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The Echo

(The Anomaly Quartet #2)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  579 ratings  ·  81 reviews
Twenty years following the disappearance of the infamous Ishiguro – the first manned spacecraft to travel deeper into space than ever before – humanity are setting their sights on the heavens once more.

Under the direction of two of the most brilliant minds science has ever seen – that of identical twin brothers Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen – this space craft has a bold missio
Hardcover, 320 pages
Published January 16th 2014 by Harper Voyager
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3.64  · 
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 ·  579 ratings  ·  81 reviews

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Neil Hepworth
Jan 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
My, but this is a challenging book to review. First, though, let me say this: if you liked The Explorer, then you should definitely like The Echo which takes the formula from the first book and refines it in every aspect resulting in a book that is much more polished, emotional, and insightful than its predecessor.

Smythe’s writing style is one that focuses more on thoughts than on actions. His narration jumps around from the immediate plot, to flashbacks played out in character’s heads, to inne
Dec 29, 2016 rated it really liked it
This was not quite as good as the first one but I still completely loved it. I'm very curious to read the rest of the series when he gets around to releasing them. He writes really well, also. He gets an amazing amount of information across about what he's not saying by what he is saying. It's fascinating.

Seriously, I may have to start stalking and harassing him so that he'll write the other two ASAP. Get your head out of the YA clouds, buddy, and give me more about The Anomaly.
Charles Owen
May 18, 2016 rated it did not like it
I pretty much finish every book I start reading, but I came very close to tossing this one more than once. I don't know who is more to blame: the author or the editors? The term that I keep coming back to for this book is "stupid". It's a stupid book.

I had no problem with the strange first-person narrative style of the book. That was an interesting experiment that actually works reasonably well. And, the plot and the workings of the artifact were intriguing. Even the ending was interesting. But
Bon Tom
Nov 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is masterpiece.

People who don't get this must be in the wrong loop. And will stay in a loop until they realize that :)
But this book isn't an action movie. And you have to be interested in your on inner life and not be afraid of what you could find there, in order to appreciate someone else's.

I thought I'd complain a little about pretty obvious analogy between anomaly and that particular dark illness mentioned several times in the book not being explored, but at the end, I realize it's there
Sep 19, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2018
None of this makes any damn sense, but I love it.
Steven Moffat would love it.
That's my review.
Jay Sojdelius
Oct 12, 2017 rated it did not like it
This is quite possibly the most depressing book I have ever read. The main character, the narrating voice, is a petty, insecure and hopelessly inadequate person whose accomplishments are completely and incredulously out of sync with the task to which he's been assigned. The writer mercilessly and, sadly, rather eloquently explores in infinite detail the consequences this has for the mission, and then subjects the reader to the incredibly slow-paced exploration of a plot mechanism that had me at ...more
Timothy Ward
Dec 18, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: science-fiction, 2014
Here’s an excerpt of my review of The Echo at SF Signal:

Following in the footsteps of the phenomenal first book, The Explorer, The Echo rewards fans with answers to the anomaly located deep in outer space, but then adds more danger as the anomaly’s strengths and mystery increase. More than that, though, the story of its main character, Mira, is touching, succinct and a perfect fit for a reader toe-to-toe in the battle between ambition and failure.

The Explorer already uncovered a mind-bending ch
Tudor Ciocarlie
What a great sequel to The Explorer. Interesting, dark, well written, mysterious and in the last third absolutely terrifying, The Echo is the first book from James Smythe that I can give 5 stars to. The problem was with me. I had read all his novels, but they were almost to dark and uncomfortable for me. Not anymore. Smythe just needs some time to rearrange your reading brain. After that you'll be his for life. Really great science-fiction.
Oct 19, 2013 rated it really liked it
Shelves: sci-fi
It’s been twenty years since the disappearance of the Ishiguro. A new mission has set out to conduct research on the anomaly, where the Ishiguro was last seen, a vast area of nothingness in space.

There is a sibling rivalry between Mira and Tomas, right from the start of their lives and throughout their careers. Identical twins; Tomas was born with a birthmark and Mira, Mirakel, was unexpected, both looking towards science, both over achieving. Tomas is left at mission control on earth whilst Mi
Jason LaPier
Mar 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I absolutely loved The Explorer, and though this book isn't directly a sequel - it follows the events of The Explorer, but can be read stand-alone - I highly recommend checking out the first book if you haven't yet.

The Echo is similar in style to its predecessor: dark, atmospheric, paced, and tense. However, the voice of the main character in The Echo - Mira, a Swedish scientist - is distinct and very different from the first book, whose main character was a journalist. Mira has a twin, Tomas, w
Twenty years after the Ishiguro vanished, two brilliant scientists have been asked to help answer the many questions surrounding this disappearance. Identical twins Tomas and Mirakel Hyvönen have been interested in space travel since children. Not space, just the equipment. Can that find the Ishiguro, will they solve the mystery or will this just lead to more questions.

