‘Echoes of Balance’ tells the story of Chloe, a girl belonging to the ancient race of Naimei – bringers of balance to the universe. Chloe however, prefers to balance things out between the normal and supernatural world by killing as many vampires as possible, as opposed to her family that relies on predictions by means of The Ways (a set of indicative instruments that can point out cosmic imbalances and future events).
When she has a change of heart concerning her hunting activities, her cousin gives her an undercover mission: go to high school and befriend Aurelia, a girl that might end up being an important puzzle piece in an impending demonic return the Naimei need to put a stop too.
I immediately took a liking to main character Chloe when I started reading Echoes of Balance, which is always a good first sign. I really respect the fact that the author used Chloe as her protagonist instead of the more obvious choice Aurelia, her all too human friend. This made a story that could have been a tad cliché in the vast ocean of YA Fantasy featuring docile 17-year olds among vampires and whatnot a much more refreshing read!
Why? Well, it’s a bit as if City of Bones by Cassandra Clare would have been told from Isabelle’s perspective, or Twilight from Alice’s: we don’t see all the story-building events happening through the eyes of a blindsided and love-struck teenage girl who’s confronted with supernatural creatures and/or her own special powers, we view it through the eyes of an ageless Naimei-girl who – though sometimes reluctantly – knows and uses her unusual supernatural strengths all too well. This somewhat bolder choice definitely pays off and makes the story stand out in the crowd. It also doesn’t focus on romance at all, which is sort of rare in its genre.
The only negative comments I can think of are, firstly, that the story doesn’t feel quite finished. I know, of course, that there are sequels planned in The Ways Trilogy, yet this first book still feels way too short and shallow. It’s almost as if this is just a skeleton idea that was published before adding meat to the bones. I would not have minded the pace to have been a bit slower so that it would be a full-length novel of say 300 pages. I wanted to know more about The Ways and the Naimei. There is some background, but not quite enough to satiate your average curious reader.
Secondly, I feel the publisher really made a mistake with the cover. This book would get a lot more well-deserved attention with a more badass cover: Chloe dressed in her leather jacket instead of the frilly dress that gives potential readers the impression that this might be a story in a historic setting when it’s actually an urban fantasy. Don’t get me wrong – the cover is pretty! But I just don’t think it attracts the right crowd for this particular book. And that’s really too bad!
In conclusion: it’s a fast and fun read – you will fly right through the pages, be they digital or physical – but in my opinion it’s a bit too superficial. Fans of Paranormalcy by Kiersten White, Rose Hathaway’s badassery in Vampire Academy and the Jeanine Frost-books should definitely give this one a read. They will most likely really enjoy it – I know I did!
My fan cast for Chloe and Josef:
Meghan Ory from Once Upon a Time as Chloe
Daniel Di Tomasso from Witches of East End as Josef
Thanks to REUTS for providing me with a review copy! (This in no way influenced my rating or review – trust me, I’m way too opinionated to be won over with free e-books ;))