Today, Jay and Kris are continuing their Buddy Review of Hailey Turner’s fabulous Soulbound series. An Echo in the Sorrow is the sixth (and second to last) book in the series and continues a series-long storyline, so you are best to start at the beginning with this one. This review will also naturally reveal some plot points from earlier books. After an overview of this story, check out Jay and Kris’ chat about the book!
After the events in London and Paris, Jonothon de Vere and Patrick Collins are now dealing with trouble closer to home. Their pack is continuing to face aggression from the other New York god pack and things are escalating. As more local packs come to Jono and Patrick to get away from Estelle and Youssef’s violence and poor leadership, the god packs find themselves increasingly at odds. Things are made even more complicated by the fact that Patrick is still keeping his role as a god pack alpha hidden from those he works with as a special agent for the Supernatural Operations Agency. But as attacks from the rival pack escalate, causing disruption and death on the streets of New York, it is becoming impossible to continue to walk the line between his dual obligations.
Estelle and Yousself were dangerous enough, but as series of alliances is making them stronger and more deadly, particularly when the Dominion sect gets involved. And when Patrick is framed for murder, it risks putting him out of commission, as well as leaving Jono vulnerable when it matters most. As the situation between the packs becomes more dire, it will take everything Patrick and Jono have, as well as the strength and support of their allies, to defeat the threat before they lose all they have built.
Jay: So here we are at the 6th (and penultimate) installment of the Soulbound series! I can’t believe we are so close to the end!
Kris: I am both super excited and dreading the end. Both because I’m anxious about what Turner’s going to do, but I also can’t wait to see how it all ends.
Jay: Yes me too!
Kris: And since these are such long books, even though there’s only one more, there’s still a lot of story left to go.
Jay: Yes, very long, lol!
So, over this series we have been setting up two separate (but somewhat interrelated) plot threads. Once is the escalating conflict with the other New York god pack and the other is the issue of Ethan and the Dominion Sect. In this story, I think Turner makes a smart move and focuses primarily on the god pack side of things, giving resolution to that storyline and clearing the way for the final showdown with Ethan in the last book.
Kris: My thoughts exactly. At the same time, while the other NY god pack IS the main focus, the conflict and resolution with them, and all the things Patrick, Jono, Sage, Wade, and the packs under their protection go through, still builds on and sets up the final showdown.
Jay: Yes, agreed. This is definitely not a detour. But I think it was helpful to give tie things up with the god pack here so we go into the next book being able to focus on the big stuff with the Dominion Sect.
Kris: Especially since it sets up Jono with a much more solid standing. It was a rollercoaster for him. Since he was infected at 17, finally getting a pack with Patrick, bringing in Sage and Wade….It was an absolute journey. And I was so glad to see him finally where he should have been all along. Jono’s heart is huge, and he’s a good person. But he’s not above being ruthless to get things done, when the occasion calls for it. He’s been showing us this, bit by bit, throughout the series, and he really nails it in the end here.
Jay: Yes, totally agree. I liked that this really showcases Jono’s journey since so much about the story focuses on Patrick.
Kris: The god pack story also brings out the conflict for Patrick with regard to his job. He has been keeping his role in the pack secret, but he can’t straddle that line forever, especially as things escalate. But I think the time was right for him to be able to step out of the shadows with regard to the pack.
And to be honest, I was relieved for Patrick that so much was brought into the light. He’s spent his life lying to survive, and though it’s going to be a shift for him, now that he doesn’t have to anymore, I agree with you that it was exactly what needed to happen. And it’s the only way he can move forward and finally do what the gods tasked him with.
Jay: Yep, I totally agree. Shifting gears a bit, I think this story also really highlights the bond between Patrick and Jono. As with every book, they are really tested here. But now that Patrick can stand up by Jono’s side, we see all the more how they rely on one another.
Kris: It’s been growing with every book and that’s a testament to the author. Their relationship hasn’t been stagnate. And they’ve hit bumps and roadblocks along the way. But now, Patrick can openly support Jono without fear of being discovered. Patrick was ready, I believe, but this last thing was holding him back
Jay: Yes, exactly. I love the two of them together and I really enjoy watching them grow in their relationship.
And speaking of people I love, I kind of fall in love with Wade (their teenage dragon shifter ward) a little bit more each book. Of course, he is comic relief with his constant eating, but my favorite parts are the fierce Wade. He has really grown into his own, after suffering so much abuse. He has confidence and I love when he gets all protective over his pack. He is so much more than meets the eye, I love it when he steps up and shows everyone they better not mess with his people.
