I just re-read Echo Wife for the second time, and I can tell you, even though I knew the big reveals, I enjoyed it equally as much. The story is fast paced, and filled with unexpected twists throughout, wrapping up with a satisfying conclusion.
** Spoilers Ahead **
We follow Evelyn, a brilliant scientist, who constantly must remind herself, to not apologize for being who she is, not apologize for being smart, not apologize for knowing what she wants from life. She’s trailed by her pathetic excuse for a husband; who, when he can’t shape her with his passive aggressive ways; steals her science, to make a copy of her that is exactly how he wishes her to be. Of course it never works out as planned, especially when you’re a corner cutting copy-cat.
I’m not going to lie, I identified with Evelyn’s personality, and strength, and the way she thinks – on so many levels. As well as knowing intimately her feelings of dealing with weak, pathetic men in relationships…. The story lets us know that we’re in a reality when girls are taught we can be anything. But this isn’t really true. Men don’t actually want that, or to allow that. They definitely don’t want equals. Heaven forbid a woman be smarter, or higher up the chain of command. They Say they do, but we all know it’s a lie. And this is still true in Echo Wife. Evelyn is strong, driven, smart. And this is too much for poor, pathetic Nathan.
Knowing and walking Evelyn’s path, was a bit triggering to read for me, bringing up old memories, and feelings. Feelings no one deserves to experience. And yet Evelyn handles it all like a champ. She’s the bigger better person, and she keeps her goals her priority. She doesn’t let a pathetic man who nearly blows up her life – have that kind of power. Instead she covers up his mistakes, to protect her career. Her life is foremost in her mind – as it should be. Evelyn in the end, finds a solution that takes care of everything. And in the most unexpected way.
• Story pacing? Echo wife is non stop. But never moving so fast that you miss things. It is packed with intricate details, that fill out the depth of the story. 10/10
• Story character arcs? Our big arc, is Evelyn. Though I wouldn’t call her path so much of an emotional arc, or even intellectual. But more of a journey. I would say she’s a lot the same person at the end as she was at the beginning. Though she did grow, and I’d say there’s several things we don’t expect of her to do, that she does. 8/10
• Story arc? It’s definitely a story arc. A wild ride of events. 9/10
• Story writing quality? Always a fan of Sarah Gailey’s books. Have never been disappointed. Excellent writing, and fantastic story telling. Any story that can make my skin crawl, draw out visceral reactions, trigger me, make me feel along with the character: is well done. 10/10
• Story wokeness? ( tolerable / gag me) Nothing that applies. 10/10
• Grates against my annoyances? At times the characters of Nathan, and also Martine grated on my nerves…. But. This is a sign they were well written. They were meant to be the traits, that annoyed me. So not really a reflection in a negative sense, but it still on some level makes it harder to read when you’re annoyed by some aspect of the story. 8/10
• Grates against my annoyances? (fictional words) Not actually a fictional world, like traditional sci fi stories. Though we are at some point in the future when a human can be cloned quite quickly, and a cognizant humans brain mapped and printed into the new clone. So, no real use of fictional words or places. Not applicable.
• Story romance level? No romance in the sense of it. The story is Evelyns’ and she has just gotten a divorce from Nathan. We have a new relationship with Nathan, and his clone wife, Martine. But I would say it’s far from romance. There is a multitude of emotions within it. Martine hates him, but she also misses him and loves him, when he is gone. She’s relieved when he comes back, but yet, she also wants to kill him. This reads are pretty relatable to the human experience, if you ask me. But in the case of the book – no gratuitous sex scenes to fill a box. No actual sex scenes at all, that I recall. 10/10
• Story readability? Very easy to read and follow, even when they’re digging into the science-y bits of cloning and lab procedures. A perfect amount of being dumbed down for those of us who are not geneticists, while still feeling very much medical. A fun trick is that everything needs to be taught to Martine when she helps, because she literally knows nothing. So the exposition info dumps never even feel like it, for a minute. Expertly woven. 10/10
• Story Completeness (did it end on a cliff hanger, or a see my next book!)? I never got the feeling like there was anything left undone, for a next book. Perfectly complete, all plot strings accounted for, no cliff hangers. 10/10
• Did the story cover familiar ground, or go new places? I wouldn’t call human cloning a new idea. In fact many times this story reminded me of “The Island”, which I presume there was a book, but I only saw the movie. So many same pen strokes. A lot of déjà vu. But only for the clones. The rest of the story plot, was unexpected, and quite riveting. Didn’t remind me of anything I had seen, or read before. (And In that respect, I look forward to this getting made into a movie, assuming it does.) 7/10
• Was there anything I wanted to know that was left unanswered? In many respects, while the story did feel complete and with plenty of detail – it was quite a short story. I would have loved for it to be twice as long, and really dig into the details with more detail, fleshing out the moment along the way, building more into it. 7/10
• Things I really liked / or didn’t like? Evelyn’s strength. That when faced with a clone of herself with her ex husband, she helps Martine. That when faced with Martine’s baby and Nathan 2.0 asking her to help him raise it, she’s the bigger better person , and agrees, taking on literally 90% of the child’s guardianship, even though she doesn’t want children. The fact that not only is Evelyn ‘raising’ the baby – though really Martine is – that she’s taken the moral high path of creating a home and a family for herself, Martine, and the baby. All while progressing her science research, and application, never compromising her own needs wants, drives. And doing so with poise, and strength, despite everything. 10/10