Title: Echo North
Author: Joanna Ruth Meyer
Review by: Dani Hoots
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he dreamed of the wood and the wolf who was trapped there…
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.
This is probably one of my favorite YA fantasy books I have come across. It is well thought out, full of adventure and romance, and weaves in different folklore that I love. I love the idea of the beast being a wolf as in many cultures, wolves are seen as monstrous beings when really they are a beautiful creature that is often misunderstood. There were also elements of the Tam Lin story, which is also one of my favorites because of SJ Tucker’s song about him (listen to it here).
Much of the story mirrors Beauty and the Beast, which was my favorite Disney story growing up. I probably have seen it a hundred times, of which my mother was glad it was a movie she liked. I loved how the house of the Wolf was mystical in its own way and was every changing and need to be weaved together. It is hard to explain without reading the book, but I found it a great spin. I also LOVED the idea of the book mirrors where you could travel into the stories and interact with them. I NEED THIS! VR is getting close, as some Japanese anime have made episodes where you can watch and move around in the scene, but it isn’t quite as interactive. Soon!
All in all, I recommend this book to anyone who likes tales inspired by folklore, Beauty and the Beast, wolves, or all of the above!