Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Echo Vol. 4: Collider

by Terry Moore

There are often moments in longer genre stories where the plot shifts, and what the reader thought that the book was about is suddenly revealed to be only partially true, and the storyline leads off into a new direction.  The best example I can come up with for this is Fear Agent (which finally finished this week), which started being about a drunk who handles infestations of alien races, and instead became a time-travelling soap opera of almost-infinite complexity.

Echo has one of those moments in this volume.  From its beginning, Echo has been about Julie, who got covered with an experimental alloy when she witnessed an explosion in the desert.  This alloy is giving her some strange abilities, and the people who work for the company that made it (HeNRI) are after her to get it back.  She is on the run with the boyfriend of the woman who was wearing the alloy suit when she was killed, and has also been pursued by a strange homeless guy who also is wearing some of the alloy.

With this volume, which puts us over the half-way mark, we learn a lot more about the alloy, its original intent, and the danger it poses if it is put through a super-collider.  We also learn a little about base phi mathematics, and we see the viciousness of the people pursuing Julie get ratcheted up a notch or two, as she becomes friends with Ivy Raven, the mysterious government agent that was originally hired to track her down.

The story has become a lot more complex than I thought it was at first, and with so much exposition, the character work falters a little.  The book is lacking from not having Julie and Dillon, the boyfriend, together.  I do like the way Ivy is written, although she is now missing a Warren Ellisian quality that she had when she first appeared.

Echo is a cool series that hasn't received enough attention.

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