A review by Jade Hounsell
Ok….where to start with Echo City?? I could do what I usually do and give you a run down on the plot of the book, but the blurb on the back cover sums it up nicely:
“Surrounded by a vast, poisonous desert, Echo City is built upon the graveyard of its own past. Most inhabitants believe that their city and its subterranean Echoes are the whole of the world, but there are a few dissenters. Peer Nadawa is a political exile, forced to live with criminals in a ruinous slum. Gorham, once her lover, leads a ragtag band of rebels against the ruling theocracy. Nophel, a servant of that theocracy, dreams of revenge from his perch atop the city’s tallest spire. And beneath the city, a woman called Nadielle conducts macabre experiments in genetic manipulation using a science indistinguishable from sorcery. They believe there is something more beyond the endless desert… but what?
“It is only when a stranger arrives from out of the wastes that things begin to change. Frail and amnesiac, he holds the key to a new beginning for Echo City — or perhaps to its end, for he is not the only new arrival. From the depths beneath Echo City, something ancient and deadly is rising. Now Peer, Gorham, Nophel, and Nadielle must test the limits of love and loyalty, courage and compassion, as they struggle to save a city collapsing under the weight of its own history.”
Sounds good right? That’s what I though when I got Echo City, even saved it till last because I thought it was a winner. Boy was I wrong. I have to admit that the story is quite promising but it just takes so long for anything to happen; there are literally pages upon pages of people just walking around the city or through the Echos doing absolutely nothing. It was enough to drive me mad, but I kept persevering thinking ‘…this has to lead somewhere; Lebbon must have saved the good bits till the end….’ but nope, all I was left with was a very disappointed and what the hell was that all about kind of feeling when I finished it. Maybe if all the action and necessary explanatory parts of the book were pieced together then I would have a totally different viewpoint. It really is quite a rich and intriguing world that Lebbon has tried to build/create and it had such potential but, for me at least, it just falls flat.
Previously published in Dark Matter issue 5, September 2011. This blog has been pre-dated to reflect the date of original publication.