Disclaimer: I received a free electronic copy of this novel in exchange for an honest review.
Echo by Lorena Glass is a time-travel fantasy romance that follows two cursed lovers as they battle through time to be together. The novel opens with Karissa, who travels from the early 2000s back to ancient Roman times to reunite herself with her deceased soulmate, albeit in one of his previous lives. Due to the curse, each time they are together, Karissa and Adregin (her lover’s name in his life as a Roman soldier) are separated by death and must continuously search for one another in their other incarnations.
If you love romance for the sake of romance, you will adore this novel. Karissa and Adregin have an inexplicable bond, and they love one another with a passion akin to Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet (including both the praises and critiques of that relationship). While at times this love may seem foolish, their devotion to one another is admirable and is, of course, the driving factor of the plot.
The characters are well-developed and complex. Their personalities are understandably different in each of their lives, but they still have defining traits that span their incarnations. Personally, I did not find all of the characters likable, but I do not hold that against the author. It just goes to show that Glass has crafted realistic, flawed characters.
As to the plot of the novel, I felt like Echo was two or three books in one. It carried over into multiple lives of the characters, and each segment felt like a different book. The ending, while somewhat of a cliffhanger (to set up the next in the series), does not have the dramatic effect the author intended. After all, Glass shows us the basic idea of what will happen earlier in the novel, when the lovers are separated for the first time. I would have found the work much more effective if more detail and time had been spent in developing the characters’ relationships and the book split in two. In addition to this high-level/structural revision, the novel could also do with a copy edit.
I cannot comment on the accuracy of the historical elements of the novel, as I am not a history buff. However, nothing jumped out at me as being hugely inaccurate or unrealistic. As far as the time travel element is concerned, I wish that had been better explained. It is still unclear exactly how the time travel works, and given the element of danger Glass implies, it seems unlikely that a normal, 20-something like Karissa could have gotten her hands on the technology. That is an element I hope will be explained further in subsequent novels.
Overall, Echo by Lorena Glass is a captivating love story that does the work of two books. If you enjoy relationship-driven plots and intense romances, you will really like this novel.
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