Hi friends! I received an ARC of this book from Tor Books and NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This book won’t be published until February of 2021, but feel free to read my spoiler-free review and add it to your list if you’re interested! Although I received this book for free, all thoughts and feedback are my own.
Synopsis & Quick Thoughts
The Echo Wife is the newest novel by Sarah Gailey and tells the story of renowned scientist Evelyn Caldwell. Evelyn’s wife, Nathan, has been cheating on her…with a clone of herself. Now Nathan is dead, and the two have to figure out a way to work together, or risk ruining everything.
I had never heard of this novel before I came across it on NetGalley, and the synopsis was so strange as to immediately pique my interested. I’m SO GLAD I got to read this book. It was unique, clever, thought-provoking, and just a really ride. I think that the timeline this book chose to cover could have been expanded to have more of a punch, but all in all this was a great way to end my October TBR list!
The Echo Wife does science fiction to my tastes. A number of science fiction novels are a miss for me and I’m a little cautious when selecting books from the genre. This novel is very light on the unbelievable qualities that sometimes are prevalent in sci-fi, and instead uses existing scientific terms and ideas to make the fictitious parts of the story seem more realistic (sort of akin to the way Any Weir writes, which I greatly enjoy). This allowed me to become more absorbed into the story and think about the moral questions posed, as opposed to getting caught up in my suspension of disbelief.
Each of the characters was morally grey and I loved how my feelings about each of them shifted over the course of the plot. Gailey does well to ensure that each of her characters have a great amount of depth and dimension, and there where points in time where I greatly disliked each one of them. At the same time, she doesn’t make them so dislikable as to not have moments of fondness or understanding between the reader and each character. I could understand the motives and feelings of each character even when they had opposing views, and I think that’s a really complicated and advanced thing to be able to accomplish. Gailey does it really well.
The Echo Wife is thrilling without being scary, intelligent without being pretentious, character-driven without being slow, and thought-provoking without being exhausting. A number of the themes and writing choices made in this book can be detrimental to the story if executed incorrectly, but I was thrilled time and satisfied time and time again.
I have two small critiques that only marginally took away from my enjoyment of The Echo Wife. I’m not sure that changing the plot to accommodate these things would improve the book, per se, but it would be interesting to see how they would affect the impact of the novel overall.
For the length of time this book takes place over, Evelyn doesn’t appear to show a lot of growth. It’s understandable that the ideals she’s held and grown up with over the course of her life would be ingrained in her and relatively hard to change; I’m not even saying she has to. In fact, her not changing says a lot about her character. I just wish that there was less repetition when it came to how she viewed Martine at times. It occasionally made the story drag.
The biggest change that may be interesting has to do with my expectations for the book before I began reading. I thought the plot the novel would encompass would include Evelyn discovering her husband’s affair, but as the novel starts we are already aware of this aspect and Evelyn has moved out. I think starting the novel earlier in time and including these developments could have added more tension to the plot, but all-in-all I enjoyed so much about this book.
Rating & Final Thoughts
I’m so happy that The Echo Wife is another 4 out of 5 star read! Definitely add this one to your list for 2021. Even if you aren’t a science fiction lover, I would really consider this one, especially if you enjoyed the informative prose of The Martian or Jurassic Park like me!
Preorder The Echo Wife by Sarah Gailey here.*
*as a reminder, I am an Amazon affiliate and make a small commission off of purchases made using my link.