Published by CreateSpace on 7-25-2012
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
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Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law--every Echo has to die, if his Sound dies.
One Sound especially must die. The Prince's Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that! Because after this Sound dies, the Echo Prince will have to die too.
Now, twelve-year-old Will Cleary is about to discover that he is the Sound the Echoes are hunting.
And so begins his perilous adventure into a see-through, sparkling world, filled with spying crystal balls, an eerie fortress of castaway children, a hunt for clues in an ancient book of riddles, and a last-chance escape through a frozen gem-studded lake into a secret land that holds the key to placing the Prince on the throne and returning freedom to the Echoes.
The Sound and the Echoes is a book about Will, a normal boy thrust into an alter-world of gas-beings called echoes. For every human born, an echo is also born. There is turmoil in the Echo Realm as a false king has taken control and sewn general evil in the land, while the price is biding his time and trying to keep from being killed before he turns 13 and he can try to seize control of the throne again. The prince just happens to be Will’s echo and thus Will himself is in constant danger.
The writing here is squarely middle-grade. You can’t look too deep into the plausibility and explanations of the world, and there is a lot of middle-grade humor, many characters who serve little purpose other than to be a diversion, and over-the-top behavior. A few of the characters are very memorable and very well developed, but others are not. Our hero Will spends most of the novel drugged up and not knowing what is going on half of the time. Overall, it was very entertaining but also extremely long with many questionable choices. I do not regret reading it, but I probably wouldn’t read it again and really don’t care much if there is a sequel.
As for the audiobook, I really hated, hated, hated the narration. Most of the voices were just way off, over-the-top, or unintelligible. Even though they are all from the same realm, Dea, Damian, Valerian, Drinkwater, etc. all have completely different accents from each other. A choice of the author was to put Will under cover (under strong pain medicines) and thus have him speaking like a moron for a good 80% of the book. That might be fine for the printed edition, but it got old really quick in the audio. And to make matters worse, EVERY single sentence in the whole book has this strange inflection where the end of the sentence is way over emphasized and spoken like an adult might be looking down at a kid and mocking him, and then on top of that, it sounds like he has a sock stuffed in his mouth. So sorry, but this book suffers from atrocious narration. Read it in print to save your sanity (unless you’re a 10 year old…then maybe you won’t care).