I rarely reread books less than a year apart. I made an exception for this beautiful novel.
Less than a month after I first read it on a whim, I deliberately went back to the library in search of it. I picked it up the first time because I had agreed to take something out at my local branch for the Brooklyn Public Library. Being friends with a librarian generally means lots of good book recommendations, also guilt trips if you don’t help boost the circ stats… Anyways, I picked up Echo North because the cover called out to me. It wasn’t flashy, it wasn’t vibrant, it was simple blue and white designs. What caught my eye was the shapes those designs took. I wanted to understand the symbols.
Echo North is a blended mythology retelling that borrows from a diverse range of stories. Set in a mythical Siberia-esque land, our characters navigate a beautifully rendered snow covered wonderland with a dangerous shadow. Part Eros and Psyche, part the Snow Queen, part Beauty and the Beast, part a number of myths I couldn’t even name, Meyer has created something entirely her own.
A world where wolves can talk, books are worlds inside mirrors, and Echo needs to help keep the house from unraveling by stitching it together, magic seeps from every pour.
The characters are thoughtfully rendered, even if some of the big reveals as to the double identities aren’t as shocking as they could be, and I can imagine so many tiny details of their lives that I won’t soon forget them. Without giving anything away, I believe that this was the happiest ending this could have had. I found a level of sorrow there. It felt true, and happy in a real world sense. It gave me the impression that we had left the magic of perfection in fairytales behind. I was extremely grateful for that fact.
I loved this novel so much that I purchased my own copy of it so that I have it to share with a daughter, or niece in the future, because I believe it is the ideal version of a fairytale. Magical, beautiful, terrifying, contentment, happiness, and life. It feels like life and love, with a hint of fairy dust.