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Book Review

Publisher's Note:

From the New York Times bestselling author of the Falling Kingdoms series comes the first book in a brand-new duology about forbidden magic and dangerous secrets, for readers of Victoria Aveyard and Margaret Rogerson. Josslyn Drake knows only three things about magic: it’s rare, illegal, and always deadly. So when she’s caught up in a robbery gone wrong at the Queen’s Gala and infected by a…

Echoes and Empires

by Morgan Rhodes

Overall Book Review:

Do you love strong female protagonists? Magic and adventure? Then you might enjoy Echoes and Empires, a new release that has the perfect mix of fantasy, magic, and just a little bit of romance. 

Josslyn Drake lives in a world where magic exists, but is forbidden, and if anyone is suspected of having it, they are executed. So, when Joss is the recipient of some dark magic and just happens to meet a young thief named Jericho who also possesses magic, they both agree it would be in their best interest to team up to find a cure to rid themselves of it.

Of course, having a young, single protagonist leaves room for some flirting, despite the fact that Jericho seems to have no interest in a relationship and at times seems quite annoyed at how out of touch with reality Josslyn is. That doesn’t mean that there isn’t a bit of a spark between the two as time goes on and things get dark and even more dangerous. 

I’m not a huge fan of books like this, but the synopsis and cover of Echoes and Empires drew me in and I can’t say that I was disappointed. Keep in mind that this is the first book in a duology, so don’t be surprised if the story seems to leave you hanging at the end!

Review of a Digital Advanced Reading Copy from Penguin Young Reader’s Group/Razorbill

Content Analysis:

Profanity/Language: 18 religious exclamations; 58 mild obscenities; 1 religious profanity; 5 scatological words; 5 anatomical terms.

Violence/Gore: A report is made of a raid; a report is made that someone has been killed; a report of a palace being set on fire and lots of innocent lives lost is made with no explicit detail; a character mentions that they would like someone dead and that they would laugh as they died; a minor is caught up in some violence at a store and her companions are mentioned to be knocked out; a minor knees a man between the legs to defend herself; a brief scene occurs where a minor attacks a young man, hitting and scratching and drawing some blood; a minor is mentioned to get a bloody nose several times throughout the book; a minor observes a young man being hit and blood being shed in a brief scene; a mention of a building being raided and burnt to the ground is made; a reference is made to people being executed if they possess magic; a brief scene occurs where a character is mentioned to step in front of a vehicle; an armed person makes threats in a brief scene; a brief scene occurs where a young man is shot and is depicted lying in bed with blood soaking the blankets; a report is made of someone trying to escape a keep/prison and being shot as they climbed over a wall; a report is made of someone being stabbed in the heart with a sword; a brief scene occurs where a young man is attacked by men with swords, physical restraint is used against the young man and his arm is twisted behind his back, possibly breaking it, some blood is mentioned to trickle down his face; a reference is made to a beast that stalks people and makes them disappear, a report is made of a woman who is rumored to have killed multiple husbands; a brief scene occurs where a man recalls a scar he sustained in a brief scuffle; a brief scene occurs where characters are told of a man killing his parents by burning them alive; a prince is reported to have died from drowning but have his bodied perfectly preserved and viewed, his body is mentioned to be used for a ritual with signs carved into the skin; a reference is made to human sacrifices; a brief scene occurs where a woman is depicted having her throat cut and bleeding out until death; death threats are made; a fight occurs in a brief scene, punches are thrown and blood is mentioned, a man is said to be stabbed with a sword and is mentioned to pull the sword out of his chest, slicing his hand as he removes it; a man holding a gun threatens to kill a minor; a reference is made to a man wanting to kill himself and having failed attempts.

Sex/Nudity: A kiss between minors occurs in a brief scene; a minor sees a boy bathing in a river with no shirt on and thinks that he probably has no pants on either; a woman mentions that she has not been with a man in years and isn’t even sure if she likes men now that she has been with a woman; a minor kisses a boy and touches his chest.

Mature Subjects:

Magic; death; murder.


A minor drinks wine; a reference is made to some sort of drug being used to knock people unconscious; a character is mentioned to drink a lot; cigars and cigarette smoke is mentioned to fill the air; a mention is made of a man being drunk; a minor is described to experience her first hangover.

Overall Book Rating

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About the Reviewer

Books and reading have always been an important part of my life. When I was very young, my grandma was the library director at our local public library. Years later, after she had retired, I became a librarian at the same library and worked there for several years before taking a part-time job at a local coffee shop, which gives me more time to do what I love, to read and to review books! A few of my favorite authors are Aimee Bender, Diane Chamberlain, and Curtis Sittenfeld however, I will read almost any book I come across! In my spare time you can find me reading (of course), volunteering at a wildlife animal rehab, or hanging out with my two house rabbits.