Thursday, July 12, 2018

The Crystilleries of Echoland

Narrated by B.J. Harrison
Publication Date: Print: March 11, 2018; Audio: June 11, 2018
Pages: 376 (with 82 illustrations)
Audio: 7 hours 55 minutes

2018 Pacific Book Awards WINNER
2018 Purple Dragonfly 2nd Place WINNER
2018 Los Angeles Book Festival Runner-up
2018 New York Book Festival Honorable Mention 
2018 San Francisco Book Festival Honorable Mention

ABOUT THE BOOK: The lucent land of the Echoes is haunted by hate. How see-through your skin is determines whether you live or die. Until two boys - an Echo and his Sound - unravel a 250-year-old riddle and change Echoland forever.
In a see-through land, our reflections live. They call us Sounds. They are our Echoes. And they think that they must die when we do. Is this why children are disappearing from the Sound realm? Because someone wants their Echo to die?

Twelve-year-old Will Cleary tries to escape the frightening answer. But dangers sweep him into that magical, see-through land. And there, in a fortress filled with castaway children, a 200-year-old riddle lies buried. The most important boy in Echoland, with a handful of other kids, will help Will solve it. For the fate of Echoland and of the Sound realm depends on the answer.
An answer hidden in an ancient book...deep in a frozen lake of gems...beyond a buried the foot of the greatest Crystillery of all.
But many men and monsters, crystal balls, and spying eyes will try to stop the brave teens. For how see-through your skin is all important in Echoland. And when this ancient hate ends, the realm of the Echoes will change forever.






HALL WAYS REVIEW 4.5 Stars. Audio Book and Print Review.
The Crystilleries of Echoland is a magical, mystical journey into the parallel Echo realm where twelve-year-old Will Cleary finds his identity is not what he believed it to be and even things in his world are not what they seem. The premise is wonderful – haven’t all of us wondered at times about the existence of parallel worlds? Throw into the mix that it’s an often Harry Potter-like world with fantastic feats and beasts, full of mystery and danger, and you’ve got a winning combination that readers will devour.

The Echo realm is pure magic -- a mystical, shimmering world of illusions and often deadly realities. There are plenty of colorful characters, including the terrifying but intriguing Fate Sealers (think Dementors from HP, but even more gruesome). Lessons of friendship and loyalty, accepting differences, and putting others before one’s self make The Crystilleries of Echoland an impactful reading choice.

Author Dew Pellucid's imagination is wondrous and the author's ability to put ideas to paper is phenomenal. The author truly immerses the reader into the setting where descriptions are vibrant, emotions are strong, and danger feels real. Andy Simmons's haunting CGI illustrations draw readers into the Echo realm, its characters, and its landscapes, and are a good forced pause between chapters that are sometimes relentlessly fast-paced. The writing and artwork allow for readers to truly escape into an otherworldly experience every time they turn the page.  

About the audio book: The narration of The Crystilleries of Echoland is outstanding. Narrator B.J. Harrison is flawless in his portrayal of the many voices and personalities within the story. His pacing and emotion perfectly match the intended tone and mood of the plot, and listeners will be delighted with his accent. I would listen to him narrate directions for assembling a box and be engrossed.    

Be warned -- there is a fair amount of death and killing, often remorseless, and some moderately intense, even grisly scenes of violence. The audience feels tween/middle-grade, but with those elements in mind, it’s best suited for more mature young readers and older. From a technical perspective, the Grammar Policewoman issues a citation because the book needs another pass by the proofreader to correct typos, punctuation and capitalization errors, and the overuse of the word “lucent.”

Twists and turns abound, and readers will find themselves utterly immersed in this story right up to the satisfying ending, which leaves open the possibility of more Echoland adventures. (Fingers crossed.) Prepare to be thinking about the fantastic Echo world, where there is adventure, danger, and beauty beyond imagination, long after finishing The Crystilleries of Echoland.

Thank you to the author for sending me a beautiful, color illustrated copy of this book plus an audio download in exchange for my honest opinions of each – the only kind I give. 

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: Tal Boldo is a self-published, award-winning novelist and audio book reader and producer. She likes to write under pseudonyms that relate to her stories. Her teen fantasy, The Crystilleries of Echoland, was published under Dew Pellucid (Tal being the Hebrew word for Dew, and Dew being an Echo's name). Her adult love story, Looking Glass Friends, was published under E. L. Neve (an anagram of 11, or a symbol of two individuals standing side-by-side). The novel won 13 awards. Tal recorded and produced the audio book herself. 


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