Book Review: Bridgebreaker

Book 2 of the Echo Worlds Series

By Joshua Cook

The threat of Earth’s magical enemy has been averted, but far from being safe, the world must remain alert.  The world needs the Bridgefinders as much as it ever did.  But there is a problem, and the Bridgefinders don’t know how to fix it.  Even the newly recruited and mercurial Cendan Key doesn’t have the answer.

Perhaps they will need to consort with others in the world with abilities, those that the Bridgefinders have shunned for generations?  Can they take this step?

Against a backdrop of an impending invasion by an even bigger danger, the need for unity exposes gaping holes in the legions of Earth.  Old wounds heal slowly – or perhaps not at all – and even within the Bridgefinders themselves, jealousy now threatens the stability.

It is up to Cendan Key, a man who only a few weeks ago reluctantly consented to believe in the mission of the Bridgefinders, to unite the world against its common enemy.  But first he must master the abilities that naturally reside within him.  Does he have the time to succeed?”

As you will have gathered, this is the second book in the Echo Worlds series of novels.  In my view, this is a much stronger leg.  The first book really sets the scene and explores a magical combative underbelly to the world we currently reside in, and throws its reluctant protagonist into this secretive world.  This second novel really takes this premise, and throws the doors wide open.  It adds much greater depth to proceedings, and I for one really enjoyed this.

The Echo Worlds series explores a set of fantasy circumstances builbridgebreakerkindlet around our own modern day existence.  The basic premise is that magic is ‘real’, but that the ability to utilise it has been lost to the wisps of time.  However, there is also a magical entity in another “Echo World” who is fighting to gain control of Earth, and this enemy is locked in an eternal battle with the underground “magical” faction called the Bridgefinders – the guardians of Earth.  In the first novel, our protagonist is thrown into the world of the Bridgefinders by virtue of a key he has acquired.  He is somewhat reluctant as a player, but ultimately he steps up and does his duty.  Crisis averted.

Of course not.  This was always a series, so there was always going to be more.

Now, one of my observations on the first book was that proceedings were a touch predictable.  It was a good story, but at no point was I stunned by the turn of events.  So, how do we get on with this second instalment?

Much better.

I suspect that this surprise element has something to do with the fact that we are delving further into this interesting world, but regardless of how it’s done, the trajectory of this book is much less foreseeable – and all the more satisfying for it.  And core to this unpredictability is the fact that we now have a much less unified “front line”.  In book one, the friction came from Cendan’s reluctance to accept the Bridgefinders.  Here, now that he is inside, we see a much less unified group of fighters, and one that is withering fast, too.  Cendan has an almighty patching job to do.

And that’s if he’s allowed to in the first place, because the self-confessed “leader” of the Bridgefinders has a real problem with Cendan.  This lays the path for some really great conflict.

But beyond the Bridgefinders, we are now also introduced to a strange group called the ‘Shrouded’.  The Bridgefinders have known all about the Shrouded – lone-wolf and renegade users of magic – but they have also always dismissed them.  But Cendan is now thrown into their midst, and he finds much more than he may have bargained for.  This adds a whole other dimension to proceedings, which is great.

Some of the best bits about this book are the details we now uncover.  The magic system is explained much more thoroughly in this book (partly because Cendan now meets people who accept that it is magic!), and this is well thought out.  We also get some of the wider universal history, and this plays into the story which is great.  The entire experience feels far deeper as a consequence.

And in the background, our magical enemy is under threat from her own creation, and this story moves along nicely to crash together with events on Earth in a very busy finale.  Strap all this alongside a bubbling love triangle, and I think it’s clear that this book has something for almost everyone!

As with the first book, there are some nice characters here too.  Cendan is endearing as something of a geek, and the new female character adds a really nice fiery mix to the cast.  Marcus, the leader of the Bridgefinders, really shows us his true colours in this second instalment, and perhaps his trajectory is a little too strong to be believed – though I will put that down to the magical influence.  Even the Echo World enemies have their own character.  Great work.

Overall this is a strong second book in the series.  It carries far more depth than the first, and its unpredictability leaves you eager to read more.  A great read and I highly recommend it.

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