The Sound & The Echoes

The Sound and the EchoesThe Sound and the Echoes tells the story of Will who learns that each person in our world (we’re called Sounds) has an Echo in a world that exists beneath ours. An Echo is born every time a Sound is born and it looks like a transparent version of the Sound. It turns out that Will’s Echo is the heir to an Echo kingdom and he needs Will’s help to survive against treachery and to clear his father’s name.

Will finds himself in the Echo world, but he has to hide his identity so those out to kill the prince don’t know he’s the prince’s Sound. He stays in an orphanage for Castaways—I think it’s basically a place for Sounds who ended up in the Echo world and for Echoes who no longer have Sounds? Honestly, I can’t remember why exactly these kids ended up here. But it’s a bit like Hogwarts for orphans. He tries to figure out who are allies and who are villains so he can save the prince and hopefully return home with his long lost twin sister.

The Sound/Echo thing is pretty cool, although it can get complicated juggling all the politics and rules that govern the setting. The sheer amount of detail makes the inconsistencies more obvious and harder to dismiss. Readers who are willing to go with the flow probably won’t have any problems with it, but readers who really want to grasp how things work may find it frustrating. It turns out that a full understanding of the relationship between Sounds and Echoes and of Echo politics isn’t necessary to follow the plot as long as you get the big stuff, so readers who can let go will probably be fine.

The Echo world is essentially made of ice, although they can make things that feel cold to Echoes and warm to Sounds, which allows the Sounds to live in the Echo world. It’s winter when Will comes to the Echo world, but I have the impression that at least in this kingdom it’s icy all the time. Echoes don’t do well with fire and heat.

Although I felt parts of it were derivative, younger readers may be experiencing these tropes and ideas for the first time and therefore it won’t feel derivative to them. Dew Pellucid, the listed author, is actually a very minor character in the book who tells Will he wants to write about his adventures.

There are sketches at the beginning of each chapter. Reading on my Kindle made me wish I had the book in hard copy—I think they look almost like surrealistic photos, but I couldn’t quite tell. (I checked the book out later on my iPad where the art shows up in color—it kind of made me wish I’d read this on the iPad instead of the Kindle!)

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


Will has a twin sister, Emmy. When the twins were toddlers, they both disappeared into the lake near their house. Will came out again, accompanied by a wolf and a falcon who then accompanied him everywhere. Emmy didn’t come back. Will’s parents became obsessed with finding Emmy, neglecting Will and the house in the process. Still, Will feels close to his parents and loves them very much.

The prince’s uncle took over the throne—he’s an evil villain, out to kill his nephew. No family love there.

Auralius—half Sound and half Echo—thinks his father betrayed him. There is some major angst there as both Auralius and his father are pretty significant characters in the book. In the end, the family is reunited and misunderstandings are cleared up.

Valerie’s mother is in the Shadowpain dungeon, likely being tortured. Her uncle is supposed to be taking care of her, but she makes it clear that she doesn’t trust him at all. Turns out she’s right not to—he’s a bad man and a terrible uncle.


Will finds out about the existence of Echoes when two Echoes leave the bodies of his wolf and falcon. The animals had been dead for over a decade, their bodies inhabited by the Echoes. When the Echoes come out, the bodies are fully dead. Will mourns them, even though he knows on some level that his pets aren’t dead—they’re just actually Echoes. But he does mourn and help bury the bodies of his pets.

The prince is dealing with the death of his father.

The evil animal handler drowns wolf pups.

Several of the bad guys die at the end. Some of it is a little graphic, but not too bad. The albatross who was a companion of one of the characters dies in the final battle.

Scary, Freaky, and Gross Stuff

The Fate Sealers are totally freaky—much like dementors that talk and taunt. They are all around the orphanage, following Will wherever he goes. They’re bad news. Fate Sealers are created by kidnapping babies and torturing them for 20 years. Their stretched and saggy bodies and twisted minds are a product of this upbringing.

Echoes can inhabit the body of dead Sounds, which means the person you’re talking to may not be the person you think it is.

One character’s room is crawling with spiders and ants. He seems to have some control over them, although only in this room, I guess.

Peter’s dog will eat anything, including Will’s puke.

There are giant spiders, burning rocks, and freezing mists. Peter’s ear freezes and falls off—although magic mushrooms will eventually help it grow back. If drowning and/or freezing are nightmare triggers for your kid, this book will be intense.

Some of the characters are injured very badly. Since they can often be healed up quickly, some of them are severely injured repeatedly.


