“Echo:Approaching Shatter” is the debut novel by author Kent Wayne. The story is a science fiction novel set on a far away planet centuries after Earth was rendered uninhabitable. Humanities new home world “Echo” is a dystopia, split between “The Regime” a faction of fascists hellbent on controlling all of Echo for themselves and the “Dissidents” a little explained collective of rebels fighting back against the Regime.
The protagonist Atryia is a member of the Regime’s elite military unit called the Crusaders or simply the crew a terrifying squad of super-soldiers hopped up on steroids and amphetamines. Atriya however, is more complex than many of his crew comrades, showing an interest in old-Earth films and books and finding it difficult to balance his loyalty to the stagnated Regime and his interest in what once was. This is where the character of Verus comes in, a former Crusader now turned chaplain. She shows him a side of himself that he is afraid to explore and tears at his loyalty to the Regime with implications of a better future with the so called Dissidents.
The book is better written than I expected from a self-published work. I usually give up on most of the self published novels that I read but this one was a rare exception. To be perfectly honest the book sometimes suffers from what I personally call bad writing. For example characters showing abilities nearing Mary-Sue territory, “massacring thousands of the enemy” or being “freakishly strong.” These scenes are however broken up by other scenes of fantastic writing. This is especially true of the action scenes which are described in gory detail. Kent Wayne is a veteran of the armed forces and that goes a long way explaining the gruesomeness of daily life in the military as described by Atriya.
Where the book most shines is in the world building and descriptions of the military technology of the Regime, these descriptions are often quite long but that does not bother a fan of military and science fiction like myself. One of my main disappointments with the book is the short length and cliffhanger ending and I will definitely be picking up the second book in the series. I recommend the book to any hardcore reader of science/military fiction, other readers might find themselves frustrated with limited character development and short length.