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Twenty years following the disappearance of the infamous Ishiguro – the first manned spacecraft to travel deeper into space than ever before – humanity are setting their sights on the heavens once Under the direction of two of the most brilliant minds science has ever seen – that of identical twin br. My but this is a challenging book to review First though let me say this if you liked The Explorer then you should definitely like The Echo which takes the formula from the first book and refines it in every aspect resulting in a book that is much polished emotional and insightful than its predecessor Smythe s writing style is one that focuses on thoughts than on actions His narration jumps around from the immediate plot to flashbacks played out in character s heads to inner character monologues about the meaning of life The pace of his books is slow or if you prefer thoughtful However the plot is not the point of the book the book is a character study that just happens to be set in space and a very good one at that It s too bad that the pace might put off some readers who need super fast action in every breath This is not a uick read despite the book only being 300 pages You ll need time to read and chew on every chapterSmythe gives Mira the protagonist feelings of intense inferiority and intense jealousy that should resonate well with anyone who s ever found themselves in another s footprints and shadow But what makes Smythe s character so intriguing is how slowly his thoughts and feelings are revealed In fact Mira spends much of the first half of the novel trying to convince the reader and himself that he s not jealous and in many ways superior to his ever present twin brother Mira presents himself as very detached and clinical From a plot standpoint this is probably a really good thing because the experiences of the book emotionally shatter other weaker characters very uickly and the narration would have become tedious if Mira had done likewise Instead his scientific approach to the events of the book allows his inevitable decay to come slowly adding weight depth and much sadness I am impressed that Smythe was able to create a character who at the start of the novel is so cold and unlikable but by the end of the novel is sympathetic and tragic In an article written for Entertainment Weekly Stephen King famously said that Nightmares exist outside of logic and there s little fun to be had in explanations This sentiment perfectly encapsulates Smythe s approach to the plot of this novel There are many uestions left unanswered and I m not really sure I want any answers to them There s fun in mystery and science has a tendency to ruin the mystery with logic and explanations Stupid science Like I said before this book is a character study The fact that Mira is on an expedition to explore a space anomaly that ended the last voyage is merely a vehicle to add isolation suspense and horror to Mira s journey of self discovery The little bits of plot that do make it into the book are excellent and all kinds of mind bendy The images of the last thirty pages or so are particularly good and will stick with me a very long time I was worried about this little uartet of books after reading The Explorer But now after reading The Echo I am eagerly waiting book number three Well done Mr Smythe On a side note I actually think that this book would make a great companiondiscussion book to Hugh Howey s Sand Omnibus Both books deal with isolation family and self worth Both books are set in a very very hostile environment And while one book starts bleak and ends with hope the other starts with hope and ends with none The books are of similar length and I could see some really nerdy book club one that I would happily join dissecting the crap out of these two excellent novels

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The Echo

Hand picked crew are leaving nothing to chanceBut soon these two scientists are to learn that there are some things in space beyond our understanding As the anomaly begins to test the limits of Mira’s comprehension – and his sanity – will Tomas be able to save his brother from being lost in space too. It s been twenty years since the disappearance of the Ishiguro A new mission has set out to conduct research on the anomaly where the Ishiguro was last seen a vast area of nothingness in space There is a sibling rivalry between Mira and Tomas right from the start of their lives and throughout their careers Identical twins Tomas was born with a birthmark and Mira Mirakel was unexpected both looking towards science both over achieving Tomas is left at mission control on earth whilst Mira had the chance to see the anomaly in person This separation and professional reliance on each other is a red flag Something is bound to go wrongIt took me a while longer than James other books to get into Mira s lack of connection to the crew also distances the reader but I think what Mr Smythe does well are characters in isolation Whilst Mira might not be physically alone he does manage to be apart mentally and without giving too much away there are still parts that are very much about the loneliness and emptiness of space even though it is a different sort of novel to The ExplorerIn The Explorer Cormac became an observer of himself Here Mira becomes an external observer of the anomaly s behaviour not a participant Even in this he is distanced an outsider again Before the anomaly was a mystery completely unexplained This time they are setting out to discover what it isOne thing I enjoyed was the constant references to lack of sleep in the early parts I read this during the final stages of a 24 hour readathon so they had a certain relevance at the time Mira s determination not to sleep is probably the first thing that pushes him away from the rest of the crew He doesn t miss anything but they must sleep Even Tomas back on earth sleeps Staying awake puts Mira in a position of power over everyone else But what is the price of insomnia I rather wanted some conseuences to this but thinking back on the ending maybe that s what happens maybe he s just crazyThe Echo is another bleak book one that gives hope and then snatches it away Perhaps that is worse than never having hope in the first place It s an admirable seuel to the excellent Explorer which is a very hard book to beat Like all of James books there s plenty to ponder and return toReview copy provided by publisher

