Reflected Echo follows the story of Echo Monat, a 15-year-old girl who is set to have her entire life decided by a Citizen Fitness Examination. Her home city of Bakerton strives to make every citizen earn their keep, and if they don’t seem capable of contributing to their hypercontrolled society, they risk being banished. When Echo’s exam doesn’t go as well as she hoped, she is cast out into a dangerous desert with only her dog and her dreams for comfort. Does she have it in her to survive against all odds?
I loved the dystopian setting of Reflected Echo. On the surface, Bakerton seems like a reasonably normal town, but poisonous trees and the clinical nature of society give it a truly sinister edge. The truth about the town is very gradually revealed, which kept me on my toes and eagerly turning page after page to figure it all out.
But it was Echo’s survival story that really had me hooked. Initially she was terrified of the unknown that awaited her, but her sheer determination to survive, driven by a stubborn desperation to get back at the evil government of Bakerton, gradually builds and builds until nothing can stop her. She finds herself capable of doing things – both good and bad – that she never expected. She is a highly resilient and very likeable protagonist.
And then there’s Charlie, Echo’s beloved dog. I’m a sucker for an animal companion in a novel and I loved this one. The relationship between Echo and her dog was incredibly sweet, and it was nice to have a daft mutt playing the fool now and again to add some comic relief to the intense drama.
My only complaint with Reflected Echo is that I felt the ending was a little rushed. Lose threads are tied up in the form of an epilogue, but after Echo had been through such a long, complex and trying journey, I wanted to know more about her life afterwards. In fact, I’d love to have a sequel; it would be really interesting to see Echo return to Bakerton, reconnect with her former friends, and perhaps even have a bash at taking down the controlling Bakerton government. I don’t know if Grabs has any plans for a sequel but I think it would go down a treat if she did!Follow Ellie Scott on WordPress.com