Synopsis (via Goodreads): In the late 21st century, humanity left Earth due to multiple resource shortcomings aggravated by an acceleration in climate change. They settled Echo, a planet that was nearly a carbon copy of Earth except for being devoid of all but the most basic life forms.
Fast forward 1200 years later. Echo has endured over a thousand years of dark age. Corporations and government merged early on, becoming the oppressive authority known as the Regime. Military and police merged into the Department of Enforcement, their only mission to crush the huge network of rebels known as the Dissidents.
Over half the planet is covered by decaying cityscapes and the elite live high above, removed and remote from the greater populace on the moon-city of Ascension. Hope lies in one man, a former Enforcer named Atriya. But before he can break the cycle of darkness and ignorance on Echo, he has to do it within himself.
Outlook: Wayne instantly had me by the opening chapters. His novel is fast paced, well written, and I know exactly where he is coming from with his characters.
Speaking in generalities, the stereotype is accurate for males where being a “military super soldier, delta force, black water private security bad ass” is the best job in the world. Politics aside, that is.
We are immediately dropped into the world of Echo, where Atriya begins another day of hard training. Seeing as this is the future, and humanity requires the best of the best, would-be soldiers are put through gruelling tasks. Pushing their physical capabilities passed natural limits, often requiring a “little help”. Gear, is what I’m saying. A bunch of super elite roid pigs with guns!
I often sat back in my chair, saying “Jesus…” or “Savage!” aloud, reading Wayne’s words regarding “Crew” training. Those who fail, are beaten severely by successful Crew graduates. All sanctioned and A OK’d by top brass. Being a Crew member was considered a great honour. Each member of the “Elevated Risk” team had to go through extreme mental and physical training, and it only got worse and more life threatening with every advancement. Wraiths, for example, were barely human anymore. The training killed thousands. In order to beat the Dissidents, only the best would do.
We learn about futuristic weaponry, ballistics, and mechanical suits. Physical enhancements are the norm, showing the populace that a Crew member has entered the room – and is not to be messed with.
The world of Echo is complex and vast. Wayne leaves most of the imagery up to the reader, which for me I enjoyed as I could picture his scenes, creatures, and armaments any way I liked.
We learn about the type of person Atriya strives to be, including his doubts and fears. He wants to be more than Crew, and is willing to die to prove it.
Volume 1 ends on a cliffhanger, as one could imagine.
Volume 1 focuses on plot, character, and scene development. Leading us into the fray for Volumes 2, 3, and 4.
Science fiction is my favourite movie genre, but one of my least favourite when it comes to novels. But, seeing as Wayne is a fellow WordPress writer, for $1 I would get hours of entertainment and could support a buddy. Because of that reason, this review is a bit bias, however I did finish it and will continue to read future volumes. If I don’t enjoy what I read, I always put the book down and move on, rarely going back to it. So, that should tell you something.
Wayne’s work can be purchased from his site, and the beginning chapters of volumes 1 and 2 can be read for free: https://dirtyscifibuddha.com/
Featured image courtesy of Kent Wayne