The second book in a post-apocalyptic series following a clone who must overcome her design to save her dying city
The Church has stood for hundreds of years, preserving the sole surviving city in a desert wasteland. When Echo Hunter 367 is sent out past the Church's farthest outposts, she's sure it's a suicide mission. But just when she's about to give up hope, she finds the impossible - another thriving community, lush and green, with a counsel of leaders who take her in.
Wary of this new society, with ways so different from the only life she's ever known, Echo is determined to complete her mission and bring hope back to the Church. She's unsure who she can trust, and must be strong and not be seduced by their clean, fresh water, and plentiful energy sources. If she plays her cards right, she may even still have a chance to save the woman she loves.
Stacey Berg is a medical researcher who writes speculative fiction. Her work as a physician-scientist provides the inspiration for many of her stories. She lives with her wife in Houston and is a member of the Writers’ League of Texas. When she’s not writing, she practices kung fu and runs half marathons.
Regeneration is the second part of an absolutely stunning duology. Read it if you liked Kameron Hurley's Bel Dame series, and especially read it if you wanted to like God's War but didn't. Dissension and Regeneration are stunning, like listening to the delicate strumming in Mark Knopfler's 'Romeo and Juliet,' and the crescendo in 'Sound of Silence' by Disturbed. Powerful, angry, conflicted, desperate, and just the tiniest bit hopeful.
Set in post-apocalypse setting, this series is so much more sophisticated than any description can give. Read it if you like characters who struggle with duty and love. A basic cliche, I know. But I hate almost everything to do with capital 'R' Romance books, so take it from me that there isn't anything romancey about it. This is a passion that segues into obsession. Narration is third person, focused on Echo. Echo is a clone, brought up to be a soldier--a police officer--for the Church in her isolated town. After the events of the last book, Echo has headed out into the wilderness, looking for signs of other human life.
"Echo lay alone, adrift in this faraway place where even the wind smelled strange, sounded strange too as it soughed its way through trees grown greener and denser than she’d ever seen, like the desert in bloom a hundred times over. She counted her breaths, in and out until her heartbeat steadied."
Like A Canticle for Leibowitz, we approach the apocalypse sideways, from the current setting, only gradually building an idea of what might have happened. Actually, in Regeneration, we approach it from yet another perspective, as Echo has been rescued from the desert and brought to a completely new settlement, father from any place her people had ever been able to travel and survive. Roughly the first third of the book is her trying to learn about the settlement of the Preservers from her own narrow and indoctrinated perspective. Because while Echo may no longer be an absolutely true believer in the Church she served since childhood, she remains absolutely devoted to the Saint who powers her city--her former lover, Lia. What follows is Echo grasping at a faint hope for the Saint, not even voiced. “Why do you care so much about the Saint?” Her breath hitched, but she forced her voice to come out steady. “I live to serve.” They were the right words. They explained nothing."
To make it sweeter, it's a sci-fi story that more than passes the Bechdel test. As Berg wrote in a post, she wrote a book she wanted to read, "I wrote about women, strong, conflicted, frightened, brave. I gave them hard choices with dire stakes. I put them in a world where no one even notices their gender, only that they’re in love." She succeeded. After finishing, I'm left in one of those book-hangovers where I don't know how to even find words.
There are, of course, a few problems, perhaps partly to do with the psychology of people within the world Berg created. For the most part, characters are complex, with the exception of one or two. Echo herself will perhaps be hard for some to relate to, as she is very logical and strategic, operating within a soldier mentality and not verbose or over-expressive.
I'll keep Berg on my to-watch list, and remain hopeful that she continues to take time out from medical research to write.
I enjoyed Berg's first book, Dissension but I can't say the same for the sequel.
The writing is fine but I felt that the plot was just not moving forward. Dissension was not what I would call fast-paced, but Regeneration is missing the steady sense of forward momentum that made its predecessor so compelling.
That being said, a number of my Goodreads friends enjoyed this book as much as Dissension, so if you were a fan of the first book, I would still encourage you to give Regeneration a try.
We last saw Echo leaving the last city on a mission to either find other survivors of the Fall or more likely to die in the wilderness now that the woman she loves is beyond her. She's well on the way to achieving the latter goal when the she succeeds in the former, with another group of survivors finding her and nursing her back to health. And then she discovers that the Preservers have a similar technology to the Church, but the people who link to it can come and go.
If you liked Dissension then you know what to expect: dark future tale with a slow-burn plot that ratchets the tension throughout towards an action-packed and explosive conclusion. When Echo returns to the City and the Church things have changed, but everyone is still at their amoral Church-is-all worst and the interactions with the Preservers are predictably tense. The way that Echo has to overcome her grief and navigate through the politics of the City and the Church to maintain hope is just a great story.
One word comes to mind right away - Intense! This book has that flavor all the way through (even more so than the first book). I do have to say - you really should read Dissension first before reading this one. I did read the first one (review - HERE) It is so worth it to read both books!
I really enjoyed reading this series. I am sad that there is not going to be more (at least I am pretty sure this it it). I would have loved to have read more about Echo - she is my hero (heroine, I should say).
Echo's true nature comes out in this one. She is a very passionate, caring, brave, and sometimes overzealous - there were times I wanted to say "Echo, darlin, take a chill pill!" but she didn't listen to me - that's who she was and I loved her for it. I do have to say she is a very driven woman that will stop at nothing for what she strongly believes in. Again, I loved that about her character (I'm the same way). I am a "character person" I really get into the characters of a book and that's why character development is so important to me. And Echo's character was someone I could really get into. I genuinely liked her as a person.
