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Echo City

3.45  ·  Rating Details ·  341 Ratings  ·  59 Reviews
Surrounded by a vast, poisonous desert, Echo City is built upon the graveyard of its own past. Most inhabitants believe that their city and its subterranean Echoes are the whole of the world, but there are a few dissenters. Peer Nadawa is a political exile, forced to live with criminals in a ruinous slum. Gorham, once her lover, leads a ragtag band of rebels against the ru ...more
Paperback, 496 pages
Published October 26th 2010 by Spectra (first published January 1st 2010)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Jun 02, 2012 Jason rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2012
5 Stars

Wow, 2012 is the year that I really found the awesome writing and worlds created by Tim Lebbon. Echo City will stay with me for a long time. I am having a really hard time comprehending how Lebbon does not have a huge following and his works are not rated as high as I believe they should be. If you have not read him before, I will state a disclaimer that he manages to mix all my favorite genres into his writings which make me a biased reviewer. Echo City is a true dark fantasy with a touc
Ranting Dragon
Dec 28, 2010 Ranting Dragon rated it did not like it
Shelves: stephan

“Something’s coming…”

That one line summarizes Echo City, a stand-alone novel by Tim Lebbon. This is a work of very dark but slightly epic fantasy that sometimes borders on the horror genre. It is about a huge city called Echo City, named after its Echoes which are layers of old parts of the city built over by new parts but left intact beneath the surface. From deep down there, down beneath the earliest of Echoes, something is slowly rising. Fortune-tellers
Nov 05, 2010 Stefan rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Echo City is a vast and ancient city in the middle of a huge, deadly desert. Its inhabitants have been isolated for thousands upon thousands of years and have come to believe that the city is actually all of the world, because venturing out into the surrounding desert is certain death. During its immense history, the city has renewed itself countless times by building new layers on top of the old, not like layers of sediment but more like floors in a building, with the old “echoes” of its past s ...more
Dec 18, 2010 Daniel rated it it was ok
Shelves: did-not-finish
I do not want to finish this book. I suspected this might happen back at page 80, when I realized that Lebbon was telling far more than he was showing in his writing. Now, at page 225, I've read enough to put it down for good. Lebbon does put some good ideas into play, and I am still a little curious - just not enough to continue. For me, the mysteries of Echo City will remain as such.
Feb 01, 2011 Marcus rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This book was a struggle to get into - a struggle I ended up losing I might add.

Lately I've been in a mood for post-apocalyptic stories and the attractive cover of Echo City coupled with the intriguing concept hooked me. Unfortunately after the opening sequence - dark, foreboding, heavy, etc - nothing else happened to keep me going. I tried to keep reading but it was a chore. Unlike other books where I look for any excuse to keep reading, Echo City was like a term paper you keep putting off. I
Noelle McCoy
Jan 28, 2012 Noelle McCoy rated it liked it
Shelves: science-fiction
in general, I enjoyed this wasn't exactly what I was hoping for, but it did satisfy my sci-fi craving...I liked the characters who, I felt, where realistic...they weren't all good and all bad, but at varying degrees of both like real folks tend to be...the narrative voice was beautifully descriptive, even poetic at times...however, there were segments of the narrative I felt were overly detailed and somewhat slow in pace...removing about about 75 pages would move the story along a litt ...more
Jonathan Wood
Jun 01, 2011 Jonathan Wood rated it liked it
Good dark fiction, but I had trouble connecting with the characters for some reason. A lot of the action seemed to happen at a distance.
Richard Webb
Apr 11, 2013 Richard Webb rated it liked it
Tim Lebbon’s Echo City is a speculative fantasy in the new-weird vein with aspects of horror and steampunk based in a city surrounded by toxic (perhaps post-apocalyptic) desert: for centuries, no-one has left Echo City, and no-one has visited. Thus by necessity the city builds upon itself, layering the new upon the old, literally burying its own past. Citizens live in the present with little or no concept of history and the theme of cultural memory (actually cultural amnesia in this instance) is ...more
Aug 26, 2014 Brian rated it liked it
Echo City reminds me of China Mieville's Perdido Street Station -- a fascinating world where not much happens rather slowly. Except that's not right. I finished Echo City, for one thing (it helps that Lebbon isn't as infatuated with his own prose). For another, lots of stuff does happen. It's the end of the world as they know it, and the events come fast and furious at the end. It's just that I didn't care much.

I wonder why?

This, then, is a two-part "review." Here's part 1: Echo City is worth a
Feb 21, 2012 J K rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
It took me a while to get through this, and I posted plenty of messages on my Goodreads page wondering/whinging out loud why this was. The further I waded through it, though the clearer it was that something was missing.

