Everything about this book is beautiful; the cover, the writing, the story, the titular character, even the formatting! How often do you find yourself saying that about a novel? I even dig the ‘Echo’ logo on the cover. Yes, you can tell that a lot of thought, care, effort and love has gone into creating this work. Author Yasmine Maher is clearly someone who loves books, and she’s passing that love on in the form of her own.
Our improbably yet gloriously named hero is at law school, has a fiancé called Joe and a sister called Tara who’s getting married. Yes, she’s an apparently normal young woman with a secure yet unremarkable future ahead of her. Ah, but Echo is a Blackwood which means that she comes from a long line of witches and is the subject of a prophecy. Basically, she is the only person in the world capable of defeating the severely damaged magical being known as Jivar, but this is not a journey she can take on her her own.
After her sister’s wedding gets rudely gatecrashed by grotesque creatures not of this Earth, Echo is befriended by Vanna and Kirby, who mentor her in the ways of magic. As she negotiates the labyrinth of her new life, she falls in love with a captured baddie called Doyle and travels to other realms in her mission to save the world, all while being pursued and threatened by a supremely evil witch called Viessa.
As Echo grows and develops as a character, secrets are revealed, allegiances are switched and a cataclysmic showdown between good and evil looms. It’s all very exciting, and, as I earlier stated earlier, very beautiful.
This is a book for people who love books, for people who love fantasy and escapism, who love strong characters, who love twists and turns and rich world building. It’s a joyous labour of love from the author and an assured debut and I can’t wait to see what Yasmine has up her sleeve next. Whatever it is, I prophesise that we’re in for a treat.
Echo: The Curse of the Blackwood Witches is available from Amazon.