Google+ YA Romantics: Just Finished Reading ... The Last Echo

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Just Finished Reading ... The Last Echo

The Last Echo
by Kimberly Derting

HarperTeen
April 17, 2012

Source: traded ARC with another blogger -- thanks Lyndsey!

Content: a serial killer, some non-graphic violence

My summary: This is book three in a series, so I'll be non-spoilery as I quickly catch you up.

Violet has a special talent she shares with the women in her family -- she hears the "echoes" of the dead. She can tell when a murder has occurred nearby, and these echoes don't stop until the victim's body is properly laid to rest. Violet can also sense the special imprint that ending the life of another person leaves on the killer. In book one, The Body Finder, we meet Violet and her best friend Jay. Violet is becoming more and more attracted to Jay, and wonders how he feels about her. She knows he's protective of her, but does that mean he likes her as more than a friend? In this book, a serial killer is targeting Violet's small Washington town, and she (with Jay on her heels) realizes she might be able to stop him.

In book two, Desires of the Dead, Jay and Violet are very wrapped up in each other and in their new relationship. Things are complicated by Jay's new friend Mike and also the fact that Violet has a mysterious secret admirer. Just Jay and Violet's relationship begins to strain, Violet's admirer turns stalker. FBI agent Sara Priest and the enigmatic Rafe enter the picture.

In book three, The Last Echo, Violet is part of a new FBI team headed up by Sara. Violet,  Rafe, and three other teens with paranormal abilities have been asked to consult on special cases. After "The Collector," a serial killer who collects unwilling girlfriends, claims another victim, Violet and the team are asked to help.


My take:  First off, I think there should be more YA mysteries and thrillers!  I'm a huge mystery fan, but I've found that a lot of mysteries written for kids can be ... less than thrilling. When I read The Body Finder, I was beside myself with excitement. I loved the paranormal elements and the Violet-Jay dynamic.

The Last Echo retains many of the same qualities that made the prior books great, but also begins to spin the series in a new direction. (Yes, I know that the title of the book makes it sound like this is Violet's last case. After finishing this book, I don't think so!)

As in previous books, Kimberly Derting writes Violet in the third person and intersperses the POV of the killer. As in the other two books, Violet can't help but use her "gift" to help others, defying her parents and worrying Jay. Violet has always been  an independent, fight-her-own-battles kind of girl (yay for that!) But in this book, Derting kicks the action up to an even higher level. There were a couple chapters toward the end that were excruciatingly suspenseful and scary.

Okay, now to the part that some of you Jay fans might not like. But bear with me!!  If you love Jay (like I do), you might have been nervous toward the end of the last book. Was the author setting up a love triangle?  In The Last Echo, Violet's participation in the FBI team does spin her life -- and the series -- in a fresh new direction. So in my head I'm panicking: "Nononono -- #TeamJay!" But I can also see that this change will set up loads of potential conflict and drama for future books. That's good writing -- and good series planning.

Violet's role on the FBI team makes her feel less like a freak. She's around other kids her age who can understand what it's like to have a "gift" that others might find ghoulish. But being on the team also puts her in greater danger. Violet is in more conflict with her parents. Jay is worrying more. And she has less time for her friends. So the downside of this change is that in The Last Echo, Jay and Chelsea play somewhat diminished roles. And, yes, Rafe's role expands. I'm not going to say more, just that the author does stay true to her characters, which is what's important to me.  The Last Echo has more action and less of the steam heat that characterized of Desires of the Dead. I figured out what the title meant toward the end of the book. Wow. Then, I thought I saw where things were going, but at the very end, there was a surprising twist that will raise the tension even more in book four!

I loved The Last Echo and I'm looking forward to seeing where the next installment takes Violet's story.

Are you interested in books like this? Check out my review of Slide by Jill Hathaway.

Are you a fan of YA mystery? Have you read:


Clarity by Kim Harrington

Slide by Jill Hathaway

Down the Rabbit Hole by Peter Abrams

24 comments:

  1. So I really need to read this series. I love mysteries. The characters sound great too. I have these books on my TBR list, but like with many others, I just don't have the time to get to them. Great review! You really make me want to read this series now.

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    1. So many great books to read! But if you love mysteries and great romance, you should really check this series out!

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  2. I am definitely adding these to my TBR list! I hadn't heard of them before so thanks for the informative (but not to much)review!

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  3. Im seriously itching to read this book! I LOVE Kim's series and writing and I totally agree on the need for more books like these!!! Great review! :-D

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    1. Hey Valia -- thanks for stopping by!! (Valia and I are Goodreads and DAC (Debut Author Challenge) Friends)

      Glad you are a fan of this series too :)

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  4. Thank you for the non-spoilery. I'm wondering what the cover picture has to do with anything. It's purple which I like. Violet perhaps?

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    1. All the covers have flowers. Body Finder had blue (or perhaps blue-violet -- good catch there!) and Desires of the Dead had hot pink (appropriate because that was by far the steamiest book.)

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  5. Ahh I knew it would be good! Can't wait to get my hands on a copy! :) Great Review Jen!

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    1. Well, you are entered in the comments contest just for saying that. Good luck!

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  6. I love this series and I'm really looking forward to this book! I'm a little nervous about the "Jay" parts you talked about because I am #TeamJay, but I will keep an open mind :-) Great review as always Jen!

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    1. Don't be nervous. I think Kim Derting did a great job of adding some potential for drama and conflict while staying true to the characters. Not to say there might not be a little nail-biting for #TeamJay but you won't want to throw the book across the room.

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  7. I love these books, and can't wait to read this one!

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  8. I just realized that this is the same author that wrote The Pledge. I really enjoyed that book so I HAVE to read this series now! :)

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    1. I haven't read the Pledge -- did you like it???

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  9. Oh, I want to read this review, but I haven't read Book #2 yet;( And I don't know why, because I LOVED The Body Finder! The romance between Jay and Violet had some of the best swoonworthy moments I have ever read:)

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    1. If you thought book 1 was swoony, you gotta read book 2!!

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  10. So I have The Body Finder from audible, but only got through about the first third before I got kind of bored. I'm wondering if listening to it is why. I will have to give it another chance so that I can move on to the other books since you like them so much. :)

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    1. Do you normally like mysteries?
      I agree, some books on audio I've given up on and wondered if it was the narrator or just that I didn't like that book read aloud...

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    2. I actually do like mysteries, but the ones I have enjoyed the most have been classical ones, so I think the writing has been really good and the characters aren't real teenagish (if you know what I mean). I did like Clarity. I will give it a second try. :)

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    3. This series is fairly similar to Clarity -- probably a little darker. Let me know what you decide!

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  11. I'm on a mystery kick at the moment. I'll have to start this series. Thanks for being non-spoilery. I'm so bad at that!!!

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    1. It's a tough balance between non-spoilery and completely vague! But if you love mysteries, you should definitely try these!

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