Kris: My favorite bit of this book was how he was showing his support to Patrick with offers of food. For Wade, that’s the ultimate love language. And when, at the end, he told Patrick he was going to get him cupcakes from the new bakery by his apartment, my heart melted a bit. Wade has grown so much, and that’s down to Patrick and Jono’s support to allow him to heal and support him unconditionally. Wade is a delight in a lot of ways, and I simply adore him.
Jay: Yes! The cupcakes! You are so right, that was Wade’s way of comforting Patrick. He has just turned into a really interesting character and I love that even as a side character, he has so much of a character arc.
Kris: Absolutely! After Patrick and Jono, he’s got the biggest arc. The other secondary characters, while necessary and important, don’t have as much growing and changing. Though Sage is also a favorite of mine. She’s badass, with a soft heart, and she really is the perfect dire to the pack.
Found family for the win!
Jay: Yes, she is a balance of mothering and caretaker, but also terrifying and strong and a badass.
Kris: That sums her up perfectly!
Jay: So speaking of side characters, here is one of my issues with this story. Soooooo many characters showing up here. I found it overwhelming keeping track of everyone and it kept pulling my focus as there was yet another character brought in. It wasn’t just because some of them were mythological beings I didn’t know (and actually most folks appeared in prior books), it was just sheer volume. Trying to keep track of who everyone was, where their alliances were, and how they interconnect got to be a lot for me.
Kris: I can see that. There are a lot of characters and they keep popping up. In a way that’s good, but also, you said it with sheer volume. It wasn’t quite as bad for me, and I have a stupid good memory for these sorts of things. But it also helped that I recently listened to the first five in audio, so a lot of it was fresh. If you haven’t done a reread recently, it’s easy to get mired down in all the characters.
Jay: Ah yes, that would definitely help. And yes, I just felt like I was spending so much time trying to figure out how everyone fits in. Is this person on their side or against them? Are they fighting with this other god, or are they allied? When did we meet them again? It just became too much for me. I feel like things could have been pared down and still worked for the story, especially when characters only appear for a scene or two.
Kris: Mhmm. I have to agree to a degree. There are definitely certain scenes/exchanges that could have been done with a different character readers are more familiar with. Not to mention, there’s a few that pop up that don’t necessarily get a resolution, so it’s a question as to why they were there in the first place
Jay: So my other issue, which I think is both good and bad, is that there is a LOT that is happening here. The pacing is pretty much at frenzy level the whole book. Which adds a lot of excitement for sure, and Turner is so good with the conflict scenes and building the tension and suspense. But unlike other books that had more of a rise and fall, this one seemed like near constant conflict. I felt like every time they walked into a room, it was another attack, another conflict, another crisis.
Kris: It was for sure. But I felt it was necessary for this point in the story. This book was a lot more character driven, even though there was constant conflict and Turner’s trademark fight scenes. While there wasn’t a lot of time to decompress in between with this book, I also felt it was the right choice. It was intense, but it had to be in a lot of ways. Everything came to a head, which sets up the final book. So while it was constant, I was on board. I did appreciate that it ended on a much easier and very happy note though.
Jay: Yep, things tie up well here, while also setting things up well for the final showdown.
Kris: Which should come out in October so there’s only 7 months to wait!
Jay: OMG! 7 months!
Anything else that you want to add that we missed?
Kris: I think we hit the high points. Otherwise, this would turn into an all night long discussion and far too much to post on the blog!
Jay: Ok, so ratings. I am going to give this one a 4 star. I really enjoyed it, but probably my least favorite of the series for the reasons I mentioned. But still great.
Kris: Which is funny, because it was definitely one of my favorites in the series! I am so invested. For me it was 4.5 stars
Jay: I am really curious how much impact relistening had on you. We were obviously coming at this one from different places since I have only been reading them as they release and maybe that played a role. Either way, glad you enjoyed it so much!
Kris: I have to think it did. Though this isn’t an audio review, they are outstanding listens. So having everything fresh in my mind from a recent listen to them all, plus the performance, may have upped my enjoyment of the book. Though I can definitely see where your observations and rating came from.
Jay: Yes, Elizabeth has been reviewing them in audio for us and I know she is really enjoying the series as well.
So I guess that wraps things up! Great buddy reviewing with you again and can’t wait until the final showdown!
Kris: That’s a date for the fall then!