I am eagerly anticipating this author's next book. I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. Once again - you kinda have to be into the dark/post apocalyptic thing to really enjoy this, and for me... the darker the better! Even though it was dark at times there were some very sweet and tender moments as well. This was a book full of adventure and action around every corner. Highly recommend to those Dystopian lovers out there!
I voluntarily posted this review after receiving a copy of this book from Providence Book Promotions - Thank You!
Echo Hunter 367 is a clone that has been sent out past the furthest reaches of the Church and although she thinks this has become a suicide mission she finds another community. This community seems to be better off than her current one with its clean water and green grass. But things are not always better on the other side of the fence. No matter what happens, she does still have a mission from the Church. But she sees a possible way to help the woman she loves.
This is the second book in a duology and I do recommend reading Dissension, book one first. I was not completely lost but I think it would have helped reading Regeneration. I loved this world and how it was described. It appeals to the dystopian lover in me.
Echo is not really a hero and is hard to even really like her. She was created to follow orders and not care about the people yet she has someone she loves and is trying to do everything that she can to take care of her. It made following her hard since how can she have no regard for people as a whole yet be willing to do anything for her lover.
I love the whole dynamics of the community. You have those that are willing to accept Echo and others that are weary of her. You also have a group of people that has done what they can to survive and it gives them a different outlook.
This is a really good story. I didn’t expect the ending and I still don’t think I like it. But I am interested enough to purchase the first book in this series to figure out what I missed.
I received Regeneration from Providence Book Promotions for free. This has in no way influenced my opinion of this book.
This is the second in a series and I would highly recommend reading the first book, Dissension.
Echo travels to a another community and finds a society being operated differently than hers back home. How she is received in this new environment identified one of the issues of the novel – strangers within a society. Some accept her but others are very suspicious. Other issues explored in this novel include loyalty to leadership verses loyalty to the one you love. A another issue in the novel is the fear of change and how different communities deal with it. And one more issue – how different communities have strengths and weaknesses and how they can help each other.
All of those issues are woven through Echo's adventures in this post apocalyptic world. I found Echo to be a difficult hero to like. She is almost an anti-hero at times. I found her actions to be confusing often. She was driven by her concern and love for one individual while she, in general, did not value human life. She had been trained to serve the leader yet frequently made decisions contrary to what was best for her society.
I do recommend this book to those who enjoy science fiction, especially when it deals with difficult decisions. There could be much discussion about Echo and her actions and what was really best for her community.
I received a complimentary egalley of this book through Providence Book Promotions. My comments are an independent and honest review.
This book is packed with action from start to finish. Echo is still a bit unlikable and a killer. The Saint remains her only saving grace. All she does she does for the Saint. Every move she makes, every thought she has, everything she is, for the Saint. The ending was unexpected but should have seen it coming. Adam I happy with it? No. Could have ended so much better. 4 stars because it was good. 1 star left off because of the ending. My advice, and I am just one reader, carry this on. Do not end here. There has been absolutely no joy in either book and I am really sad to say that.
Echo finds another "city" and returns with one of its inhabitants hoping to find a way to allow Lia to take off the Saint's Crown. Lots of twists and turns re: the cityens, the hunters, the Preservers, and the church. Echo's devotion to Lia was more self-pitying that I would have liked. The ending was not a surprise, but getting there was a lot of fun.
Great, ass-kicking heroine in a well-crafted distopian world. I hope Stacey Berg has more books to write...
This book was another great writing by Stacey Berg. It is only 3 stars because it just didn’t do it for me. The appeal I had for the first book was washed away in the bleakness and dreariness of this book. The story seemed dragged out without much pertinent action. I was very underwhelmed with the action and felt disappointed with the ending.
Regeneration is the sequel to the post-apocalyptic novel, Dissension. Unfortunately, I didn’t enjoy Regeneration as much as its predecessor. As Regeneration starts where Dissension left off, I think this is a series that needs to be read in order. Also, I can’t figure out a way to do any sort of plot synopsis without spoiling Dissension. So be warned, spoilers follow from here on out.
At the end of Dissension, Echo walks out into the desert with the vague and distant hope of finding someone else out there in the world. At the beginning of Regeneration, she succeeds. The community she finds is thriving, with healthy citizens and lush plant life. It’s a place Echo could never have imagined, and even better, the new community might have the knowledge and technology to help Lia. But could these strangers be a threat to the Church and everything Echo knows? And within Echo’s home city, trouble and revolt still boil.
That “still” might be a large part of my problem with Regeneration. I feel like this sequel covers much of the same grounds as the original. The entire trouble with the citizens and worry of revolt? It felt so stale. The most interesting thing about Regeneration was the part that was truly new: Echo’s discovery of another, outside community. The beginning of the novel, when Echo was among them, was probably the most interesting part of the book. But once we get back to the Church, everything starts to feel familiar.
Additionally, I found the pacing to be slower. When reading Dissension, I felt compelled to keep flipping the pages. My best guess as to why is fascination with Echo’s character and her arc, as she slowly learns to see herself as a person. Most of that seems to have disappeared in Regeneration, and there’s not any sort of character growth or emotional journey to make up for it. That, plus all the back and forth movement of the plot, made for a much slower read.
I did like the expansion of the world building with the new community, but ultimately Regeneration left me unsatisfied. At several points, I considered quitting but ultimately stuck with it out of a desire to complete the series. Then again, maybe I was just in a different frame of mind while reading Regeneration. Other reviewers seem to like it much more than I did, so maybe it’s just me.