Book Review: Echoes

20522073Twenty-three-year-old Adem Adamend has it rough. His name is ludicrous. His friends are few. And the only thing his “kid genius” status has gotten him at the Interdistrict Bureau of Intelligence is a boatload of extra work with no credit in sight. Then hotshot lawyer Victor Manson is burned to death in his own back yard, and Adem finds himself using his unique skills to piece together the strangest crime he’s ever seen. Strange because the only possible suspect Adem can pin the murder on…is a mythical beast. A dragon.

Before Adem can unravel the mystery of Manson’s death, the Bureau loses jurisdiction to the secretive EDPA, an organization that investigates weird and deadly events. But Adem isn’t one for giving up, so he takes it upon himself to delve deeper into EDPA’s machinations, into the series of unfortunate events that led to Manson’s demise.

And what he finds may change the way he views the world — and himself — forever.

Ashley | How often do you come across something that isn’t a straight up fantasy book but features a dragon as a primary element? Echoes by Therin Knite is more of a sci-fi, dystopian whodunnit than a fantasy novel, featuring people who pay good money to modify their bodies to extremes and have some pretty high tech gadgets that allow them to do some pretty amazing things. And a dragon, did we mention the dragron?

Echoes had us right from the get go just by mentioning murder by dragon. But that’s just where things start, the rest of the story takes flight quickly as boy genius Adem Adamend chases a case, runs from assassins and slowly discovers that his gift for seeing a crime scene unfold is really just the tip of a far more complex iceberg.

The concept of fighting crimes in reality and drifting into a dream world isn’t new, this could have easily been a kind of Inception rip off, but it wasn’t. Any comparisons between the two are quickly shot down and Knite tackles the theme in a unique way that is all his own.

Knite comes on strong with his debut novel, there’s some really beautiful writing throughout and a lot of the descriptives are very detailed and colourful. There’s a very interesting way that Knite phrases certain things that we love, the way comparisons are paired seems a little awkward and forced at first but they are blended together so carefully that it works and after reading it, you’re left with a resonating cleverness and a sense that somehow someone has pulled one over on you.

Knite prides himself in being “50% Dark, 50% Snark” and you really see that in this novel. It’s easy to mistake Adamend as an extension of who Knite seems to be, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Both are strong and amusing characters that you want to see more of.

The only shortcoming we found, which is sort of a big one but can be somewhat forgiven for a debut and independent novel, is that we wish there was a bit more focus on the futuristic components.  It’s very easy to see that Knite has an active and beautiful imagination; we would have liked to see that let loose and really exploit this futuristic dystopian world.

But as far as debut novels go, not to mention a novel that seems pretty independently done, it makes for a pretty adventurous, clever and quick read. Oh, and the cover art is awesome.