Wednesday 5 May 2021

Book Review - Echo Mountain

 Title: Echo Mountain

Author: Lauren Wolk 

Publisher: Penguin 

Release Date: 7 May 2020 

ISBN-13: 978-0241424155


1933. When Ellie and her family lose everything, they flee to Echo Mountain to build a new life. Ellie runs wild, exploring the mountain's mysteries. But the one she can't solve is who's leaving the gifts for her: tiny, beautiful wooden carvings of animals and flowers, dotted around the mountain for her to find.

Then Ellie's father has a terrible accident. Now he lies in a coma, while Ellie shoulders the blame for what happened. When she sets out to find a cure for him, she discovers Cate, the outcast witch, and Larkin, a wild mountain boy. From them she learns about being a healer, being brave - and about how there can be much more to a person than first meets the eye.

 My Review

This is another book on the Carnegie shortlist, and I have to admit that this is the one that I was looking forward to the most, I know you should never judge a book by its cover - but I thought this one was really attractive, I loved the mix of blues that created a magical, wintery atmosphere, and all the details added in - you could literally look at this cover for a good half hour and still spot different details. 

The blurb sounded interesting to me and I wasn't sure if it would be fantasy style or not, but I was certainly intrigued. After the Great Depression, Ellie's family has lost everything - forced to leave their home and possessions behind, they make thier way up the mountain to start a new life. At first they must adapt to tents and tinned food, but they soon learn how to build shelters, hunt food and establish a way of life. There are 5 families on the mountain and they trade goods to aid survival - milk from one's family cows in exchange for honey from another's bees etc. Life seems to be going well, and Ellie is settling into her new life well, her sister may not be all that impressed and her mum may miss certain aspects of normal life but they've created a good strong foundation and life is moving on. But then one day Ellie's dad has a serious accident, hit on the head by a fallen tree and now in a coma. Ellie is desperate to get her dad back - life is not the same without him and they don't know if they can survive. But then Ellie starts to find little wood carvings, and when she ventures up the mountain, she finds Cate - the old hag. No one is sure if she is a witch or just a crazy old woman, but Ellie sees beyond that and soon the pair are working together to heal more than just her dad. 

Although there isn't any actual magic or witchcraft in the book, there is a very magical almost ethereal feel to the story and I felt hooked in by it and swept away by the story and it's characters. 

I found myself really liking Ellie, she is plucky, stubborn and a bit unsure of herself, but she is determined and refuses to give up. Her family is quite dysfunctional yet works perfectly. My favourite character is actually Cate, I loved her no nonsense attitude and old-world feel.

I wanted to know more about their mountain life and all the characters - the book swept me up and immersed me into the world and I was desperate to have time to keep reading, and I really enjoyed reading too. I was never bored or put off, every sentence, every word swept me through the story, and so far this book definitely has my vote as the winner. It was truly gripping. 

 My Rating


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