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Echo Branson hits the frozen tundra of Alaska in an effort to find her ex-lover, Tiponi Redhawk, and Tip’s three young supernatural charges from Russia. In the process, Echo also comes to her own self-discovery. In this fourth installment of the Echo Branson series, Echo braves dangers, not only from the elements, but also from the evil Genysis Corporation, the secret government-backed agency committed to using the likes of Echo and her friends’ supernatural abilities for their own despicable purposes.
In her race to save Tip and the kids, Echo is aided by her side-kick superheroes: Bailey, a shamanic supernatural who can command wild animals, and Cinder, a youngster who is dedicated to Echo’s protection using her ability to generate and hurl fire bombs from her fingertips. In Frozen Echo, our heroine finds herself among the unlikely combination of Inuit people and detoxing veterans of theIraq war. Both are improbable champions to join in her fight, but if not for them, Echo’s mission is in jeopardy.
In addition to her band of “supers,” it’s lucky for Echo that she has friends in high places in the techno-world. Her software guru best friend, Dani, and Dani’s band of techno-geeks continually help Echo out of one jam after another with James Bond-like technological toys and their talent for hacking into any computer system.
The Echo Branson series began with Echo, formerly known as Jane Doe, coming of age as an empath. As a teenager, Echo felt like an outsider with no history, a failed product of the foster care system, without family, and with powers she didn’t understand. Fortunately, Echo fell into the right hands and she was able to both discover and control her supernatural ability, which she describes within the early pages of Frozen Echo: I can detect a lie a mile away and underwater.
In addition to lies, she can also sense a whole range of emotions from those she encounters, a skill that has proven to be both blessing and curse.
Her teacher and mentor, Melika, has appointed Echo to be her heir, but it is Echo who must make the final decision. Frozen Echo is about melting away doubts and fears and embracing her leadership roll after a long struggle. And in her personal life, she can’t seem to figure out who the real love of her life is—the “normal” girlfriend she left behind, San Francisco police officer, Marist Finn, or Tiponi Redhawk, the Native American supernatural who may not even be alive. Echo’s interior battles are juxtaposed with her exterior ones as she hunts for Tiponi and tries to rescue the Russian triplets. As the group takes on Genesys, the reader becomes privy to ever more shocking revelations about Echo’s history and family.
Silva has given us a complex story that flows together well. The characters in the series reveal multifaceted personalities to compliment Echo’s. Clearly, Silva has given each of the characters time to grow within her own mind and allows them to come to life on the page as people that the reader can either care about or despise—and Echo is once again revealed as more natural than supernatural as she tries to find her place in two very different worlds.
This action-packed adventure is a love story from a different perspective. There is no real romance in this tale, but it’s evolutionary quality sets us up for the next step in Echo’s romantic life, as well as in her life of leadership. Frozen Echo is page-turner with a soul-searching undercurrent. The journey through the Alaskan wilderness is well portrayed for its beauty and its peril.
Silva weaves a masterful tale. Information is dropped like tiny gems along the story line giving readers new to the series enough background about Echo and her friends to feel part of the adventure without boring those for whom this is a continuing journey. Her fluid writing and fascinating characters will make this one difficult to put down.
By Linda Kay Silva