Echoes and Empires / Morgan Rhodes / Book Review


Josslyn Drake has everything going for her: the status, the wardrobe, and the queen's ear. And she's got a lust for vengeance, too, ever since the wicked warlock Lord Banyon had her father assassinated.

It's the one-year anniversary of her father's death, and she's determined to hold her head high at the annual Queen's Gala while paparazzi snap pictures and the country watches. Lord Banyon will be brought to justice. But when Josslyn gets caught in a robbery gone awry, her night takes a very different turn.

She finds herself suddenly infected with illegal magic, the very magic the thief meant to steal. Suddenly a fugitive, Josslyn finds herself with no choice but to trust the thief himself with her life--because he wants the magic back, whatever that might cost. And he might be the only one who knows how to save her from it.



This is a case of premise-surpassed-execution. I loved the building blocks of this book, but none of them came together in a way that I particularly liked. I found the narrator unlikable and irritating, and with her as our focus character, it just wasn't a great read.


Tech Fantasy Though the worldbuilding can be a bit muddled in this book, I always enjoy a fantasy that mingles magic with the modern. This might be a second-world fantasy, but it features cellphones and security cameras alongside its ruthlessly evil wizards. That mixture of high fantasy and high-tech really makes a splash, regardless of the few worldbuilding problems it creates.

Fashion Forward The unfortunate trend in YA fantasy (as well as other genres) is to feature a "strong" female character who is strong precisely because she is not like other girls. That type of character gets particularly tiring, and so it is nice to have a character who is like other girls. Josslyn Drake likes fashion. She likes looking good and showing off. She isn't particularly skilled at fighting. She's got friends--female friends--and she gets into catfights. And though I did find her annoying for other reasons, I really do appreciate how much she is precisely like other girls--how much she stands out against a backdrop of "strong women."

Enemies to Lovers I mean, who doesn't love a bit of enemies-to-lovers romance? Sure, the enemies-to-lovers trope might currently be flooding the market, but that doesn't make it any less fun. The tension, the rising angst, the chemistry they just can't ignore: all of that makes it into these pages. And two characters who struggle to get along slowly find themselves more invested in each other than ever before.


As often as I write not-stellar reviews, I really do hate to be particularly harsh about a book, but unfortunately, sometimes I have to be. And that's the case here. The dialogue in this book is so bad it borders on farcical. Every voice sounded the same--and sounded very, very young. It was juvenile and silly--but without any indication of intent. The dialogue wasn't polished, and it was as difficult to believe as it was to read. Immature Dialogue

Unfortunately, this is a bit of a common theme in YA protagonists, and I just really, really hate it. You don't just trust people you randomly meet, especially not those who knock you out, rob you, and then kidnap you. Why would you spill your guts to this person? Why would you share your most traumatic memories with them? It just Makes. No. Sense. Too Trusting

This critique is really a combination of the other two. With a particularly juvenile voice and a sense of trust that just makes no sense, it is difficult to really care about Josslyn Drake. And if you don't care about the protagonist, do you really care about her story? No. Annoying Narrator



Fans of Amanda Foody and Christine Lynn Herman's All of Us Villains will like this new magical-with-a-touch-of-modern world. Those looking for more angsty romance in a world of illegal magic after Shelby Mahurin's Serpent and Dove should check out this book.


Publisher: Razorbill
Date: January 4, 2022
Series: Echoes & Empires
Add to Goodreads
Buy it HERE

Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Edelweiss+ in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


Post a Comment

Popular posts from this blog

Sky's End / Marc J. Gregson / Book Review

Most Ardently: A Pride & Prejudice Remix / Gabe Cole Novoa / Book Review

Best and Worst of 2023