ECKSDOT Kindle Edition
An Amazon Book with Buzz: "Chosen Ones" by Veronica Roth
"A stunning thriller/fantasy/sci-fi chimera like nothing I've read before." - Blake Crouch Learn more
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I have a general rule that I almost never give up on a book -- I will almost always read a book all the way through. After all, there are some fantastic books that have taken me a while to get into (I'm looking at you, Lord of the Rings and Dune). Ecksdot is another book where that rule paid off -- not that I'm saying it's in the league of LotR or Dune, but I'm glad I stuck with it.
I was about halfway through the book when I went on a business trip, and I thought to myself that it was a pretty good book for travel -- interesting enough to keep going when I didn't have something else to do, but not so good that I felt compelled to stay up to read "just one more" chapter.
That changed at about the 60% mark, and I gradually found myself wanting to read a little longer. All of the things that had been built up over the previous 50ish chapters started to pay off. By the end, I found myself caring about the characters, and definitely had times I teared up. There are some clever, original ideas, and I always appreciate it when an author establishes ground rules for the physics/magic/etc for their universe and sticks with them.
And I appreciate the book showing that literature doesn't need profanity to be good, and that you can have content that requires maturity (thematic elements such as metaphysics, bullying), and you don't need so-called "mature" content (immorality). I'm going to suggest this book to my 11-year-old. I'm looking forward to the eventual sequel.
This is a great G-rated (no profanity, no immoral behavior). This is a great PG-rated book (some bullying and fights).
This is a great PG 13-rated book (death, metaphysical thought processing).
This is a great book (period—unlike J :^)
That being said, this book was fantastic. The author does an amazing job of laying out the rules of this (our?) universe as needed without getting boring. I feel like I have a decent understanding of how things work. The characters are flawed in a way that equally frustrates and connects you with them. I found some of myself in Nate (which I completely did not expect). The plot has a wonderful arc that gives enough detail and build-up without becoming laborious and comes to the climax and resolution in a satisfying way. I still have plenty of questions (some of which are immensely frustrating), but that's the nature of fiction in a series.
Tl;dr: this awesome ghost robot adventure story sucks you in and keeps you reading well past your bed time. I loved it and recommend any lover of YA fantasy/sci-fi/great books in general give it a read.
Nate is a brilliantly imperfect character and the opening chapters serve as a jarring introduction to the young man, abrasively dragging us through his most blatant as well as his more subtle flaws. And yet you can never dislike this kid, perhaps because he reveals many of our most common weaknesses as humans, and because he so clearly recognizes them in himself, even at such a young age, and they deeply concern and trouble him. Even without throwing in a delightful handful of ghost robots varying from the absolutely loveable to the consummately terrifying, this book would still be absolutely engaging as a piece of fiction in any genre so long as it still centered on Nate. I loved the Harry Potter series, but never through all seven of those books did I ever feel as connected to Harry as I did to Nate while reading Ecksdot.
Ecksdot himself, the main ghost robot of the story, as well as all his "Andbot" (as they are known) friends are also well-oiled, fine-tuned characters, as are most of the other characters in the book. Washburn doesn't introduce characters to serve plot functions. He is careful to always shape his plot around what his characters would actually do, because he knows them closely and cares deeply for each one of them. That said, the plot is fantastic. The story is strung through vividly described scenes, gripping action sequences, and thoughtful, realistic dialogue. Along the way he garnishes the pages chock-full of delightful allusions ranging from other literary classics, to contemporary pop-culture films, and even biblical motifs, citing them all with equal ease in a way that seems natural to how a child like Nate views the world: filtered through the entertainment he consumes.
Beyond the great story and majestic characters, however, lies what really sets this book apart from the competing pack of YA fiction: its variety of deeply developed literary themes, carefully massaged into a fine showcase of human contemplation. Washburn successfully ponders themes ranging from the power of hope and despair to the nature of sin and redemption to the human capacity for change. He full-heartedly embraces discussion of that increasingly prominent topical darling of the post-modernists, namely, the nature of reality, weaving that puzzle into the very core of his fictional world.
In short, if you are looking for just another young adult sci-fi/fantasy fiction or any generic enjoyable read, this is will do the trick and more. If you are looking for a fast-paced thriller regardless of the genre, this is for you. If you are looking for great character studies, this is definitely for you. And finally, if you are looking for something fun that you can also sink your intellectual/philosophical teeth into a little bit without your head hurting, this book should be at the top your list. Can't think of anyone who shouldn't at least give this one a try.