James Smythe ↠ 1 REVIEW

Others Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen – this space craft has a bold mission to study what is being called ‘the anomaly’ – a vast blackness of space into which the Ishiguro disappeared Between them Tomas on the ground guiding the mission from the command centre and Mira on the ship with the rest of the. Here s an excerpt of my review of The Echo at SF SignalFollowing in the footsteps of the phenomenal first book The Explorer The Echo rewards fans with answers to the anomaly located deep in outer space but then adds danger as the anomaly s strengths and mystery increase More than that though the story of its main character Mira is touching succinct and a perfect fit for a reader toe to toe in the battle between ambition and failureThe Explorer already uncovered a mind bending characteristic of the anomaly The Echo successfully doubles the mystery while still leaving plenty to discover in the remaining planned two books This is is the kind of science fiction horror that I crave I don t get this blend of science fiction mystery horror and emotion anywhere else


10 thoughts on “The Echo

  1. says:

    My but this is a challenging book to review First though let me say this if you liked The Explorer then you should definitely like The Echo which takes the formula from the first book and refines it in every aspect resulting in a book that is much polished emotional and insightful than its predecessor Smythe’s writing style is one that foc

  2. says:

    This was not uite as good as the first one but I still completely loved it I'm very curious to read the rest of the series when he gets around to releasing them He writes really well also He gets an amazing amount of information across about what he's not saying by what he is saying It's fascinatingSeriously I may have to start stalking and harassing him so that he'll write the other two ASAP Get your head out of the YA clouds

  3. says:

    I pretty much finish every book I start reading but I came very close to tossing this one than once I don't know who is to blame the author or the editors? The term that I keep coming back to for this book is stup

  4. says:

    This is masterpiecePeople who don't get this must be in the wrong loop And will stay in a loop until they reali

  5. says:

    This is uite possibly the most depressing book I have ever read The main character the narrating voice is a petty insecure and hopelessly inadeuate person whose accomplishments are completely and incredulously out of sync with the task to which he's been assigned The writer mercilessly and sadly rather elouently explores in infinite detail the conseuences this has for the mission and then subjects the reader to the incredibly slow paced ex

  6. says:

    Here’s an excerpt of my review of The Echo at SF SignalFollowing in the footsteps of the phenomenal first book The Explorer The Echo rewards fans with answers to the anomaly located deep in outer space but then adds danger as the

  7. says:

    What a great seuel to The Explorer Interesting dark well written mysterious and in the last third absolutely terrifying The Echo is the first book from James Smythe that I can give 5 stars to The problem was with me I had read all his novels but they were almost to dark and uncomfortable for me Not any Smythe just needs some time to rearrange your reading brain After that you'll be his for life Really great science fiction

  8. says:

    It’s been twenty years since the disappearance of the Ishiguro A new mission has set out to conduct research on the anomaly where the Ishiguro was last seen a vast area of nothingness in space There is a sibling rivalry between Mira and Tomas right from the start of their lives and throughout their careers Identical twi

  9. says:

    I absolutely loved The Explorer and though this book isn't directly a seuel it follows the events of The Explorer but can be read stand alone I highly recommend checking out the first book if you haven't yet The Echo is si

  10. says:

    Twenty years after the Ishiguro vanished two brilliant scientists have been asked to help answer the many uestions surrounding this d

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