Tuesday, 19 July 2011

Book Reviews


Echo City
Tim Lebbon
Orbit

Available Now - £7.99 (Paperback, Digital Download)
Review by Brad Harmer

Surrounded by a vast, toxic desert, the inhabitants of labyrinthine Echo City believe there is no other life in their world. Some like it that way, so when a stranger arrives he is anathema to powerful interest groups. But Peer Nadawa found the stranger and she is determined to keep him and the freedom he represents alive.

A political exile herself, she calls on her ex-lover Gorham, now leader of their anti-establishment network. Then they recruit the Baker, whose macabre genetic experiments seem close to sorcery. However, while factions prepare for war, an ancient peril is stirring. In the city's depths something deadly is rising, and it will soon reach the levels where men dwell.

Echo City is the perfect example of an original, distinct fantasy world that then finds itself filled with characters that you honestly could not give a toss about. The landscape is great, the setting amazing, the whole universe is one that I loved...so why the hell was I following these characters?

The characters aren’t especially boring, along the line of K.J. Parker’s seemingly never ending stream of bankers and accountants, but none of them are especially likable; and there lays my main problem with Echo City. It’s a great idea done badly. There are a few other faults there – the description/scene-setting often leaves a bit to be desired, and you’re frequently left half-guessing connections or what the frequently name-dropped establishments actually do, but those things could have been forgiven if the heroes had been entertaining...but they’re not.

The Emotionally Fourteen Rating
Violence:
Occasional, bloody and descriptive.
Sex/Nudity: Some partial nudity.
Swearing: Frequent and mild.
Summary: There are some clever ideas in here, but the lazy description and lack of explanation will leave you confused and bored by the half-way mark. 5/10

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