Ecko Rising is a science fiction story that lands itself in a fantasy.
When Titan Books sent me a review copy of sci-fi meets fantasy novel Ecko Rising, I imagined a story that was much more subtle than the in-your-face story that I got. Successfully covering two very distinct worlds – one that involves high tech cyber science fiction the other containing a dragon-slaying fantasy universe – is not an easy thing to do. But Ware somehow pulls it off.
Ecko Rising stars a character only known as Ecko, a savage and cynical cybernetically-enhanced assassin who operates out of a high tech future London. After a job goes wrong, Ecko finds himself sucked into a world that is the exact opposite of that – this new world is a place where technology is replaced by magic – and centaurs. Ecko Rising is a classic fish-out-of-water story, but never actually feels like it, except when it does.
Let me explain myself – I was uncomfortable reading the first half of the novel. The two worlds are never more different than during those chapters when we first see the fantasy universe from Ecko’s eyes. Not only does it feel as if Ecko doesn’t belong there, but it almost feels as if the reader is unwelcome there, too. As Ecko starts coming up with an idea that none of it is real, the reader, too, will grasp solely to that concept. We do find out the truth of reality vs. fiction in the epilogue, but even that is left to speculation.
Ecko is the ultimate anti-hero. He is foul-mouthed and selfish and gets angry at himself when he realizes that he’s starting to care about the situations and people he’s been thrown into. Other characters are also as richly realized, such as Triqueta – a mighty female warrior, member of the Banned. It’s these characters that made me want to embrace this new world, real or not. I was pulled into by their stories as surely as Ecko was.
Ecko Rising also features a lot of action. Each chapter is packed with something the characters must figure out and overcome. Some characters lose their minds, some lose their lives, but none are untouched by whatever it is Ecko seems to be fated to fight. If you’re fan of series like A Song of Ice and Fire, you will certainly appreciate this.
Danie Ware has created something unique with Ecko Rising. With a successful blending (by not blending) two diverse genres, she has created a quality story that is difficult to put down.