The Pria Chronicles: Echoes by Shannon Rieger
Synopsis: Michael Hilton was six years old when he fell into an unexplained coma. His mysterious powers emerged when he inexplicably awoke, forever changed. Unearthly creatures that once were hidden from view were no longer invisible to him. Like the creatures living incognito amongst the human race, so will Michael attempt to conceal from others his strange powers and abilities. But his ability to see creatures prowling in his world is just the tip of the iceberg. He becomes aware that he can now read minds, and as a result, can, unfortunately, converse with his annoying and judgmental cat, Henry.
Michael has a difficult time coping with this new, twisted reality, but what makes life formidable is that everyone has echoes which disturb his senses. When Michael first meets the girl of his dreams, Avery Simmons, he sees her echoes as beautifully lit wings and feels her magnetism. Unfortunately for Michael, Avery has a boyfriend, Greyson Sloan. His echoes smell like toffee and seem to have a calming effect on him. A lot of the time, Michael finds the echoes enchanting but recently, he discovers beings with echoes that are horrifying and overwhelming. When the creatures stalk and gather in a menacing fog whenever he is around Avery, Michael realizes that she may be their target. Unable to know if they are friend or foe, he is compelled to protect her even if that means he must reveal his deepest secrets.
My thoughts: I was expecting this book to be at least entertaining, but I was so surprised at how quickly I was sucked in to the point I couldn’t put it down. Did I read at work because I just had to know what happened? Yes. Yes I did.
Michael Hilton can see and hear things other people can’t–he calls them echoes. He can also read his cat’s mind, which I thought was super weird at first, but eventually you just can’t help but loving Henry. In the beginning, I wasn’t really jiving with the way the book was set up: it changes POVs and the characters write on certain topics, so most of the time you are in the moment and sometimes you aren’t. There was a literary agent and I was like…okay…where is this going? I don’t always like different POVs, but Shannon did a FANTASTIC job switching between them and using them for great storytelling. It quickly became my favorite thing about the book. Right when you think you got it figured out, you get in someone else’s head and see a whole new perspective. It killed me (in the best way) ’cause chapters ended at awful times and it would switched to someone else and I was dying to know how it all turned out. I loved how it managed to be such a page-turner, but without a ton of violence or hardcore mystery. It was like magic.
I felt Michael was pure awesome and I loved him and wanted to be in his head the most. Really, I mostly enjoyed the other POVs when they were giving their own perceptions about Michael. Greyson’s character bothered me sometimes–I felt his POV didn’t have as much voice–but by the end I felt he had become more defined. Avery is cool, and I love the conflicting dynamic between the three of them. Sometimes I wish they would just talk to each other more, but they’re teenagers. Assuming completely wrong things is part of the frustrating fun. One thing that I thought was kind of strange: the parents are pretty much nonexistent. Like, they’re there, and each character mentions that they have some, but I feel like they aren’t involved in their kids’ lives at all. It’s one thing for that to be their character, but for everyone to just talk about parents…I don’t know. Just a little thing. I feel sad for Michael too, because that guy just needs some support.
Also, I hate Dean. Down with Dean. Get Dean out of the way because he just needs to go. It’s gotta be Michael and Avery. Please?
Overall, I really enjoyed the story–it reminded me of everything I love about the Percy Jackson series, but it didn’t feel like a cheap copy. The Pria Chronicles feel new and refreshing, and I can’t wait to see where the next books take us!
Rated 4/5 for great imagery, compelling stories, awesome POV use, and Henry.