Just recently I finished reading Kent Wayne’s Echo 2: The Taste of Ashes and as I sat there for a moment, I marveled at the thrilling adventure that I’d just been on. For a few minutes I was unable to have any thoughts at all – I could just be.
Regarding the content of the book, it has improved drastically over Echo 1. He still brings a ton of character development, but it is solid with plot (even if the plot takes place over the course of a single day). At first I was hoping for more of a storyline rather than an over-extended event, but soon I realized that it was my own perception that wasn’t seeing the plot.
Kent’s technical skills have greatly improved in this volume as well. There are still short sentence fragments, but they are more evenly dispersed and feel more natural than they did in Echo 1. There is still a lot of swearing, but two things happened. 1) The situations felt like the swearing was more natural and warranted, and 2) By the constant repetition I may have become more desensitized to it. There were still places that it seemed a bit overbearing and much. Some places where it felt forced. But in the grand scheme of things, the swearing didn’t take away from my reading of the book, like it did in Echo 1.
Two other things I simply have to mention. First, it’s not often that a book does either of these to me but once I got sucked into Echo 2, I actually had a dream that I was there. Different storyline, but within the Echo universe. As a wild guess, I think the two other main characters in my dream were Atriya and Verus, but I can’t be sure. The other thing I wanted to mention was that one day at work I felt like EVERYONE was gunning for me. I could have just sulked and screwed around but I found myself thinking “What would Atriya do in this situation?” And so I did my best for these people who were painting my back with a bright red target. What in the world?! Atriya helped me to be a better person. Atriya, man. Atriya.
In conclusion, I’d recommend this book to people interested in nonstop action, military sci-fi, and for those who are not turned off by gratuitous gore/violence and swearing. I’d suggest powering your way through Echo 1 first, and finding the beauty within it before picking up volume 2. But you’ll do yourself a disservice if you let Echo 1 chase you away.
You can visit Kent’s blog here and find his updates, purchase links, and such.