Reviewed by Liz Konkel for Readers' Favorite
The Crystilleries of Echoland by Dew Pellucid begins as thousands of children disappear with only one child ever having returned. Will Cleary returned with a falcon and a wolf to watch over him, but his twin sister remained behind in Echoland, another world filled with reflections of us called Echoes. All Will's parents have done since he came back is to plot ways to find his sister, often barely acknowledging his existence. When his faithful protectors reveal a shocking truth, Will is pulled back into the world he doesn't remember on a journey to find his sister. Along the way, he turns to new allies for help as he's swept into the discovery of the missing children, into solving a murder, and into helping the rightful heir onto the throne.
Dew Pellucid blends together an exciting fantasy adventure with a murder mystery in a journey of growing up. Echoland is a unique and ghost-like mirror world with transparent trees and people. Everything is described in ghostly detail, but often reflects our own world with a mix of absurd and ominous twists. Every little detail of this world matters in the larger picture of the story. It's a wondrous and yet dangerous place that pulls you along for the journey. The stakes are high with Will's life constantly at risk, but his journey through this world teaches him bravery and true friendship. Will's friendships are the strongest connections he has as both of his parents seem to shrug him off whenever he's around, too occupied with trying to find his sister to really see him. Dea and Damian are more than just his pets, they're his protectors, the ones watching over him since he returned home, and the ones that lead him back to Echoland. His life at the beginning is only briefly touched upon, but it's clear he's alone except for his pets so, when he makes friends in Echoland, it further illustrates how important that bond is for him.
His new friends liven the story up while also giving a sense of heart to the tale and providing him with people he wants to protect. Peter is his first real friend in this world. He's a magician who starts off a bit suspicious, but quickly turns into Will's strongest supporter. He has a mischievous side to him, but he's also loyal and compassionate. Animals play a large role throughout the story as Will's pets are the catalyst for his return to Echoland, but it's the Echo Wolf he bonds with later that fills a certain void. Peter has a strong attachment to his dog Poudini, who has an emotional place in the story. Fun nods to common things in our world maintain a lot of the humor throughout as Echoland has Crystalmas instead of Christmas and Poudini is a fun play on the famous magician. The illustrations are stunning and capture important moments throughout with an array of blue hues that capture the lucent essence of the world. The Crystilleries of Echoland is a hero's journey in a story of strength and courage with a dazzling array of illustrations.