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Review: Ecko Burning (The Ecko Trilogy Book 2) by Danie Ware

Hey everyone, I’m back with a review of the sequel to ‘Ecko Rising’ – Danie Ware’s debut and the first book in the trilogy. Yep, I’m talking about ‘Ecko Burning‘. 🙂

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After reading book 1, Ecko Rising, I knew that an important and inventive new storyteller had hit the vast-and-always-busy Spec-Fic scene – Ecko Rising would put Danie and her creation, Ecko, to the test –

– which both passed without a hint of effort, it seems. 🙂

‘Ecko Burning’ picks up after and slots neatly beside the ending of the first book, and quickly shifts into high gear, sowing plot-seeds that not only expand upon the events of the first book but also serve to add more background and ‘flesh’ to the characters introduced in the first book.

The principle character, Ecko, continues to be the star of the tale, and it is in this book that we get a much deeper sense of the conflicts raging within him as well as his reactions to what is happening around him. Danie makes an interesting and dangerous choice here – to leave Ecko effectively rudderless and confused, reacting to what’s happening around him, not having a clear idea of just what is happening around him. Why is it dangerous? Well, readers of SF and Fantasy will agree that, most times, the main characters have an idea of what’s going on, what their goals are, who it is they’re fighting or struggling against.

Taking a risk like can lead to a mess of a book as the characters struggle to find their place and purpose again, but it’s not what happens in this novel – Danie allows Ecko to explore, to confront, to hate, and more, which allows him to eventually make a choice that comes across as natural and unforced; and the choice leaves Ecko utterly changed, so he grows as a character, too. Ecko’s supporting cast are also put through the wringer, and there’s a great split-focus on them all. so the reader get’s that all-important look at their motivations and fears, even more so than in the first book.

Plot-wise, I was damned impressed – after the conflicts that the cast had to face in Ecko Burning I was really curious as to what would happen, and I’m happy to say that not only did the action and tension escalate, but more was revealed about the world and its cultures, adding yet more layers to the considerable world-building that Danie revealed in Book 1.

I have no-idea where Danie will take the story in the third book, and I’m happy to say that I trust her to do many awesome, memorable things with this tale. In two books Danie has proved herself a writer and storyteller of considerable talent, able to create unique characters that inhabit wonderful world-building, and I’m definitely looking forward to the finale and the surprises that Danie is sure to spring on us. 🙂

9 / 10

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To order your copies of ‘Ecko Burning’, click here for Amazon US, here for Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa. And check out Danie’s website here.

Many thanks to Titan Books for supplying me with an ARC – you guys rock!

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

 

 

 
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Posted by on February 3, 2014 in Reviews

 

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Ecko Burning – Release Day: An Interview with Danie Ware

Hey everyone! Hope you’ve all been epic or good at it! 😉 I’m back today with an interview for you – the first I’ve done in a very long time, and with a writer and storyteller that has been at the forefront of the UK’s SFF industry for many years – Danie Ware. 🙂

Danie

Danie day-jobs at Forbidden Planet and is in charge of the awesome retailer’s social media presence, organizing events such as book launches and author signings, and is also in charge of FP’s marketing strategy. But this might be news to you, because Danie is also the author of Ecko Rising and Ecko Burning, the first two novels in a trilogy that has been gaining rave reviews and generating controversy, too. I read and loved Ecko Rising (you can read my review here), and I’m most certainly looking forward to Ecko Burning. 🙂 As I’m sure many of you are, too!

And if you have no idea who Danie is, and haven’t heard of Ecko, where the hell have you been?! 😉 Seriously, though, here’s some info on the first two books of her trilogy. 🙂

Ecko Rising

In a futuristic London where technological body modification is the norm, Ecko stands alone as a testament to the extreme capabilities of his society. Driven half mad by the systems running his body, Ecko is a criminal for hire. No job is too dangerous or insane.

When a mission goes wrong and Ecko finds himself catapulted across dimensions into a peaceful and unadvanced society living in fear of ‘magic’, he must confront his own percepions of reality and his place within it.

A thrilling debut, Ecko Rising explores the massive range of the sci-fi and fantasy genres, and the possible implications of pitting them against one another. Author Danie Ware creates an immersive and richly imagined world that readers will be eager to explore in the first book in this exciting new trilogy.

Order your copies here from Amazon US, here from Amazon UK, and here if you’re in South Africa.

Ecko Burning

 

***BEWARE OF SPOILERS WHEN READING THIS BLURB***

Ruthless and ambitious, Lord Phylos has control of Fhaveon city, and is using her forces to bring the grasslands under his command. His last opponent is an elderly scribe who’s lost his best friend and wants only to do the right thing. Seeking weapons, Ecko and his companions follow a trail of myth and rumour to a ruined city where both nightmare and shocking truth lie in wait.

The book is available right now, so order your copies from Amazon UK here; it will be released in the US on June 3rd 2014 (pre-order here), and if you’re in SA, you could order your copies from Exclusive Books and start reading in a week or three. 🙂

Right, let’s get to that interview, shall we?

