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There are some rather good reviews of this novel, a novel dare I say that is a rather sophisticated piece of Science Fiction. While some reviewers have said you can read this as a stand-alone production, I have yet to read `The Explorer (2013)'. So I do feel a tad disadvantaged here. Here then are my best efforts. As others have commented there are some poignant links with this work and Solaris (and I do not mean the American re-make). For me the author James Smythe writing is daring in nature, as his reworks old concepts and reinvents them to his needs. This is a well-crafted and intelligent work, which draws in the reader, and in doing so he gets the reader to `gel' with the characters. The Echo takes the bibliophile on a poignant journey into deepness of space, as the narrative moves on the atmosphere makes for a rather claustrophobic feel to the whole venture. There is clear inter-weaving of the main protagonists' identical twin brothers, for they are the most brilliant minds in science. It is under their guidance and their supervision that the whole undertaking has got under way, and it is in their narrative the reader is channelled, while one of the brothers remains on Earth as ground control, the other leads the mission into deep space. For theirs is the second expedition to this far distant anomaly, as the first mission ended in the disappearance of the spaceship Ishiguro with all crew members. The twins and the new expedition members are determined not befall the same fate.
Unfortunately things seem to go awry with the mission and there is sense of foreboding, which then has a catalytic effect that gives rise to the creepiness of the whole event, the twins are tested by their respective rolls, as they are played out in the book.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Echo by James Smythe

Much has been said about this book and I can generally agree with the reviews. This is an intelligent swirling plot combining SCFI and superb character interaction and development.

It is inspiringly written and is difficult to put down as you have to see what happens next. To me this is a great book test; I made time to read it as I was drawn right into the plot and had to keep going.

I had not read the first book before this one but I have now. This is an author to keep an eye on if you like science fiction, a brilliant plot and the study of character interaction and development. It’s quite a dark plot with lots of unexpected twists and turn – basically if you like this sort of book just read it as you will love it from cover to cover.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
There are some rather good reviews of this novel, a novel dare I say that is a rather sophisticated piece of Science Fiction. While some reviewers have said you can read this as a stand-alone production, I have yet to read `The Explorer (2013)'. So I do feel a tad disadvantaged here. Here then are my best efforts. As others have commented there are some poignant links with this work and Solaris (and I do not mean the American re-make). For me the author James Smythe writing is daring in nature, as his reworks old concepts and reinvents them to his needs. This is a well-crafted and intelligent work, which draws in the reader, and in doing so he gets the reader to `gel' with the characters. The Echo takes the bibliophile on a poignant journey into deepness of space, as the narrative moves on the atmosphere makes for a rather claustrophobic feel to the whole venture. There is clear inter-weaving of the main protagonists' identical twin brothers, for they are the most brilliant minds in science. It is under their guidance and their supervision that the whole undertaking has got under way, and it is in their narrative the reader is channelled, while one of the brothers remains on Earth as ground control, the other leads the mission into deep space. For theirs is the second expedition to this far distant anomaly, as the first mission ended in the disappearance of the spaceship Ishiguro with all crew members. The twins and the new expedition members are determined not befall the same fate.
Unfortunately things seem to go awry with the mission and there is sense of foreboding, which then has a catalytic effect that gives rise to the creepiness of the whole event, the twins are tested by their respective rolls, as they are played out in the book.
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TOP 50 REVIEWERon 10 February 2014
Wow; as a second novel in a quartet, this is stunning. I enjoyed the first book in the series, The Explorer, and looked forward immensely to this second book. The Echo takes place twenty years after the expedition on the Ishiguro; the anomaly which is viewable in space from Earth seems to be bigger, or is it getting closer to Earth? Either way, scientists need to understand what it is, so if it poses a threat to Earth they can at least try and deal with it.

Two brilliant scientists, brothers and twins, Mira and Tomas Hyvonen head a new mission for a new ship, the Lara which is planned and built to their specifications; Tomas will stay on Earth and man the Mission Control, while Mira captains the crew on the Lara to head into space to find the anomaly and investigate it. They have left nothing to chance; the crew is hand-picked and selected, trained comprehensively; the ship and the equipment is purpose-built and scientifically perfect for the mission. But have Mira and Tomas forgotten something?

