Please note that I received this book via NetGalley. This did not affect my rating or review.
So, I had an up and down experience with the last book I read by Heuvelt. That book, Hex, started off well and then just descended into confusion for me. And then I hated how some things were portrayed. I was hesitant with this book, but thought it was a very solid horror book that reminded me a lot of several other works by Lovecraft, James, Jackson, and other horror aficionados. Once you get into the book though, you realize that was bey design. Even though this book is horror, in the end, I found it to be a love story at it’s core. There are not a lot of gross out terrible moments, but the feeling of dread creeps through the book, goes away, and creeps back again. The main reason why I gave this 4 stars and not 5 stars is that parts of the book just get bogged down and are hard to push through. The flow was up and down (probably due to the different narrators and style).
“Echo” follows Sam Avery and Nick Grevers. The two men are in a happy relationship, with just one sticking point. Sam is not happy with Nick and his constant need to go mountain climbing. He’s afraid that something out there may happen to him. His fears are proven right though when he’s informed that Nick has been hurt climbing and his climbing partner, Augustin has gone missing while they were climbing Maudit in the Swiss Alps.
Sam becomes afraid of how Nick is going to look and react after he and Nick’s family realize that his face will never be the same. But Sam realizes that it’s not just Nick’s face that has changed, something seems to have gotten a hold of him.
The book then switches back and forth between Sam’s (manuscript), Nick’s emails/letters to Sam and then Nick’s journal (I guess?) as the two men work out what is happening to Nick and why.
I loved Sam’s backstory and the love between him and his sister. And honestly, Sam’s love of Nick too. Readers will catch on pretty quickly what is going on with Nick, but Sam refuses to believe it even when evidence is at one point left behind for him. I also love the parts of the book that delved into why Nick loved the outdoors so much, and what about the mountains grabbed him. I love hiking and being outdoors does make you think and feel primitive things.
But it also makes you feel close to something. I don’t know how to describe it. Hiking always centers me and that’s why I hate it when I can’t go at least once a week.
The writing was very well done I thought. Each of the chapters includes an excerpt from a horror themed book which plays upon what readers are going to read next. We get “The Turn of the Screw”, “The Great God Pan,” and others. As I said earlier, the flow though was the main problem I had with this one. Sometimes certain chapters felt too full of information. And other times it felt like the chapter just flew by too fast and left me with more questions.
The setting of the book for the most part is the Swiss Alps. And apparently I was incorrect in thinking that place is like Christmas year round. There be some darkness in those mountains. I loved a lot of the callbacks to myths and other things in this one.
The ending I thought was true to the book, but also once again it reminds you. At its heart, this book is a love story.