However, I want to start with things I really liked about it. Because that’s the sort of positive person I am. Sometimes. When the coffee kicks in. There were great ideas here. Right at the start, as a strange creature walks across the lethal desert, shedding outer layers like a
Holly Mcentee
Sep 22, 2016 Holly Mcentee rated it it was amazing
This was actually a re-read for me: I must have read it years ago and forgotten about it. VERY GOOD - good world-building, good terror, interesting characters. It reminded me of Perdido Street Station in all the right ways. I will make a specific effort to try more by this author.
Ross Evans
Mar 01, 2013 Ross Evans rated it liked it
Echo City by Tim Lebbon caught my eye after I saw it's awesome cover online. The story is a stand alone novel and I hate to say it but it's almost refreshing to see an author in the fantasy genre tell a good story in one book! Echo City is essentially a place in the middle of a vast desert. The city itself is a pretty depressing place and it's inhabitants are all plagued with political, social, and religious differences. It's here where we meet the Political outcast Peer Nadawa who lives life on ...more
Guy Haley
Jul 29, 2016 Guy Haley rated it liked it
This is a frustrating book. Lebbon’s an author of dark fantasy with a serious fanbase, and you can see why here. Set in the last city (might be on Earth, might not be), Echo City manages a high level of invention. The eponymous city is baroque creation, enthralled to its own past, the city being built not on, but over the buildings of yesteryear. Ghostly cities of successively great age – the Echoes - are entombed beneath its bustling streets.

Echoes are what you get, with Lebbon playing with the
Jul 24, 2016 Adrenna rated it liked it
I just don't know about this book.

The prologue was astounding. It's written from the perspective of a hideous monster roaming the desert, and it's haunting and beautiful and strange. I had to know more. And then we're introduced to our main character (a lady! yay!, Peer Nadawa. She's capable and has an intriguing past. Even the world building was completely fascinating. "Echo City" takes place in a city that builds up over itself, leaving echoes of past cities in the underground, because it can'
Jun 25, 2012 Ruth rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: spec-fic
C2010. FWFTB: toxic, desert, stranger, experiments, deadly.This book was well received out in cyber space and the extracts that I read were very enticing. IMHO this is a very well written book with an authentic plot and characters. Pacy and exciting. The author has managed to draw some superb characters without clogging up the story with unnecessary world building. It is not a barrel of laughs though and there is very little, if any, humour to lighten the mood. “To most people, history is a dead ...more
Aug 04, 2013 Esther rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Peer has been banished to Skulk for her political - and religious - beliefs. They would have banished her further but the desert surrounding Echo City is utterly inhospitable to life. As one of the Watchers, Peer believes that there must be more to the world than Echo City and that one day, there has to be a way to leave. When she sees a man walking into the City from the desert, all her hopes - and fears - are realised and she must find her way back into the City that cast her out.

Echo City is
Ashley Dawn
Oct 12, 2011 Ashley Dawn rated it really liked it
Echo City is literally surrounded by danger. All around is a poisonous desert and there is something definitely lurking under the city soon to rise and destroy it! This city is thought to be the only human existence remaining since the desert surrounds it and no one has ever survived crossing it nor has anyone come out of the desert…until now.
A group of ‘revolutionaries’—the Watchers—take it upon themselves to protect this stranger from across the desert, though he seems to have lost most of his
Benny Wilkinson
This was a very good book. Echo City, a massive city surrounded on all sides by a toxic wasteland, its only option for expansion and development being to build on top of the old city, abandoning the lower layers as lost 'echoes' of the city it is now, is a great setting. The complex modern politics, the abandoned lower layers of the city (possibly populated by phantoms and monsters) and the mysterious, arcane Bakers feel like they could support a dozen different stories.

This book focuses on a ti
Sep 30, 2012 Richard rated it liked it
A very interesting dark fantasy with some well developed characters, in what appears to be a post apoclyptic setting, one city remains cut off from the remainder of the world by a seemingly impassable toxic desert that will turn your organs to mush, until the day someone walks in from that desert with organs unmushed, except maybe for his brain.

Loved the twist of magic effectively being a combination of human cloning and attaching extra things you want to them, though was surprised how few ethic
Jessie J
Jun 18, 2011 Jessie J rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
This was my first Tim Lebbon book, and I enjoyed the world building, especially for what seems to be a standalone novel. I've gone back and forth, giving it 3 and 4 stars, but I think I'll settle on 3.