This is absolutely brilliant stuff; the psychological and emotional turmoil in such a mission, and the way in which the whole series of events get inside Mira's head (whose first-person narrative we are reading) is mind-blowing. The intensity of the book is heightened by the fact that Mira certainly, and I think Tomas, are not particularly likeable. Mira finds it hard to relate to his crew as people or colleagues, and his relationship with his brother is tinged with past remembrances.

I cannot imagine the enormity of taking part in a mission like this, and the way in which the crew deals with the events that unfold on the Lara is brilliantly capture for the reader. You feel like you're there, floating in space with them as your air supply slowly runs out, such is the pace of the novel. This book gets right inside your head. I can't wait for the third one in this series. If you haven't read The Explorer, read that before you read this. If you're looking for another book by this author, I can wholeheartedly recommend The Machine which was brilliant.
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on 6 February 2017
Rarely, if ever, have I read such a boring, pointless book. Reading the jacket led me to believe that I would be reading a story of science (fictional) wonders with exciting mysteries and revelations. There was none of it! The book goes nowhere, tells you nothing and fails in every possible way. It is filled with an overwhelming proportion of narrative (which always fails to inspire anyway) and just bores the pants off of you. I like books that won’t let you put them down. This one almost forces you to not pick it up. I’d have given it no stars, were that possible.
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on 23 November 2016
Worst book ever. I read The Echo not realising it was the second in a series and maybe the first book is better than the second but The Echo goes no where. It's just death again and a again and again. The story starts so slowly and then when something happens finally you feel that 'Great now the story starts!' but it doesn't, nothing gets explained, all the human connections are stilted and unfeeling and then it just ends. The only thing i took from this book is that the anomally is like an egg and Mirakel is the sperm, finding the centre to create life. The deaths that happen again and again for the others is like all the other chances of life that fail.
I have no desire to read The Explorer as i don't want to come away from reading another book feeling anrgy and empty of emotions.
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on 5 February 2016
After reading The Explorer and enjoying it so much I was sceptical as to whether the second instalment would live up to the first. The story captivated me from the very first chapter, each death felt personal, I felt like I was riding the Lara right along with them. As they ran out of air, so did I. The novel answers many questions from the previous novel without discussing the previous storyline too much and relying too heavily on the reader remembering the exact details. It took me less than a day from start to finish and as I turned the final page and said my final goodbye to Mirakel, I felt myself breathe properly for the first time since starting the novel. Entirely captivating and utterly breathtaking.
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Format: Hardcover|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
The Echo is a sequel to The Explorer - it occupies the same literal universe but you could easily read it as a standalone, everything is explained as if the reader has no foreknowledge, but I must say, The Echo really does echo The Explorer and it will add to the experience if you read them in order.

The Echo follows the crew of the Lara, 23 years after the Ishiguro disappeared. Captained by one half of an identical pair of twins, Mira, whilst his brother, Tomas mans everything from ground control. As the much improved ship approaches their destination, the anomaly; discovered during the Ishiguro mission, they realise that they are dealing with something that is completely new to science and begin to risk everything in their pursuit of scientific glory and curiosity. As history begins to repeat itself, Mira, understanding the foreshadowing does everything he can to avoid his ultimate fate. Is there anyway out of things this time around?

James Smythe writes fantastically well, his style is direct but descriptive, I felt I knew the ship very well by the end and had a good feel for the suits as well. As things become more and more surreal the tension is ratcheted up fantastically, even tying in with the first book in a pretty major way. I enjoyed the echoing of the first book with Mira crawling around in the wall-spaces much like Cormac. I can't really say much more other than this is an excellent Science Fiction novel, even if it bends the rules of physics quite a bit to drive the story. Nonetheless, an excellent sequel weighing in at 303 pages.

Highly recommended, but make sure you read The Explorer first to really get the feel of things.
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on 6 September 2014
Confusing, but well written, this is the continuation of the previous book, in which the first ship is lost in space with one possible survivor.
I found it difficult to work out what was possible in this surreal world that James Smythe has conjured up
So, although entertaining, the end of the book left me in a limbo of non understanding
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on 21 June 2016
Excellent sequel to The Explorer, which follows the (mis)fortunes some twenty years after the Ishiguro went missing. Takes the oddness of what was happening in the first novel even further. Intelligent sci-fi which is well written as the astronauts on this exploration of the anomaly find themselves in a nightmare scenario.

Ray Smillie
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