Series: (Species Intervention #6609, #2)
Author: J.K. Accinni
Publisher: Skinny Leopard Media
Publication Date: August 26, 2012
Reviewed by: Books4Tomorrow
Source: Received from author
My star rating: 5/5
Netty’s influence transcends a full century as the United States evolves to a point of politically driven economic collapse. The year is 2033 as a young mother, abused by her shiftless husband, heroically decides to remove her two sickly children, Scotty and Abby, from the mean streets of their government subsidized tenement town of Short Hills, New Jersey to the hills and old farmland of Sussex County. There they unite with a Latino family that adopted Jose, a young boy from Costa Rica, traumatized at the age of seven by the brutal murder of his parents and the kidnapping of his infant sister.
The two families unite to pool finances, creating the love and bonds that will enable them to survive the psychotic attention of Armoni, a soul damaged beyond redemption, discovery of Baby’s miraculous offspring, Echo; and their subsequent body changes. Through the efforts of Echo who develops an unexplained passion for the curly haired dog, Barney, they flee the clutches of Armoni after the murder of Armoni’s sidekicks by Echo, to Sarasota, Florida, one of the last remaining enclaves of wealth in the U.S.
Scotty learns to utilize Echo as a co-conspirator in his intrigue to thwart the efforts of heinous people that prey on the lives of creatures in their environmentally rich new home, where the insidious miscreant, Armoni, tracks them; dragging along Ginger Mae, a New York City prostitute looking for opportunity with her mute child, Daisy; bringing brutality and violence to all.
Having fallen in love, the young Abby and Jose draw close, only to be separated by the transcendental Netty, who tries to use Abby as a conduit in her plan to rescue as much wildlife as they can before despicable political events bring on the spectre of Armageddon.
After having read the first book in this series awhile ago, and due to some things that bugged me about the first book, I wasn’t really eager to start on the second book. I’d thought I’d wait awhile before reading Echo for fear that the same issues that bothered me in Baby, would pop up again in Echo. Alas, my fears were unnecessary and I ended up enjoying Echo far more than I did Baby.
I was so focused on the issues that plagued me in the first book, I failed to notice how exquisitely J.K. Accinni writes. Reading Echo, the first thing that stood out to me was the complexity of the plot with political intrigue intricately woven into a story about the world - more specifically America - in 2033, and the cruelty and inhumanity people show to nature and each other; destroying our planet and ourselves through greed and brutality. The author uses many metaphors by means of three-dimensional characters and a super-intelligent furry alien, to show how the human race is the engineer of its own destruction.
One scene early in the book really grabbed my attention as it struck a chord with me. “Whatever you need there is a government program to cover the cost. Cradle to grave, as they say. Yet the poor somehow always found the money for air conditioning, cell phones, I-pods, cable TV, shiny leased automobiles, and LED TVs.” To be very honest, this is something I’m always questioning in my daily life. How do the poorest of the poor manage to have more of life’s luxuries than so many others who struggle to afford daily necessities to just survive? Questions challenging the morals of the human race applicable to our lives today, and even more so in a world twenty years from now crippled by the Polio virus and a defective government, lends a sense of realism to this story which is sure to touch a raw nerve or two. Of course, I was also immensely thrilled that my home country got a mention later on in the book!
I think one of the scenes that will linger in my mind for quite some time is the scene in which a seventeen-year old girl is raped, tortured and murdered in the most horrendous and shocking of ways reminiscent of the movies The Hills Have Eyes and Wrong Turn. Kudos to the author for being so brutally honest and not shying away from the terrifying darkness a human mind is capable of. From incest to dog fighting and poaching, to the stark reality of corrupt figures of authority and the possibility of the East overthrowing the West, Echo is an intelligently-written story that will make you think, but at the same time shock you at the repulsiveness of some of its characters, while rooting for the unlikely heroes. The backdrop for this story is so realistic it made me feel as though this is a very likely future for the world as we know it. The good guys in this story don’t have it easy at all and the villains are such vile creatures, their punishment weren’t nearly as severe as the atrocious deeds they committed.
In my opinion Echo is a vast improvement on Baby, and I’m genuinely looking forward to reading Armageddon Cometh, the third book in this intriguing and exhilarating series.
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Echo by J.K. Accinni has 23 reviews on Goodreads. Read it here.