I went into Gailey's new novel, The Echo Wife, with a big expectation for yet another immersive, wonderfully detailed, fictional setting. I was not catered to. There isn't any real world-building in The Echo Wife because, well, there's no world to build. It already exists. It's our own ... Once I got over my initial bout of pouting, though, I gave myself over to Gailey's latest exercise in character-driven speculation. And I was happy I did. Gailey is an ace at constructing clean, clear plots, and The Echo Wife is no exception ... The Echo Wife is a thriller at heart, but it takes its time, building suspense gradually ... From the snap of its dialogue to the torque of its twists, the story positively glows ... Cooked right, science fiction and murder mysteries taste great together, and Gailey layers those ingredients together with a chef's kiss. The technology behind cloning isn't deeply detailed because, honestly, the book doesn't need it ... Gailey nonetheless builds one of their most daring worlds yet — the massive, internal world that forms between two people linked by secrets, lies, hatred, and love.
... a phenomenal, creepy, significant novel—but it’s a hard read, and wrestling with its implications is harder. The twisting, remorseless plot seamlessly combines domestic thriller with cutting-edge science fiction, dragging the reader along as the Caldwells’ secrets are unearthed one at a time. Sarah Gailey’s incisive prose lends to the suffocating atmosphere that pervades the book, maintaining a heightened state of discomfort that is magnified by thematic explorations of spousal abuse, cloning ethics, and straight-up murder ... I can’t overstate the importance of Gailey’s handsome, precise use of language ... a brilliant, scouring novel that left me productively upset and unsettled. Grappling as the story does with abuse and trauma; with questions of how much our desires are created through those experiences; and with problems of control and consent…to do less than cause profound discomfort would, I think, disrespect the seriousness and complexity of those issues.
... a unique, thrilling adventure, with truly unexpected twists and turns the whole way through. Lovers of science fiction will no doubt delight in the intricacies of Evelyn’s work laid about by Gailey, who also crafts a compelling tension between Evelyn and Martine as they work to find common ground ... At times the plot feels a little slow, but on the whole, Gailey has created an enjoyable, edge-of-your-seat tale that will keep readers on their toes.
... a science fiction-inspired domestic thriller that upends the tropes of cheating husbands, angry wives and pliant mistresses and turns them into something far more ... endlessly compelling, but it’s definitely a thriller that you need to enter a bit blind. Luckily for you --- and thanks to the author’s expert command of her plot --- even the summary above provides only the barest of details about this rip-roaring, razor-sharp powerhouse of a book. Sarah Gailey not only completely upends the cheating husband trope that has gained popularity in recent years, she pushes it to its limits, highlighting the power of good, speculative fiction and reminding readers how the right author can make a trope feel fresh and original. By setting her domestic thriller in a science-fiction world, she opens up the discussion for tricky questions about human creation, ethics, self-preservation and the idea of nature versus nurture. With Evelyn leading the way for her naive, new-to-the-world clone, the narrative takes on a bizarre but heartfelt mother-daughter dynamic that adds yet another layer to this complex novel ... The ideas of motherhood via weird science and female partners in crime teaming up against a shortsighted man are, quite simply, exhilarating, but what I found most intriguing about the book were the commentaries on sexism, misogyny and abuse ... the comparisons Gailey draws to ways that abuse conditions and traumatizes brains are some of the best breakdowns of abuse that I have ever read ... a breathtaking and fascinating thriller with just enough of a sci-fi edge to keep you on your toes. Don’t let the science scare you away. This character-driven novel is about so much more than genes and DNA. It’s about the emotions and ideas that keep us human, and how systemic inequalities can tear us apart.
Gailey has done it again, creating an utterly unique sci-fi thriller. Equal parts unsettling and unputdownable, readers will cringe as they tear through this eerie tale, unable to look away from the ethical monstrosity ... Gailey provides an incredible amount of food for thought here. Subtly scary and hauntingly realistic, Gailey has written with a quiet horror which slowly settles in, scratching at the back of the reader’s brain long after the last page has been turned ... sure to be a genre-bending hit in early 2021 with fans of speculative fiction and thrillers alike.
... a fast-paced, page-turning science fiction thriller delving into a deeper discourse about the very essence of our individuality. Like a modern retelling of Frankenstein set in a near-future not so different from our own time, The Echo Wife explores the conflict between predestination and individual choice ... Ultimately, these are characters who fight against predetermination, and Gailey seems to clearly come down on the side of nature over nurture—the uniqueness of an individual cannot be suppressed.
... a solidly written novel that gains more of its strength from the voice and conflicted character of its narrator than from its rather plot-contrived version of cloning technology ... Gailey maintains the lively and efficient pace of a good thriller. What mostly distinguishes The Echo Wife is Evelyn herself ... Evelyn’s own narrative voice reflects both her brilliance and her vulnerability. In terms of its SFnal content, the novel may not offer much that is new, but as a portrait of a character forced to literally confront herself for almost the first time, it’s pretty compelling.
... a razor-sharp psychological thriller ... twisting thought experiment about both the creation and the humanity of clones. Evelyn is a fascinating character, a brutal, practical scientist who often grates at the reader with her stubborn refusals to apologize ... a slow burn, but the emotional intensity simmering under Evelyn’s skin and the revelations that spin out of the plot are well worth the investment. Gailey’s expertise with suspense and their success in presenting the reader with impossible choices about the ethics of cloning, biological programming and editing, and of Evelyn’s specific, difficult situation, will leave the reader thinking about the novel long after the final page.