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Reviewed by Chinazo Anozie for Readers' Favorite
Kingdom of Echoes by E.S. Nisan is a young adult story about the world of echoes and a feisty twelve-year-old named Ravlen. Ravlen has always felt different—even on an island built for girls with abilities. Her recurring strange visions and inability to understand them have caused her to lash out in more ways than one at her fellow students and caregivers. Things begin to change for her when she sees a strange, sad man, who seems somewhat familiar, trying to lead her into an echo. Echoes are imitation worlds created from desires, and what Ravlen desires more than anything is a family—parents who love her, even though she’s never known or met them. However, Ravlen will need to understand that all that glitters isn’t gold, and while an echo promises to give her all she desires, it can also lead to her end.
Kingdom of Echoes is a splendid book about the importance of friendship and family despite not being bound by blood. E.S. Nisan’s portrayal of the echoes, especially Ravlen’s echo, reminded me of a picture-perfect family scene straight out of The Stepford Wives—but for kids. She perfectly captures their essence, so much so that I almost want to have my echo, despite knowing the dangers they pose. The plot was intriguing as I kept wondering what Ravlen’s story was and why she was so different, and Nisan builds up the anticipation of the reveal beautifully. Ravlen’s history was revealed at the perfect time that wasn’t too early in the story or too late to be frustrating, with just enough missing details that will leave you eager to join her as she learns more about herself in the next installment. Preteens and early teenagers will love the Kingdom of Echoes as they follow Ravlen’s adventures and see how she steps more fully into her powers.