story. I also appreciated that they fell in love slowly over time instead of all at once from the moment they saw each other. It felt genuine and deeply rooted, as it had to be in order to be believable given everything that happened.

Some of the magical elements. The concept of a library where mirrors act as doorways into the world of books is the Best. Thing. Ever. Especially given the fact that you can step away from the main story line and play in the world the author created if you want. I loved that idea, even if I didn't always love what happened in all the stories Echo visited. The concept behind the whole magical house the library was in was pretty creative and interesting, too. It's hard to explain it all without this getting overly long, but I agree with one of my GR friends who said it had a Wonderland/Wood Between feel to it that was fun.

The ending. I loved how the author wrapped things up. After everything that happened, this story needed a solid, healing, satisfying ending and the author delivered on that in spades. Obviously, I can't detail it without spoilers, but suffice it to say, it left me feeling very content and happy.

What I didn't like:

Mostly that things sometimes got a tad more dark, weird, and occasionally bloody than I care for, especially the closer to the big climax the story got. This is one reason I tend to read books by new-to-me authors I'm unsure about on audio. Things that get too violent/dark can trigger anxiety for me, but on audio, for one thing, I listen to audio during daytime hours only as opposed to reading right before, so I'm listening at a time when I'm less sensitive to scariness or icky descriptions. I can also speed it up and/or turn the volume down on audio if I don't like what I'm hearing, and that helps keep me from either hearing the thing I don't like at all, or gets me past it fast enough I don't have time to think about it too much or have an anxiety reaction. This book's descriptions were not as graphic as they could have been, but were borderline enough (especially with a couple instances of throat-slitting I could have done without) that as things were getting more intense near the end, I had the audio cranked up to triple speed at one point because I was getting anxious about what would happen.

That said, there was enough in this book that I liked that it outweighed what I didn't like. I give it 3.5 stars.

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  • Stephanie
  • 18-05-2019

so many stories

Youll think you have this one all figured out and it up and does a "reverse back flip with a twist"!
I kept getting drawn into it over and over. Great new ideas on stories we all love from fairy tales, greek myths, and more.
I highly recommend this to you. Youll be surprised!

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-05-2019

Mmm...

Too much nonsensical magic for my taste. So sad because I really wanted to like this book.

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  • Dominica
  • 09-05-2019

So Sappy.

I was expecting an adventure with a strong female heroine-not the case. The ending had an interesting twist, but I barely got there because of how sappy, and not very bright, the lead character was. Annoying that the only intelligent and cunning character was the “evil” witch.