***

1) Would you please tell us a bit about yourself? Everyone in the UK SFF industry (and probably a good number in the US industry, too), know you through your day-job at Forbidden Planet – tell us a bit about the Danie Ware that most people don’t know. 🙂 )

I’m a forty-something single Mum, with a nine-year-old son of whom I’m very proud – and he’s been very patient with my writing, bless him! Other points of note: at thirteen, I went to an all-boys’ boarding school, then went on to read old school English Lit at Uni – lots of Milton and Chaucer. After that, I ran around on battlefields and hit people with swords for a decade or so. I moved to London in 2000 and I don’t really swear that much!

2) Were you always a storyteller at heart, or was it a need that gradually grew? Can you remember the first story you wrote? Tell us about it. 🙂

I’d’ve been about ten or eleven, I guess. It was a horse story (was learning to ride at the time, and ‘going through the phase’). I called it The Fire Saddle, wrote it all out by hand, PAGES of it, with maps and illustrations and cover art and you-name-it. It was absolutely honking terrible.

But, I’ve always been a storyteller, I think it’s a cathartic necessity. In the running-round-with-swords days, we all told our stories together, shared our worlds and realities and creativity – and a lot of Ecko is owed to those times.

3) In your opinion, do good writers make good storytellers? Or vice versa?

There are many different breeds of writer. A good copywriter is a different beast to a good novelist or a good journalist – though there’s no rule to say that a writer can’t be good at more than one discipline.

Good storytelling is about passion – about having an emotional involvement. The writer in you brings structure and narrative arc and all of that sensible stuff – but to be a storyteller, it has to come from your heart as well as your head.

4) Ecko is your unique creation – why him? What is it about him that made you want to write his story?

Though he originally had a different name, Ecko sprang into being, fully formed, one night when I was watching ‘Repossessed’. There’s a sequence where Linda Blair comes up off the bed, her face contorting, and snarls, ‘What crawled up your ass and died?’ and the entire concept, character and attitude, came from that moment.

He’s compelling because he’s not a character that reacts in half-measures. I never know what he’s going to be do next, and that makes him interesting. In times of frustration and anger, he’s been a deeply satisfying character to write. At other times, mustering his attitude has been quite hard.

Either way, his sarcastic sense of humour gave me slightly sardonic tone of voice that I needed to write about the fantasy world.

5) Ecko’s world and the world that he later finds himself in both have, for want of a better word, echoes of our own, yet are different and memorable – can you tell us a bit about how these worlds came to be? Did you create them and then fit the characters to them, or did the characters necessitate the creation of these worlds?

In our storytelling youth, our worlds and characters were created by osmosis – by a gang of us, sharing our visions and insights and foolishness. Pushing boundaries was what we did – we took the basics and played with them, we trashed and re-invented them. They grew organically and over time.

When I started writing again, I had to apply the editorial red pen – to make them work with the story. The addition of Pilgrim and Doctor Grey to the future London, for example, or the choice to base the fantasy culture on the cycling trade of a specific material – these things were new, and necessary.

The main characters, including Ecko himself, underwent the same editing process. Though there’s one, completely new, major character in Ecko Burning!

6) Many writers / storytellers are asked about the themes present in their novels – did you focus on themes in Ecko Rising? Did they grow organically or consciously?

The film ‘Run, Lola, Run’ shows how a tiny decision can change a whole pattern of unfolding events – a good visualisation for the ‘fractal reality’ theme. On one level, everything Ecko does is reflected throughout the pattern, and hence clearly visible – he can’t get away with anything. On another level, it brings with it the question of his freedom – is everything he does a part of the pattern and pre-ordained? Or is he free to move as he chooses and therefore change the pattern around him?

In its simplest form, this concept was built-in, right from the very beginning.

As the story unfolded, though, it came to encompass the pattern of the fantasy world itself – its Elemental and seasonal development, how the grass lives and dies, and the cycling patterns of the terhnwood trade.

I wish I was a mathematician, because I love fractals and I’d like to be able to draw it!

7) What can we look forward to in Ecko Burning? Have you upped the odds or gone for a ‘breath before the storm’?

Now that would be telling! I’ll say that you’ll find out more about the world and it’s culture and politics, how it works and how it can be taken apart. You’ll find out more about where centaurs other mythical beasties and come from – and what their agenda might be. You’ll see more of Ecko’s London. And you’ll hopefully meet a few surprises!

8) What is it about genre fiction that you hate, and what do you love?

I love how much freedom genre fiction has to express and explore – I love its scope and escapism, and the worlds to which it came take us. I get quite grumpy when those worlds all look the same, and all adhere to certain core concepts.

This is a bit of a hot potato at the moment – but I’m kind of pleased that Ecko’s been as controversial at it has. If it pleased everybody, I wouldn’t have written it right!

9) If a movie-trilogy was made of your trilogy, which director do you think would have the best chance of ‘getting’ Ecko?

Oooo that’s a hard one. I see Ecko as manga/animation – London done like Akira and the Varchinde like Ghibli’s Earthsea. I wouldn’t like to peg a Director to it, but I love the idea of the colours and the brightness and the contrast of one world to the other – or the filming sequences seen through Ecko’s oculars, complete with UV, IR targeting, or watching it move differently if his adrenal boosting kicked.

