Titan Books, out now
Actions have consequences – even if you don’t believe in the reality of what’s around you…
Danie Ware’s second tale of Ecko – a man from a dystopian future caught in a fantasy world whose existence he denies and believes is purely a computer simulation – takes everything that works from the first book, and ramps it up. It feels as if we spend less time with our profane protagonist in this novel than we did in the first; Ware created a rich group of characters whose various journeys we now follow as they discover that they may have solved one problem, but have far worse to face.
We also get a couple of “interludes” set in the London of the all too believably near future, establishing firmly for the reader that Ecko is not imagining everything, as one of the key characters finds himself, and some of his friends, in our world – and uses that to his advantage (well, advantage may be overstating it a little).
Ware’s writing is more fluid this time; occasionally in the first volume, it felt as if she was pushing us to believe in the worlds she was creating, rather than letting the readers fall under their influence. It’s a harsh world but there are moments of beauty and I’m pleased that certain necessary character developments happened now, rather than in the final book of the trilogy.
As with so many middle books of a trilogy, this cannot be entirely stand-alone, and I would recommend new readers to start at the beginning, but for those of us who enjoyed Ecko’s opening salvo, this fulfils the promise that book held.
Verdict: Ware juggles multiple plotlines skilfully to provide a satisfying sequel. 8/10