I enjoyed reading it, and I don't think I had the uphill climb that some others had. However, it was a little anticlimactic to me, with the somewhat "deus ex machina" effect of Vex at the end (even though it *was* explained within the context of the limited knowledge of the characters). He's in go
Lee Ann Horner
Sep 29, 2013 Lee Ann Horner rated it really liked it
I think this the sort of book you either love or hate.I loved the intrigue and mystery of a city built, literally, on its own past and the depths and caverns "the Echos" under it.The idea of the Baker, young, yet not;inheriting vast knowledge internally which was available for use immediately.The creatures and beasts she and her kind conjured up vividly brought to life by Tim Lebbon's pen.The human struggle for a better life and better circumstances inevitably thwarted by human greed and ignoran ...more
Feb 09, 2011 Wm rated it liked it
A nice blend of horror and urban-ish/post-apocalyptic-ish fantasy. The characters and world are much more interesting than the action, though. Which is too bad. In fact, the overall plot is kinda good, it's just how we get to the main plot points isn't quite as interesting as it should be. It also meanders too much in the middle and compresses too much in the end.

But it still gets three stars because the characters -- from a gene-splicer to a freak to a rebel leader to the woman he betrayed --
Stephen Glover
Apr 04, 2013 Stephen Glover rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Oh dear...I'm really having a love/hate relationship with Tim Lebbon's work at the moment. I've read 5 of his Fantasy novels so far: the Dusk/Dawn duology was OK, I loved 'Fallen', 'The Island' didn't inspire me and I really struggled with Echo City.

The ideas are nice but it is a similar kind of story to some of his other work, dark and broody and normally with some kind of sleeping god in it. I just found this too long with too many uninteresting chapters and little action. None of the backgrou
Brian Taylor
Jan 17, 2015 Brian Taylor rated it it was ok
This was a miss for me. Much of the first hundred pages is world building, which can make for dry reading. By the time the story gets rolling I found myself not caring about any of the characters. There was a disconnect for me, and that pretty much killed my reading experience.

I can, however, appreciate what the author was trying to accomplish. He took a high fantasy infrastructure, combined it with some Sci-Fi, and gave it a unique, modern setting. It's how the story was presented that fell thr
Sep 01, 2011 Claire rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
A man walks towards a "city" and all hell breaks loose. In the city there is no concept of anyone being able to live outside as the surrounding desert is deadly. When he is found by a "Watcher" she must get him to safety as various factions will kill the man. The city has been building on top of itself for as long as people can remember. The old layers are the echos of the title and may or may not be haunted. This is a low technology world apart from the people/monsters who seem to have been gen ...more
Katie Corbin
Oct 01, 2013 Katie Corbin rated it liked it
I have mixed feelings about this book. It is an extremely fascinating story, and a great mix of steampunk and dark horror. But some parts just felt... flat. There was a long, boring lull in the book. It ended when things were picking up. It is a little "over descriptive", while lacking necessary detail in other parts.

I would be eager to read a sequel, because I did like it. It just had the potential to be a truly amazing story, and unfortunately it was... held back? I don't know. Well worth the
Apr 25, 2015 LordOfDorkness rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy
Bitches got 4 arms. FOUR. Your toaster, bicycle and shotgun are made out of a 'Jude Law in eXistenz bio-mechano freakshow' horseshit.

People get cut open, stabbed or like, poisoned, and you get to hear about it in wicked good detail. Like, FOR REAL.

And the fluids. Everyone in the book is constantly ejecting, covering and getting covered by bodily fluides

If you love that sort of thing, this books for you.
Ruth Fox
Apr 11, 2013 Ruth Fox rated it really liked it
I was impressed with this book - starting it, I wasn't sure where it would lead. However as I progressed I found the characters to be realistic and the way Echo City is portrayed and developed is fascinating. The ending is the type that my boyfriend would call 'unresolved', but I actually think it was perfect. A very enjoyable read.
Allyson Shaw
I got to page 200 before I gave up. The first few pages were solid and grabbed me and even the first few chapters held me but then all the characters became sock puppets furthering the convoluted plot. The ambiguous ethics in the story were never dealt with- which made for some unpleasant reading. Life is too short to read books I don't like!
*Absorbed in Countless Worlds*
2.5 stars rounded up to 3.
It comes like Malazan meets Perdido Street Station - only without the magic and without being as good as those two mentioned. The world building was okay. That's how it earned the 3 stars roundup here. Characters and especially storytelling, unfortunately, don't come near to three stars at all...
A basically good idea not carried out so well, that is.
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I love writing, reading, triathlon, real ale, chocolate, good movies, occasional bad movies, and cake.

I was born in London in 1969, lived in Devon until I was eight, and the next twenty years were spent in Newport. My wife Tracey and I then did a Good Thing and moved back to the country, and we now live in the little village of Goytre in Monmouthshire with our kids Ellie and Daniel. And our dog,
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