A while back, I read the first volume in A Girl Called Echo series. And recently I was given a finished copy of the Omnibus. I like the word omnibus. I picture a large bus that has wings or something magical about it. And it carries a lot of things inside of it. And that fits this story by Katherena Vermette as they created a story that has elements of the here and now, and time travel. Or a bit of magic. I have not officially finished the book yet (I still need to read volume four), but think I know enough about it to write my review.
I will start with four questions. The first: What happened to Echo’s mother so she is not living with the family? (I do not want to assume, but it seems as if she has some mental health issues or possible addiction issues). Second, are the other children in the house biological siblings? Cousins? Foster siblings? And why did they add a few elements that, so far, just seem to be used for diversity for diversity’s sake (a teacher who is they/them for one). And finally, is the woman caring for Echo a foster mother? Aunt? Her mothers partner?
Yet, I will say, despite all that, things are really amazing. And that does allow us to see how one child could live within this community. We follow Echo as she tries to navigate multiple worlds. She is Metis, but knows nothing about it, and lives in an area that seems to me mostly white. She is trying to adjust to school and well meaning teachers; all the while dealing with her feelings about her mother, herself, and the world her time-traveling dreams place her in. Seeing critical moments of history, we see how these pieces of history happened from the other perspective and how they shaped the world Echo now is part of.
Scott B. Henderson’s illustrations are bleak and capture the spirit of things. The colors (which I am assuming are thanks to Donovan Yaciuk) are not muted, but are not bold either. They are their own character as they shape the world the Echo and her family, friends, and people live in. They also support each person, and of course, mostly Echo and the past as they are the main focuses of the stories.
There are several extras included in each volume, which can be a plus if you are looking for more information on the subject, but also can make things crowded if you just want to focus on the story itself.