Review: Ecko Burning / Author: Danie Ware / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
Sarcastic and violent antiheroes are something that genre fans never seem to grow tired of, and Ecko, the titular hero of Ecko Burning, is a vicious, crazy and unpredictable lunatic who makes this novel a strange and yet brilliant delight. It also helps that the character swears in a constant yet entertaining way; the filth spouting out of his mouth matching the high octane action that fills the pages of the novel. Despite all this, Ecko is a sympathetic character; it’s a testament to Ware’s dense and relentless storytelling style that we can’t help ourselves liking this madman, even though at times he is quite repulsive.
Ecko Burning is the sequel to Danie Ware’s debut novel, Ecko Rising, and though it works okay as a standalone book, it’s (obviously) filled with spoilers for the first one. There are some familiar faces and though they do steal some of the limelight from the main protagonist, their relative sanity makes a nice change of pace from the larger than life central character. The central plot is a mash-up of fantasy and gritty science fiction genres, and the dissonance between the two reflects the madness of our hero in a clever yet easy to understand way.
It is yet another novel that both romanticises and criticises the city of London, and though there’s nothing wrong with that, it’s the scenes set in the fantasy world that are more interesting. Oddly, many genre novels set in England’s capital tend to dip into other world fantasy quite quickly; maybe there’s something about the city that makes novelists want to turn it into something different and more interesting. This is a dense and engaging read which keeps the reader hooked by stacking up one amazing thing after the other.
Ecko Burning is not a subtle novel; it’s violent, sarcastic, filled with nods and references to all things geeky and fun, and features perhaps one of the most scenery-chewing, over-the-top bad guys that we’ve seen in some time. Those new to Ware’s work are firmly advised to start at the beginning. There is of course a sequel planned for sometime next year, and we can’t wait.