“There is truth to be shared. Let us begin…”
Volatile mathematical genius Mallory Park is living two lives. In one, she is balancing senior year with looking after her little brother and troubled ex-Marine father; in the other, she spends her nights glued to her laptop, breaking into some of the world’s most secure systems as the hacker Echo Six.
As part of a corruption-exposing cyber network called the Forum, Mallory is far more at ease among the codes and hidden identities of her online world than she has ever been in the real one, but when other hackers start to go missing, she finds herself caught up in a web of secrets that could have repercussions far beyond both.
When anyone can be a name on a screen, how do you know who to trust?
I received a copy in exchange for an honest review
I don’t think I ever read a Cyber Thriller before this one, but the blurb and cover caught my attention so I decided to give it a try. After reading this book I can say I am not sure if this is a genre for me, but I did enjoy the book and I am glad I read it. Echoes didn’t fully grab me, it always felt like I was only half into the story and only after the big plot twist towards the end I felt like I was really sucked into the story and didn’t want to stop reading.
Echoes is a very well written book and I especially like how the author handled Mallory mental/ emotional state. It really gave a feel for her as a person. I did have a bit of trouble with the third person perspective as I felt that with first person perspective it would’ve worked even better. It took me by surprise how much this book deals with mental illness, I didn’t mind that and thought it was handled well But I expected a fast past mystery/ thriller book, so the amount of focus on mental issues took me by surprise and it was a bit too much because of that. There are multiple characters with anxiety issues, from which Mallory herself and some side character, her dad has PTSD and her mom has left them when they were young. It was just a bit overwhelming if you don’t know that beforehand. I do think the author handled it well, showing how much they impacted their lives, but when it came to it, they could do things they really wanted to even though it was hard.
As I don’t know a lot about the more technical details I did wonder a few times if the things that happened were possible. I did think the author knew enough about it to make it feel realistic. There were just a few scenes were I wondered if that was possible. It also deals a lot with online personalities, hacking and privacy. It wasn’t downright scary, but it was a bit creepy and gave me an uncomfortable feeling at times. There are some scenes that really made me wonder about online privacy and seeing how they could hack into almost everything was a bit scary.
The first few chapters are a bit slow, until the plot with the missing jackers start, that’s when the pace improves and the story get’s more interesting. Then later on there’s this huge plot twists that took me by surprise and was very well done. And after that I was really hooked, which are only the last 25% or so, but that was my favourite part of the book.
This book has a great cast of characters, what I liked is how it deals with shades of grey. No one is really bad or good, but different shades of grey. It deals a lot with hacking, which technically is illegal, but they do sort of good things with it. Then there are some characters who believe in something and while I did agree with Mallory that it was bad and not a good idea, i could sort of see how much they believed in it and how they saw it as something good. It was very well done.
I had some trouble connecting to Mallory at first, she keeps her distance from everyone and it a bit cold or harsh at times. She has a lot on her shoulders and I felt sorry for her, she also deals with some serious anxiety issues and hacking is something she understand and is good at. Then there are other hackers she meets online, for whom we get a feel as well. Then there is her little brother, who was a fun character. He’s a great kid who always listens for Mallory and there is this scene at the end where he helps her and it was just the sweetest thing. Her dad has PTSD and is broken, he has a job, but sometimes he forgets things or he blinks out and isn’t there. It was hard to see and how Mallory and her brother dealt with it. Then towards the end something happens, that made me like him, it’s a very powerful scene.
The romance might have been my favourite part of this book. There isn’t a lot of romance, just small hints sprinkled throughout. It’s more a friendship/ deep trust slowly developing into more and it was so well done. So realistic and believable and slow and awkward and I feel like the author pretty much nailed the feel of teenage romance and I loved that! Especially the scene at the end in the dark room, it made me feel so much. Having said that, the romance is a really minor plot, the story and action takes center stage, so don’t expect a book filled with romance, but I thought the romance that was there was very well done.
To summarize: Echoes was my first try at the Cyber Thriller genre and while I am not sure if it’s really a genre for me I did really enjoy this book. The online scenes and the hacking could be a bit scary at times, it made me realize how vulnerable things can be. I did wonder sometimes whether things that happened where really possible. The book is very well written and deals with a few mental illnesses as well. I thought the author dealt with the issues well. The last 25% was probably my favourite part of the book because of what happens then. The first few chapters were a bit slow, but as soon as the plot with the missing hackers start it get’s more interesting. The characters were done well, although I had a hard time connecting to them at first I started liking them more as the book progresses. I also liked how this book deals with shades of gray, no character is really bad or good,but they all have their reasons for doing things. the romance is a very minor plot, but it’s probably my favourite part of the book, it was so well done, so realistic and awkward. I liked how it wasn’t the focus and developed naturally, but I also wouldn’t have minded a bit more focus on the romance. There were some really touching scenes towards the end and I liked the last part of the book enough to give this book a 4 star rating.