by Kent Wayne
2018. 401 pages (Kindle Edition)
Series: Echo, Volume 4
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Speculative Fiction
Final Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Echo Volume 4 chronicles Crusader Atriya’s time in Mandala City. As Atriya crafts his mind into a psionic arsenal, he realizes that no weapon—no matter how fantastic—will be enough to defeat the Regent. The only way he stands a chance is by vanquishing the ignorance within himself.
First Sentences (chapter 1, un-formatted version):
His grip started to loosen but he still clamped down, telling the story of himself to himself, repeating it over and over to ensure that it was true. Once it had become a brutish mantra, a wave of darkness eclipsed his vision.
Let me start by saying how thankful I am for Kent Wayne’s summary recaps of the previous books at the beginning of Echo 4, as there was a huge gap in between the time I read volume 3 and 4. Much to my dismay, the year 2019 was not the best year for me to do a lot of reading, so I needed a major refresher when I finally did get my day-to-day life stable enough to sit down and lose myself in a good story again. As I read the recap, the previous three novels came rushing back to me like a tidal wave and I was more excited than ever to find out how the series ended.
The Last Edge of Darkness is the 4th and final book in Kent Wayne’s Echo series. I went into this book with super high expectations since I awarded the previous three books 4.5-5 stars. It’s always risky to do such because the more one builds up expectations of something, the harder the let down is when it doesn’t live up to those expectations. With Echo 4, I didn’t have to worry about taking that risk, because not only did the last installment not disappoint, it managed to exceed my already ridiculously high expectations.
The first book of Echo was a set-up novel that introduced us to the Echo universe and characters, building up the suspense of the heavy battle that most of book 2 would focus on. There were enough fights, blood, gore, and mech robots to make the stereotypical male wet himself with pure joy. Yeah, sorry that sounds a bit crude but I’d like to effectively get my point across. There’s still plenty of action in book 3, but it also begins to explore more of the metaphysical side of the Echo universe. It is only a taste of what book 4, The Last Edge of Darkness brings to the table.
There’s still plenty of action (and lots of vomiting) this go-round but it operates on a completely different set of battle rules from the previous books. Psionic warfare is where it’s all at! Think along the lines of Dr. Strange! Echo 4 tears super deep into the very fabric of all existence and creates a philosophy that is so beautiful, it will leave you contemplating philosophy, duality, identity, morality, religion, ethics… all the deep stuff that no one at the family dinner table ever wants to talk about beyond what little thier parents and peers have taught them to believe.
Echo 4 is so beautiful in exploring these concepts, it brought tears to my eyes several times. By far, explaining existence as like that of a comic book through the different perspectives of the character, reader, and author was a brilliant concept and my favorite out of all the ideas explored! I cannot say enough good things about this book’s ability to provoke the deepest parts of your mind into turning those rusted gears of deep thought.
As usual, the descriptive visuals are wonderful and the characters tend to grow on you. The connections were fun and at times surprising and the wraiths were amazing. Apex was a badass character that had me laughing at times, despite the fact that he was as sick and sadistic as they come. I highlighted so many quotes and ideas that I loved, that I was only able to select a small handful to attach to the end of this review, so as to not end up copying half of the book to my favorite quotes area. The final battle had me on the edge of my seat and the outcome was a great way to wrap up the series!
Kent Wayne is on my Top 5 Author list and the Echo series is one that I recommend to everyone, regardless of whether or not you typically go for the genre. It was outside of what I normally read, and I fell in love with it! That says a lot! I look forward to reading more of his work!
“We’re destined to die, Atriya. No matter what we achieve, it will be washed away in the river of time.“
[Our ancestors ignored the obvious irony. Their symbols of love were produced through misery and suffering.]
[ I find math and science to be far more enjoyable than religion or spirituality. Science questions its own claims, continually sharpening its awareness of reality. Religion, on the other hand, makes assertions that are not to be challenged—assertions that its followers will defend in the lowest ways imaginable.]
“I feel exactly the same as I did back then: like I’m training for a fight that I’m destined to lose.”
Our lives are nothing more than wisps of smoke. Even if you wove them all together—” “—they’d blow away just the same,”
intentions didn’t matter unless they aligned with results.
[Irony is more than a literary device; it’s a universal principle. It appears in nature and art, and also in day-to-day life.]
He realized he’d committed a cardinal sin: he’d assumed that past triumphs would ensure future victories.