22 Nov 2012

ECHO - ALYSON NOEL

THIS IS THE SECOND BOOK IN THE SERIES SO MAY CONTAIN SPOILERS OF THE FIRST

SUMMARY
Daire Santos has already saved her grandmother's life -- and her soul. But at a cost: the Richter family has been let loose in the Lowerworld. Daire and her boyfriend Dace Richter must work together to find them before chaos ensues and the balance between good and evil is destroyed. As their relationship deepens, Dace's evil brother Cade grows stronger than ever, building his power and forcing Daire and Dace to confront the horrifying prophecy that has brought them all together. It will leave Daire no choice but to claim her true destiny as Seeker, but only by making an unthinkable sacrifice.

REVIEW
When I read Fated, the first book in the series, I was weary, knowing that I didn't like Noel's previous series, but when I found a copy of Echo in my pigeon hole at work I was actually very excited.

Echo moves the story towards the destruction of Cade, Dace's evil twin brother. Both Daire and Dace must find a way to work together, and even apart, in order to restore the Middle and Lowerworlds back from the death and decay that Cade has wreaked. 

The first book has a steady pace, carefully setting up the story, giving you back story and taking your hand through Daire's new life. Echo really picks up the pace. Now you know who Daire is, what she is capable of and what sort of adversity she's facing we can start to get down to the nitty-gritty. It runs at full speed, pulling you along just as quickly but still able to fill you in on the little things from the last book you might have forgotten.


The narrative changes to include Dace, and much more frequently towards the end as the storys focus changes. Dace is a great character. Initially the whole split between the pure, good Dace and evil, black-hearted Cade was slightly annoying to me, I don't like polar splits with no middle ground. But now I realise that I underestimated Noel. She was just sowing the seeds for a much deeper exploration. Dace's chapters give a much more in-depth look at him, parts of him that Daire can only make assumptions upon. This backs up the repeated idea that the prophecy that controls both Daire and Dace's future can be open to interpretation. This is shown time and again in the episodes when they mistake each others intentions.

While we are constantly shown that Dace is good and pure what we begin to be shown is contrary. He's actually a really interesting character and shifting the narrative to watch him develop stops the plot getting stale. He is initially presented as headstrong  but bitter, intent on hate. This actually gives the story a little more weight - I don't believe in exact polar opposites. 

I really enjoyed the story line. Even watching Dace and Daire's relationship develop is sweet, although I found the sex scene at the beginning completely overblown. It's intentionally sentimental, yes, but it also strays a little too far for my belief. But this is just a silly thing. I like them as a couple and I know other readers will too. They are sweet, adorable even, but they're not perfect. A lot of readers will associate with their need to just be around each other, and I loved that the focus was very rarely on their  physical relationship.

There's lots to get your teeth into in this one and if you haven't read the first then what are you waiting for? Jump in so you can begin to be pulled along like I am.

The 3rd book, Mystic, is due out May 2013.
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