League of Secrets

Echoes of Past Lives Book Two

Young Adult - Sci-Fi
305 Pages
Reviewed on 02/21/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite

League of Secrets is a work of fiction in the adventure, fantasy, and dystopian drama sub-genres, and was penned by author R. E. Johnston. The work is intended for the young adult reading audience and forms the second book in the Echoes of Past Lives series. Continuing the events of the first book, Two Moons, we find ourselves once again with Jay and his friends as they quest to discover more about their past lives in an effort to get ahead in the powerful world in which they live. When the young Twila’s apparent disadvantage soon turns out to hide a major secret, tensions will rise and learning who to trust becomes harder and harder.

Author R. E. Johnston has crafted an immersive and fascinating work of fiction with a second-in-series novel that has plenty of new concepts and high stakes drama to offer its readers. One of the most essential features of this work was the talent the author displays in worldbuilding, through such details as the transference and acquisition of power in the society, owing to the incredible knowledge that the characters’ past lives offer them. I loved all of the dark, slick figures making it in this new world at any cost, and presenting so many dangers for Jay and his friends to face. Another of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was the development of the young characters, which balances their youth and relative naivety well against what they learn and how they grow into their own power. Overall, I would highly recommend League of Secrets to fans of fascinating new fantasy concepts, engrossing worldbuilding, and for YA dystopian readers everywhere.

Susan Sewell

A group of students is clandestinely experimenting with a secret unsanctioned program to enhance their recollections of reincarnation in the fascinating young adult fantasy novel, League of Secrets (Echoes of Past Lives: Book 2) by RE Johnston. Jay, Vlad, and Carlos are each from three different countries, all of which have uneasy relations. After a daring rescue and escape, Jay and his friends Vlad and Carlos have attained unexpected fame across their home planet of Duorth. When Jay's sister Portia is interested in attending school in Vlad's country of Roticia, the Rotician leader will only consider her enrollment if Jay will come and make a speech. While visiting the academy, Jay inadvertently brings home a dream enhancement program the Roticians are developing. When he discovers he has it, Jay and Carlos collaborate to find out if it works. As Jay and his closest friends test the Rotician program, they uncover more than they anticipated. Will their discovery cause more friction between their countries?

League of Secrets (Echoes of Past Lives: Book 2) by RE Johnston is an intriguing fantasy where reincarnation rules the world. It is a captivating tale that has a fascinating storyline, intriguing plot, and engaging characters. The main character, Jay, is a typical clean-cut teen who is not only likable but is also relatable in his relationships and home life. The story world has a genuine essence that mimics ours impeccably, even down to doughnuts, double cheeseburgers, french fries, and milkshakes. Although it is the second book in a series, it is an easy transition from the first. It is a delightful tale that promises to entertain everyone from twelve to a hundred who enjoy science-fiction novels laced with fantasy.

Pikasho Deka

League of Secrets is the second installment in author R. E. Johnston's sci-fi/fantasy series Echoes of Past Lives. After gaining global recognition in the world of Duorth, Jay Shipman is approached by the Arianian General Clyde Bassett and incorporated into the mysterious group known as the League of Secrets. Jay, alongside his sister Portia and girlfriend Twila, travels to the nation of Roticia, where during a visit to the Rotician Science Institute, he discovers futuristic software. As the group takes turns using the technology, some much-needed help arrives in the form of a Swotian hacker named Carlos Ruiz, who incidentally is tasked by the Bureau of Information to monitor the suspicious Anatolio Morado Group. Meanwhile, Roticia inches closer to the brink of civil war.

Built on the fascinating premise of reincarnation and multiple worlds, League of Secrets is yet another intriguing entry in the Echoes of Past Lives series. R. E. Johnston's novel is a highly entertaining odyssey of a young man and his friends caught in the midst of climactic events involving rival nations, secret societies, futuristic technology, and much more. With likable characters, an engaging plot, and exploration of some interesting hypothetical concepts, R. E. Johnston tells a unique and authentic story that you can't help but enjoy. The pacing of the narrative is on the slower side as plenty of expository scenes are provided to make the story easily accessible. Despite being a sequel, League of Secrets seamlessly works as a standalone. I would recommend it to sci-fi and fantasy readers alike.

Vincent Dublado

R.E. Johnston brings back Jay Shipman and his friends in League of Secrets, the second book in his Echoes of Past Lives Series. In the planet of Duorth where reincarnation is the norm but comes at such a costly price, Jay has discovered his previous life as Ri Sun-Hui, a senior scientist responsible for her nation’s bioweapons research. But it all meant nothing because she had no rights by simply being a woman. Jay’s friend, Carlos, has become obsessed with figuring out a way to learn more about their past lives and has become fixated with Roticia Science Institute’s software called Recollection Enhancement Program. Meanwhile, Jay’s now girlfriend Twila has the disadvantage of virtually no recollections at all. Yet she harbors a secret that can turn the tide in her favor. Since knowledge is power, Jay will call up a revolution against those in power who seek to benefit themselves at the expense of others.

R.E. Johnston has written a series that is very welcome in an ocean of young adult fiction that seems to ring the same bell in terms of plot and conflict. He has found a creative way to place reincarnation, a religious concept, in a high-science fiction adventure. With a young protagonist that is relentless in pursuing the truth, Jay’s motivations are convincing, especially that he wants the people of Duorth to cling to their rights. Speaking of Duorth, this planet may well appear as an alternate Earth dealing with its own political and social issues. The most impressive aspect of this series is the way it has created the idea of past lives as a source of advancement and conflict for a nation. Echoes of Past Lives hangs on that old adage that we learn from the past, and you must read this series to see how.

Jennifer Ibiam

League of Secrets by RE Johnston is a young adult fantasy novel set on the planet Duorth. Duorth comprised three territories named Swotia, Roticia, and Ariana–the home of Jay Shipman. His sister, Portia, had a boyfriend from Roticia, and she wanted to attend the Rotician Science Institute. Jay, Portia, and his girlfriend, Twila, visited the country that had only recently become cordial with Ariana. On a tour of the school, they were given the Recollection Enhancement Technology (RET) by a student, but their guide, Professor Yelena Bubka, kicked against it. Jay, Portia, and Twila had lived previous lives on Earth, and the RET would help them remember. So who was Yelena Bubka, and what was she hiding by refusing to give them the RET? Do the kids have any chance at getting a glimpse into their past lives?

League of Secrets by RE Johnston is a great book in the series. It has a unique plot with an out of this world setting. This novel opens our eyes to the possibility of reincarnation and the past lives we may have lived. It got me asking myself whether there’s information from my past life that could prove helpful to me in today’s world. I loved Jay’s character so much as he was brave and always knew what to say. Carlos was also a very resourceful fellow who was not held back by his country’s dynamics. These characters and more showed bravery, integrity, and wit. I also liked the inclusion of subtle romance. I loved the smooth flow of dialogues and the flawless editing. League of Secrets is a fantastic novel that I enjoyed reading.