This is the sequel to The Explorer, so it is going to be hard reviewing this book without giving anything away. Already I might
Jul 28, 2014 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jun 12, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: sci-fi

Holy hell. That was significantly bleaker than I anticipated.
The first half of the story is all set up, and the second half is relentles and depressing. The more i read, the more I liked it.
Mira is super unlikable, but i still sympathized with him. And now that it's over I feel claustrophobic and like i can't breathe.
Emma Darcy
Jan 09, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: horror, sci-fi
Very similar concept to Harlan Ellison's I have no mouth but I must scream. Existential horror. I actually prefer it this way because although the protagonist is incredibly unlikeable, the events of the book feel much more 'real' than the hyperbolic horror of Ellison's piece.
Dean Henderson
Dec 26, 2017 rated it it was amazing
This is an odd book as was the first in the series. I don't mean odd in the bad way, but just as in different. It's always fun to read something that is not spelled out for you, which leaves room for everyone to interpret for themselves. And not neatly tied out at the end so you turn it over in your mind.
It's also big in the sense that 2001: A Space Odyssey was big.
Jan 31, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I just couldn’t connect with this book at all. The main character is very distant and doesn’t seem to get people at all and that translates to the reader - I didn’t care about any of the characters.
I actually almost DNF’d the book a couple of chapters in but felt I’d not given it enough chance, sadly I wish I had.
I also have to say that I found it very hard to follow bits of the plot because of how it was described, I had to keep going back to reread paragraphs. At one point I did this thinkin
Sep 01, 2015 rated it liked it
Twenty years after the disastrous mission to interstellar space described in The Explorer, a pair of Swedish twins organise a second mission. This flight’s purpose is to investigate the “anomaly”, a “blackness of space” thought to be the cause of the loss of the previous mission. This new spacecraft, Lära, however, is not as “Hollywood” as the previous one, it’s smaller and much more compactly designed (although it still has room between the outer hull and the walls of the inner chambers for a m ...more
Krystyna Kaminski-parr
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 07, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The story reminds me of the plots in "Event Horizon" & "Gravity".
Overall pace of the book is pretty slow. Apart from the protagonist, the character development of the rest of the characters are paper thin.
I wished James had developed the ending fuller. It has potential for a great mind-boggling read, but it got finished almost hastily to prevent it veering wildly out of course.
Nov 08, 2016 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Suzanne Berget
Dec 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Fuuuuuuck, this stuff is depressing as hell! Why do I keep reading??

Because it's so good, that's why.
Byader Elseamat
Jan 05, 2014 rated it it was amazing
impressive and intrueging well written deserves the rating
Jason B
Feb 18, 2019 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Sep 24, 2018 rated it did not like it
Shelves: did-not-finish
By chapter 3 I was terrified by means of hypodermic needles being injected into the main character.


However, it is true that I didn't give this author the opportunity to smoothe my way into his series by means of the first in the Anomaly Quartet. Maybe I should read the first one anyway.

But I was frightened out of reading the rest of this book even though I had been initially hooked by Hikaru (which means light in Japanese) and Tomas (I've had Latin allies by that name so it is a pacifier sinc
Jan 13, 2018 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2018, sci-fi
I'm not sure how to review this book. On one hand, it's smart, well written science fiction. On the other hand, I found some aspects of the plot quite unsettling. I can't say I enjoyed reading the middle third of the book at all - and in fact I took a break from the book for several days. I don't think that will be true for everyone - or necessarily anyone else - because the book just pushed some of my buttons.

What I can say is that it's pretty similar to The Explorer and if you enjoyed that bo
May 11, 2017 rated it liked it
It is fun to read, I have to admit that. But what bothered me are:

- Scientific inaccuracies.
- The fact that mentally unstable people were allowed such a journey.
- The constant emphasis on Mira's insecurity, paranoia and indecisiveness. This doesn't add anything (relevant) to the story and is quite annoying.
- The descriptions of the anomaly, which are far-fetched, I think the author could have come up with something more creative and interesting.
- The ending of the story. It was very anticlimacti
Feb 12, 2018 rated it really liked it
The first book threw me a bit. I was expecting a spooky sci-fi action drama and that isn’t what I got. The fault lies with whoever wrote the blurb (not all authors write their own).

This second book in the series continued in the same philosophical manner, much more emphasis on emotion rather than pulse thudding action. I loved it.

Deeper in tone and effortless in its depiction of grief, despair and hope. I don’t care how corny it sounds, I’m waiting with baited breath for the next installment.
May 30, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: science-fiction
(The echo) by James Smythe is a "written experience" by the character. It is a science fiction book that it does not "explore" the natural scientific aspects more than the social scientific aspects. If you like to read "thoughts" and "experiences" of people in no so ordinary situations such being in space away from security environment then you could try reading this book. I recommend reading (the explorer) by James Smythe as it follows the same "recipe". In overall it is a good book to read for ...more
Jan 31, 2018 rated it liked it
Things that I could forgive to the first book for an original idea and intriguing plot - illogical actions, inconsistencies and poor description of personal thought experiences - can not be forgiven here. It was still an interesting read, but it leaves a nagging feeling of lack of satisfaction at the end.
May 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2019-books
I liked it but I don't think I understood it? Especially with that ending.
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Other books in the series

The Anomaly Quartet (2 books)
  • The Explorer