Book Review: Ecko Rising / Author: Danie Ware / Publisher: Titan Books / Release Date: Out Now
Like Andy McNab crossed with Deadpool meets Lord of the Rings, only with far more swearing (yes, even more so than an Andy McNab novel), Ecko Rising is the striking debut novel from Danie Ware. Self-confessed geek Ware also works at a certain Forbidden Planet, so we can be assured that her sci-fi and fantasy credentials are sound. On the basis of this work, hers is a voice to listen out for. Even if that voice does eff and blind a lot.
The titular Ecko (the 'G' is silent) is a skilful but cynical assassin, gifted with a barbed tongue and genetically modified body. Actually, the tongue isn't just barbed – Ecko can even breathe a little bit of fire. During what seems like a routine reconnaissance mission (or whatever passes for routine in Ecko's shiny sci-fi world, anyway), Ecko is almost killed. He awakens in a strange new world seemingly ripped from the pages of many a fantasy novel. Unsure whether this place is a construct of his own unstable mind or a creation of his adversary, Doctor Grey, Ecko must struggle to survive, escape and save the day too. It might be the anti-hero's first outing, but Ware certainly doesn't give the poor fellow an easy ride.
Ecko Rising is an admirably ambitious genre-bending novel, bringing us a memorable character in Ecko – likeable despite his flaws – and world(s) we can't wait to see more of. Ware's writing style is a joy to read, incredibly technical but personable and fun too, sounding delightfully English (in the same sort of manner as The Thick of It, if you catch my effing drift). If I hadn't been already, I was truly in love with Ecko Rising by the time the sentence “ain't exactly Minas fucking Tirith, is it?” was uttered. Like its main character, it delivers brilliant filth with heart. There's a lot packed into the book, and some will baulk at just how dense Ware's worlds seem to be; but most should appreciate what is a genuinely impressive exercise in world-building.
Ecko Rising ends with the promise of a sequel. On the basis of this very memorable piece of work, long may Ecko rise.