It would really underline the differences between the character and the world – and would look awesome!

10) If you had to pick one thing that you like most about your job at Forbidden Planet, what would it be, and why?

That’s an easy one – it’s being able to be a part of the SF/F community and to bring something to it that’s both meaningful and useful. It’s being able to host and attend events and to be involved in everything to such an intense degree. The presence of my son means that I don’t get to as many events as I’d like – so I’m waiting for him to be old enough to take with me!

***

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Remember, Ecko Burning was released today and should be hitting UK-bookshelves even as you read this, so get out there and get your copies! 🙂

I’d like to thank Danie for taking the time to answer these questions, and I’d also like to thank Sophie Calder at Titan Books who arranged this interview for me. 🙂 You both rock, thank you! 🙂 For more info on Danie and her fiction, check out her official website.

Until next time,

Be EPIC!

P.S. I’ll be getting stuck into Ecko Burning as soon as I receive my copy, so expect a review soon. 🙂

 
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Posted by on October 25, 2013 in Interviews

 

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Review: Ecko Rising by Danie Ware

Thanks to Danie, and Sophie at Titan Books, I received a copy of Ecko Rising, and as debuts go… Well, here are my thoughts.

Ecko Rising is a kickass debut, which doesn’t read like a debut at all. There’s a level of self-assurance in this book that most authors or storytellers achieve well into their careers, that kind of favourite=chair comfort with their writing that is practically invisible but so incredibly important to the reader’s experience. Most of the debuts I’ve read are hesitant and conforming, like a child stepping onto the playground of a new school, and there’s nothing wrong with that at all, don’t understand me wrong – it’s just that much more of an eye-opener when an author’s first published novel disregards the expectations that cling to the word and idea, ‘Debut’, and that’s exactly what I feel that Danie Ware did.

First off, and most importantly, the characters were engaging – Danie actually takes a risk by opening the book with someone who isn’t the main protagonist of the tale, giving us a glimpse of a guy who is hard, uncompromising and almost totally against authority. Ecko himself was great – obviously a SFF fan 🙂 Ecko’s cynicism, sarcasm and wit made him a character that I could identify with and cheer for – he was like one of those almost-lost case examples that has so much talent and promise that you can’t help feeling for the guy. There are plenty of other characters that you’ll meet in this novel – Triqueta (one of my favourites), Rhan, Roderick (a bit of a whiner in the beginning but swiftly grew on me), Maugrim (a mystery that I really hope will be explained!), and a host of others spread across the two worlds that the novel takes place in.

This is another aspect of the novel that -contrary to what I was expecting- totally worked; the future-London in Ecko Rising is a place that I really hope will be explored more in the next novel – there’s so much potential there! And the world in which Ecko finds himself was really, really cool – sure, there were only glimpses of places, but the cultures (such as the Banned) and the world’s history (tied into grass, if you can believe that, and it works!), the interesting and enigmatic mystery of The Wanderer, the ‘magic’ – all combined to show me a world that I wouldn’t at all mind being submersed in, reading wise. Even though there were glimpses of some places those glimpses still made me curious.

One of the things that Danie did incredibly well was creating two separate worlds that worked extremely well as representations of the genres they were exploring – the London we get a glimpse of is dystopian, dreary, controlled and scary (in what’s implied about the place), while the world Ecko finds himself thrust into had a sense of freedom and openess to it, beauty everywhere, but with glaring differences that heightened my descent, as it it were. This world is definitely one that I’ll remember!

Going back to Danie’s non-conforming, she goes all out is Ecko Rising – the violence is hectic in places, beautiful in others; the constant comparisons between Ecko’s world and the one he finds himself in serve to show what’s awesome and incredible about both worlds, as well as the darker aspsects, the underbelly, if you will. But it’s also incredibly funny to witness Ecko’s reactions and to hear his thoughts – he’s utterly lost, out of his depth, and because of what he’s been through this makes him a loose cannon, someone that can’t be controlled or predicted. He’s the kind of character that kept me on the edge of my seat, constantly wondering and guessing – and hoping that Ecko Rising wasn’t another re-tread of the Thomas Covenant tales.

Which is isn’t, at all. I haven’t even finished the first Covenant novel (I just can’t – it’s too dreary, too too, if you get what I mean) and I’m so glad that Ecko Rising wasn’t a Covenant all over again. 🙂

All in all, Ecko Rising is an incredible, confident debut, with an ending that’ll surprise everyone – it’s daring and brilliant, and I’m definitely looking forward to the next book in the trilogy. 🙂

9 / 10

To order your copies, click here for Amazon UK and here for Amazon US; the book will be available in the UK on the 28th, but if you want your copies today then you better head over to Forbidden Planet tonight – you can meet Danie, get your copy of Ecko Rising, and get it signed! 🙂 The book will be released in the US on the 11th of June, so pre-order your copies now. 🙂 And don’t forget to check out Danie’s website, and Ecko Rising’s booktrailer. 🙂

Until next time,
Be EPIC!

 
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Posted by on September 20, 2012 in Reviews

 

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