- File Size: 2104 KB
- Print Length: 480 pages
- Simultaneous Device Usage: Unlimited
- Publication Date: October 1, 2017
- Sold by: Amazon Digital Services LLC
- Language: English
- ASIN: B075RRCZYT
- Text-to-Speech: Enabled
- Word Wise: Enabled
- Lending: Enabled
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,112,607 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
|Print List Price:||$12.65|
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Echowake Kindle Edition
|Length: 480 pages||Word Wise: Enabled||Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled|
|Page Flip: Enabled||
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Plagued by horrific nightmares that come true, the young courier Trede spends his life moving from place to place in hopes of outrunning his inexplicable curse. He carries a unique weapon that attracts the attention of the Cytech guild, who are convinced me must be a gifted inventor, not to mention a pair of rival Mystics, one of whom who wants to destroy Trede and the other of whom wants to use him as a tool for conquest. Along the way he runs afoul of a marshal who's sure he's up to no good, meets a strange creature who wants to be his friend, and faces down a barrage of swords and magic assaulting him from all sides for reasons he cannot fathom. "Echowake" has all the makings of an epic adventure.
But I have to downgrade it because as with so many indie first novels, the writing needs work. I'd probably score the book three stars at best in that category. The dialogue and the narrative passages just don't show the polish we expect of a practiced writer.
Yet--and here's the surprising part--the story was so amazingly good that I was willing to forgive the writing issues and eagerly read through to the end. I hope that Stevens will grow as a writer and that the sequel(s) will be more polished. I certainly want to read them!
The world building is expertly executed. I feel like future installments will point out how it is in Earth’s far flung future. If not, the world is still top shelf. The characters are vibrant and diverse. The cast includes a loner, a workaholic scientist, a curious outsider, a marshal, and magic warriors. All of them were great, but the standouts were Maej, Tenowon, and especially Traz. Traz is the token “alien” character. He felt like a mix of Chewbacca and C-3PO. As a Star Wars fan, I really took a liking to these characters.
The carrier whales were awesome. They are majestic beasts that humans have used to circumvent a dangerous world on land. The major cities are tied together by the migratory patterns of these animals.
There is a lot of action. I like it when my characters have to literally fight a lot. Echowake doesn’t disappoint in this regard.
I’ve already mentioned that the end felt rushed. Natural dialogue began to take a back seat to exposition and a rush to get some closure. The heroes mostly fail in their mission, but I’m sure this will be resolved in later books. It’s a shame. I liked the bad guys winning, but characters that acted one way at the beginning changed toward the end. Specifically, Trede and Cassidy appear to care about each other far more than the acquaintances they are. The have only known each other for about a month, but they are willing to lay down their lives for each other. Many characters behave this way. It seems like they were given strong familial or war comrade bonds that weren’t earned. You can argue some of the fighting could give this, but as a veteran, I say it wasn’t enough.
That leads to my other big issue. The main characters are too willing to fight the good fight on behalf of the planet. Maej and his wife (Orielle?) have to behave this way. They are stand out characters in their duty and power. However, Traz is essentially a tourist. He has no reason to be so curious in the affairs of humans. You may look past this as a cultural thing, but that uses up a lot of suspension of disbelief set aside for the other characters. Cassidy is a science geek. She did her job as a recruiter and probably isn’t up to the task of sticking around. Trede is the only one who tries to leave, but because he’s the McGuffin, he has no choice, but to hang around.
The book is well polished and edited, but it looks like a manuscript. The pages aren’t formatted for the words to line up. There are also spaces between every paragraph. This is a non-issue for me, but some people may find it distracting.
At the final scene, as the as the characters I had got to know stood together, pondering what the future would hold, I pondered it with them, and anxiously await book number 2. I am usually a horribly good predictor of endings in new movies and books, and it often takes the fun out of it for me. But this book managed to surprise me on more than one occasion.
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I was plunged deep into the world so unique and engaging I wasn't able to stop reading. There are flying whales (which are used as transport), cat-people (well, just one, but he is so worth it!), breathtaking landscapes, dark magical secrets, amazing steam-punk inspired inventions and much, much more.
The main character of the story is Trede, who I absolutely adored, because, ready for it? Trede is not very social!! How often do you get an MC who's very introverted and anti-social? Not that often to be honest, and I was so glad for it. It was so refreshing to watch him journey on, trying to warm up to people, trying to put himself out there in the world.
Trede's little group grows as they encounter villains and dark forces. I loved how all of the characters were strong headed and driven, either by curiosity or long-life goals. There are many twists and turns, and many action scenes definitely worthy of steam-punk fantasy.