Sunday, September 23, 2012

REVIEW: The Sound and the Echoes / Dew Pellucid

TITLE: The Sound and the Echoes
AUTHOR: Dew Pellucid
PUBLISHER: Self-Published
AVAILABILITY: Amazon US (paperback), Amazon US (Kindle e-book), Amazon UK (paperback), Amazon UK (Kindle e-book), Barnes & Noble (paperback)

Recommended for fans of stories that take place in fantastical realms, such as the Harry Potter series.


The Sound and the Echoes follows 12-year-old Will from his ordinary life in Alaska to the fantastical realm of the Echoes. The Echo realm is a glittering winter wonderland, full of magic and mystery. Familiar territory for fans of contemporary, otherworldly fantasies. While very different in plot and concept, the enchanted atmosphere is reminiscent of the Harry Potter books in all the right ways.

The Sound and the Echoes moves along at a fairly steady pace, advancing the plot while taking the time to illustrate the fantastical world it takes place in. The mystery and intrigue make it easy to keep turning the pages.

Third person limited. The story is told from Will’s point of view and follows him through his adventures.

In Dew Pellucid’s fanciful tale, every time a person is born, a second being—an Echo—comes into existence at the same time. These Echoes live in a winter wonderland beneath the Arctic, unbeknownst to their ordinary counterparts, called Sounds. Subjects of a superstitious monarchy, the Echoes believe their lives are bound to those of their Sounds. Therefore, when a Sound dies, his or her Echo is executed, in accordance with the Law of Death.

Will Cleary’s ordinary life turns upside down when he learns of the Echoes—and that his is the Echo realm’s prince. The prince’s uncle, a false king who seized the throne following the former king’s death, has sent ghostly Fate Sealers to kill him, forcing the prince to die and making his grip on power permanent. Will travels to the Echo realm in hopes of saving himself and the Echo monarchy from evil. Hiding out in the Orphanage for Castaway Children, he finds himself at the center of ancient mysteries and political intrigue. His disguise can only last so long before the Fate Sealers patrolling the Orphanage discover his true identity.

Brave and loyal, Will is the kind of protagonist who’s easy to root for. His self-deprecating sense of humor and stubborn disposition make him believable as a character, one who is admirable and imperfect in all the right ways. He thinks for himself, in spite of all the people telling him what to do—the Echo guardians who have watched over him since he was a toddler, the teacher at his Alaska school who has traveled to the Echo realm, the royal advisor whose motivations are unclear. In his adventures, Will is accompanied by a somewhat odd magician wannabe called Peter Patrick Peterson, a boy whose funky mannerisms and alliterative name are indicative of the kind of quirks Pellucid likes to throw into this story.

The dichotomy of Sounds versus Echoes creates an interesting theme, one akin to race relations. The Law of Death makes it clear that Echoes view their ignorant Sounds as superior beings. Even the labels they give themselves indicate this—the Echoes are merely shadows of the “real” people who populate the Earth. And yet they are conscious beings with their own lives and souls. They have the same looks and personalities as their Sounds, but, like twins who share DNA, are independent individuals.

The prince wishes to abolish the Law of Death, which will effectively put the Fate Sealers and the executioners—called Fortune Tellers—out of business. And thus, Will and the prince have more than just the false king to worry about. In its characters, The Sound and the Echoes is a story of friendship and loyalty, of noble intentions and bravery in spite the face danger. The messages it carries are encouraging examples of the best of human nature.

In The Sound and the Echoes, Pellucid has demonstrated an amazing knack for world-building. The atmosphere glows ice blue, sparkling with charm and whimsy. It’s easy to visualize the many wonderful, otherworldly objects and places in the Echo realm, all of which follow carefully laid-out rules. Crystal balls, glowing see-through beings, smoky specters, ice-like coins… these are some of the things that glitter within the story. From back-stories to the mechanics of the magic, Pellucid has covered every aspect of this world, making for a fully immersive reading experience.

The Sound and the Echoes is a brilliantly imagined fantasy, the kind that’s exciting to read and leave you smiling. Pellucid has created something truly magical, with descriptions that will carry you into this frozen fantasyland and make you never want to leave.

I saw a teeny-tiny, barely perceptible number of typos, but the author told me she found and corrected a handful since sending me the edition I read, so the typos may have already been zapped.

Like all fantasies, this book contains some violence, but nothing gory or gruesome. Its content is suitable for young readers.

This book contains a number of computer-rendered illustrations by Andy Simmons.

Dew Pellucid is the pen name of Tal Boldo. “Dew Pellucid” is a character in The Sound and the Echoes; he is an old Echo who recorded the events of the story.

1 comment:

  1. This is a penetrating review that captures the essence of the tale both in plot, plot-theme, and theme. As the author I feel privileged that a reader of this caliber immersed herself in the tale so completely. For anyone who wants to understand why The Sound and the Echoes was written and what it intended to achieve, I recommend this review above any other written so far. My deep thanks! I shall cherish this review.