There’s a main Echo bully and his two cohorts who make life difficult for Will and his friend Peter. They beat Peter up on a regular basis—he has a swollen lip and black eye pretty much all the time. None of the adults seem inclined to do anything about this. These bullies routinely make throat slashing motions at Will and Peter.

Valerie, a 10 year old girl, is bullied in public. Everyone pretty much watches, until finally Will steps in. Peter doesn’t trust Valerie, so he often knocks Christmas trees over on top of her. This isn’t viewed as a big deal at all—worthy only of a “Yeah, sorry about all those Christmas trees. I thought you were spying on us.” and that’s it.

Body Issues

Will is embarrassed about his scrawny body. However, after he’s put into a Cold Sleep to travel to the Echo world, he’s all bloated and looks fat. He has trouble moving around. People assume he’s stupid and they routinely make fun of him and how ugly he is. It’s mentioned several times that his thighs get in the way when he runs. It’s a really big deal that he’s fat and that this is causing him problems. He’s relieved when eventually he has his scrawny body back.

Many of the Echoes are beautiful and their physical beauty is mentioned repeatedly. (I’m not sure why Echoes tend to be more beautiful than Sounds. Maybe they aren’t and Will just keeps encountering beautiful ones? Will’s Echo isn’t better looking than Will is.) Being around the beautiful Echoes makes Will feel that much worse about himself.


A character is in a wheel chair after not handling the Cold Sleep very well—he’s now paralyzed from the waist down. He’s a minor character, so this is mostly a reminder of what could have happened to Will.


Before he leaves our world, Will has to keep secrets from his best friend. It’s really hard on him, but he’s been told that telling his friend anything would endanger his friend’s life. Trying to figure out who to trust and who to share secrets with is a recurring plot point.


There are Echoes who worship the moon. They go into a trance under the “moon” that’s been created in the Echo world. Peter dismisses them as crazy and ridiculous. Nothing really happens to suggest otherwise, nor do they do anything aside from go into a trance to show that they’re doing anything wrong or dangerous.


Many Echoes don’t think much of Sounds, but the ones who are really outcasts are the mongrels—children of Sounds and Echoes who are partially and changingly see through. Auralius, one of the main characters, is bitter at his parents who brought him into this world. Of course, that world is out to kill him, so he has to hide.

Another Echo kingdom reveres mongrels (although, interestingly, apparently they’re still called “mongrels”) because they have the strengths of both Sounds and Echoes without the weaknesses—Auralius counts as both a Sound and Echo when passing through secret passageways. Although, even mongrels have their own Echoes, except they’re very fragile and are kept locked away. This isn’t explored, although I found it kind of disturbing and kind of confusing as a concept.

Valerie is outcast for many reasons, but among them is that she chose a Sound animal as a pet even though she’s an Echo.


There are rumors of a perfect world where Echoes aren’t killed and mongrels are accepted (it’s the other kingdom mentioned in the section above). Will and his crew do actually find this world, ruled by a nearly mythical couple who have lived there for hundreds of happy years. Auralius and his parents go to live there at the end. Will leaves his pet wolf there (the animal handler had been trying to kill her and she wasn’t allowed to run free). It’s called Harmonia and they know Hebrew—the ancient language of the Echoes. I’m not sure what, if anything, the Hebrew connection signifies.


Peter is a magician—sleight of hand, conjuring, etc. It’s never made clear if he’s truly magic or if he’s just trained, but you’d think at some point he’d run out of chicken bones to make appear for his dog (and remind your kids to never give a dog chicken bones). He often says that things are caused by magic, but everyone dismisses that. However, there are ice faeries and crystal balls and all kinds of other trappings that we would only describe as magic. So I don’t actually have a sense of how or if magic works in the world.


I read this on my Kindle, so I didn’t have a good sense of how long it was—looking at the paperback on Amazon, it apparently clocks in at 582 pages. I guess that explains why it seems like there was so much packed into this book. It’s a solid fantasy adventure for kids who have already read the whole Harry Potter series—but they need to be fine with that kind of length, meandering plot, large cast of characters to keep straight, etc. This feels like the first book in a series, and it’s more about establishing the setting and the metaplot than really getting us engaged with the characters. They also need to be able to overlook some setting inconsistencies and other minor errors.

I’d recommend this for voracious readers of fantasy, probably 11 and up.

Disclaimer: The author provided me with a copy of the book in exchange for a fair and honest review.


The Sound and the Echoes by Dew Pellucid
Published in 2012 by CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform
Read on Kindle
For more information and color art, check out the book’s website.

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