Cover image of Kent Wayne’s “Echo Volume 3: The Dialectic of Agony”
I’ve been following Kent Wayne’s (pen name) Echo series for a few years now. Kent is an indie author with a vision for life on and in orbit around a colony world called “Echo” set a thousand years in the future. Being a veteran, he renders military action with a keenly realistic voice, sometimes going over the top. After reviewing Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter over two years ago, and Echo Volume 2: The Taste of Ashes last October, I was anxious to get into the third installment, Echo Volume 3: The Dialectic of Agony.
“Agony” takes a very dramatic twist away from the first two novels. In “Shatter,” we are introduced to “Crusader” Kischan Atriya, an elite soldier who is becoming dissatisfied with his role as “Crew” but is unable to articulate why. He gets in deep with members of a despotic religious order who have ordered his death, and after a brief encounter with his mentor, the mysterious Verus, we follow him in a slow descent into what could be the end of his life, engineered by his own supposed allies during a mission into a “Scape.”
Volume 2 picks up right where the first tale leaves off, and the reader is thrust into an adrenaline-fueled power dive with wall-to-wall combat scenarios, the first half of the novel being non-stop action. Atriya manages to survive, thanks to his specialized enhancements, his own wits, and his unimpeachable sense of honor, but at a terrible cost to his body and mind. Having barely survived by the end of the story, he has few options left, all of them leading to tragedy and death.
Cover for Echo Vol 2: A Taste of Ashes
It’s been over two years since I reviewed Kent Wayne’s (pen name) military science fiction novel Echo Vol I: Approaching Shatter. I’ve had volumes 2 and 3 on my Kindle Fire forever, but just hadn’t managed to get around to reading them (so many books, so little time). But then, I hit just the right break in my reading schedule and inserted Echo Volume 2: The Taste of Ashes.
Echo I set the stage for the action in Echo 2, which is an adrenaline-fueled, supercharged, watch-the-body-count-rise, military “gore-fest.” No kidding, for nearly the first half of the book, the protagonist Atriya is constantly battling hordes of enemy Dissidents without a single break.
In the book’s Afterword, Wayne admits he probably could have shifted the scene a little bit or avoided describing, second by second, everything Atriya was going through in microscopic detail. My personal opinion is that he should probably just repackage Vol I and II as a single novel, since it would even things out a bit.
I’m not being particularly critical when I say this. I enjoyed the action, although there were times when, even with the Crusader’s advanced augmentations, he seemed more superhuman than any of his contemporaries.
So what’s going on?
Kent Wayne’s “Echo: Approaching Shatter”
I just finished reading Kent Wayne’s novel Echo Volume 1: Approaching Shatter. I knew it ended on a cliffhanger, but I didn’t realize it would be so abrupt. It was like slamming into a brick wall at sixty miles an hour.
I’ve been reading it on my Kindle Fire and the thing said I’d finished something like 86% of the book. When I swiped to turn the page at the end of a chapter, I was confronted with a message stating it was the end of the story and if I liked it, to write an Amazon review. The rest of the book is a preview of Volume 2: The Taste of Ashes.
Somewhere in the creation of my blog and writing stories, Kent Wayne took notice of some of the things I’d authored by “liking” them, and so I checked out and eventually followed his blog Dirty Sci-Fi Buddha. That’s how I became aware of his Echo series.
My understanding is that “Kent Wayne” is a pen name (Clark Kent, Bruce Wayne), and I recall reading one bio on him saying he had military experience but preferred not to give out details, making Wayne and what he did in the service a bit of a mystery. That may seem irrelevant, but I do have a point to make.
He does go more into his history on his blog’s About page, and Echo: Approaching Shatter definitely gives the impression that Wayne is mining his own professional experience.
I had a tough time getting into the novel. It’s not like I’m opposed to military based science fiction. I’ve read and thoroughly enjoyed Joe Haldeman’s The Forever War and Timothy Zahn’s Cobra, but that was decades ago. For about the first half of the book, I kept struggling for a handle or a hook and couldn’t find it. I didn’t know whether to even like the protagonist Atriya (and mentally, I kept pronouncing his name as “Attila”).