ECHO’s Revenge by Sean Austin is set to be released May 15th. I had the opportunity to read an ARC copy from the author before its release date. I’m really glad Sean Austin approached me about reviewing his book, because it’s probably not something I would have discovered on my own. You know- so many books, so little time, etc. I really enjoyed this story about brother’s Reggie and Jeremy. Reggie is 14 and Jeremy is 11. Their home life isn’t so great. Their mom is never around and their stepdad is a jerk. The brother’s love this video game called ECHO’s revenge. It’s a game about this being, that can mutate, turn invisible and terrorize. It’s the kind of game you can play online against other gamers. Reggie is really good at it – so good in fact that he gets invited to attend a focus group for the next version of the game, along with the other elite players. While there Reggie meets Sean Austin (the author) who gives him a cheat code for the game. This book is the first volume in an investigation by Sean Austin about the events that really occur after this focus group.
Reggie and his brother decide to run away from home and go to their dad’s house. Along the way they meet a series of interesting people that help them find their way. While the boys are traveling, ECHO is kidnapping the gamers from the focus group as well as other gamers. Reggie and Jeremy have no idea ECHO is following them at first. By the time they realize that ECHO is real, it’s too late. I won’t spoil the experience for you by telling you what happens next – you should definitely read it for yourself.
I really liked this story, because it is an interesting read, that kids and teens will enjoy – especially with all the interest in video games in today’s world – but it also contains lessons. One lesson is to pay attention to the things going on around you. When you are constantly glue to your computer, ipod, games, etc you are missing out on real life and the things happening around you. Another lesson is about loyalty and being there for your friends and family. I won’t give them all away – but it’s great to read a book that is entertaining and has some substance.
The characters of Jeremy and Reggie are well developed and relatable. It’s easy to understand where they are coming from. I also really liked Scratch – the lone female gamer amidst all these boisterous males. She has some excellent words of wisdom. My favorite is Big Pete. When you read the book, watch for him. He has interesting wisdom to impart.
ECHO’s Revenge is a fun fast-paced adventure that is appropriate for middle grades and young adults. The book is an interactive experience with an on-going investigation going on at http://echohunt.com/ . Be sure to check out the website as it really adds to the experience. There are some questions in the book that remain unanswered – but if it’s not on the website, I expect it will be book 2 in the series. You can purchase your own copy at Amazon, or enter below to win a copy from the author.