About This Book:
Goodreads | Amazon
Music, magic, and a real-life miracle meld in this genre-defying masterpiece from storytelling maestro Pam Muñoz Ryan.
Lost and alone in a forbidden forest, Otto meets three mysterious sisters and suddenly finds himself entwined in a puzzling quest involving a prophecy, a promise, and a harmonica.
Decades later, Friedrich in Germany, Mike in Pennsylvania, and Ivy in California each, in turn, become interwoven when the very same harmonica lands in their lives. All the children face daunting challenges: rescuing a father, protecting a brother, holding a family together. And ultimately, pulled by the invisible thread of destiny, their suspenseful solo stories converge in an orchestral crescendo.
Richly imagined and masterfully crafted, ECHO pushes the boundaries of genre and form, and shows us what is possible in how we tell stories. The result is an impassioned, uplifting, and virtuosic tour de force that will resound in your heart long after the last note has been struck.
There were a few things that I really liked about this book (like the excellent writing and interesting characters) but there were also a few things that threw me off. The only thing that I knew when I first picked up Echo was that it involved magic, and musicians. That sounded pretty cool, so I jumped right in!
The first 200 or so pages sailed along pretty well. I was introduced to the main character, Friedrich, and his family. Friedrich is a young German boy in the early 1900s with a passion for music, and he’s preparing to audition for a prestigious arts school in a few months. Unfortunately, he was born with a birthmark covering half his face and as the Nazis came into power, he faced the very-real risk of being marked undesirable by the Nazis and killed or sent away. The story was sailing along very well, until it just…stopped, at what seemed to be the climax. Umm…huh?
I flipped to the next page, and the narrator starting talking about someone called Mike and his little brother. What? I was very confused, until I realized that this was a completely new story. Mike is a young orphan and pianist who lives in a similar time period as Friedrich, but in the United States. I eventually adapted to this story and guess what? I liked this one too.
The novel is divided into three stories. The last story belongs to Ivy, a young American girl with Mexican heritage. She moves frequently with her family, and eventually settled in a town in California. She, like the others, has a passion and talent for music. Her story was probably my least favorite, but I still thought it was interesting.
This book is a whopping 600 pages. It’s middle grade too! I did enjoy this book, but I do feel like it could have been shortened. It isn’t necessarily action-packed, and the pacing was rather slow. It’s a mixed rating from me but who knows? Maybe you’ll like it more than I did!