My Rating: 3/5 Stars
Spoiler Free Summary:
In this beauty and the beast re-telling Echo Alkaev is the daughter of a bookshop owner who loves her family dearly. Her family is all she has in a town where she is shunned for the way she looks. A wolf attack when she was younger left her with a scarred face that has the townsfolk believing she is cursed by the devil. Her world is simply her Father, brother and and abundance of books. When her father remarries her life begins to change. Her stepmother causes them to go into debt and her father must journey to regain some of their money. On his trip he goes missing and is later discovered by a distraught Echo, but he is not alone. He is being protected by the same white wolf that marred her face many years ago. The wolf offers her a trade, her fathers safe return in exchange for her services at his enchanted home for one year. When Echo agrees and goes to his house beneath the mountain she finds the world is not as it has always seemed. She is thrust into a world of ever changing rooms filled with beauty and danger, a library where the stories truly come to life, and evil queens who want to take everything Echo has come to hold dear.
Spoilery Summary & Review:
Echo finds love in an unlikely place with a confusing boy. Hal is trapped in the book mirrors that Echo frequently visits while staying with the white wolf. What begins as a friendship is obviously leading to more between them, but Hal seems to be trapped and hardly recollects anything about where he is from or how he got there. While Echo gets close with Hal she also develops a friendship with the Wolf. (Echo eventually finds out the White Wolf and Hal are the same cursed being.) Upon finding out the Wolf is succumbing to the curse placed on him by an evil queen Echo believes she can find a way to keep from losing him, and in turn losing Hal. Echo is led to believe by the Evil Queens daughter (whom she believes is a friend) that she will break the curse if she does the one things the wolf told her not to do, turn on the lights and see his true form at night. In doing so she actually dooms him to an eternity as the queens captive. Echo then sets out on a journey to find Hal and save him from the Queen. It is a long journey with many hardships, but she eventually makes it to Hal and saves him. In saving him she finds out this is actually the 2nd time she has lived this year with Hal and the outcome was the same, the only difference is in the first version she is unscarred. It is also revealed that Hal was going to trade places with Echo, so he could be free and she could spend an eternity enslaved to the Evil Queen. (Hal was willing to do this both times btw) Echo defeats the Queen, saves Hal, forgives him, and returns to her family after being presumed missing for ten years. Everyone lives happily ever after….?
OK! Now there were DEFINITELY flaws with this book, mainly surrounding the ending. 1st issue is the fact that she randomly relives the same year twice and doesn’t realize/how does this even happen in the first place? It is never explained and I really hate that. 2nd issue is MAJORRR: How tf does she just forgive that he was willing to sacrifice her not once, but TWICE!? While claiming to love her the whole time? She says she’s hurt by it, but basically just forgives him and they live happily ever after. I understand that he went through a lot of shit by being cursed, but Echo has been through a lot as well, biggest thing being attacked and permanently scarred by HIM! She also lost 10 years of life with her family, went on a long journey where she almost died multiple times and fought an Evil Queen all for Hal, who couldn’t even do the same for her. I really had issues with that.
The ending was really the only thing I didn’t like about this story. This was a very interesting spin on a classic tale with a vivid and beautiful world. The enchanted mansion was mysterious and really fun to read about. I thoroughly enjoyed the characters. Echo was an intelligent girl who had to go through a lot as a child but still had goals of being more than her tragic little town thought she could be. She was kind-hearted and forgiving (to a fault?) and loved her family fiercely. Hal’s character was care free in the mirrors, and stoic and sad as a wolf. He was very complex and you can’t help but feel bad for all he’s been through, (still shouldn’t have agreed to trade himself for Echo) but maybe eventually could be forgiven.
Overall I enjoyed this book and it had a lot of potential but fell flat for me at the ending.