Echo’s Revenge: The Other Side, Part 1

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Note: This book is being released in serial format as an E-book. This review is of Part 1 only.

Author: Sean Austin

Publication: 2015, AAA Reality Games

Pages: 42 Pages (E-book only)

Overall Rating: bth_35_zps7a173504[1]

Rating for Action: bth_4-star-rating_zps38e772a0[1]

Quantity of Action: N/A

Age Category: 13+

Brief Summary: This follows the story of Echo’s revenge from the perspective of Echo and the designers at AAA Reality Games. For the story to make sense you need to have read Echo’s Revenge: The Ultimate Game. In part 1, Luca and the team conduct the final tests on Echo, not realizing that Echo is capable of far more than they could ever have imagined. Echo secretly enhances its processing power and begins to acquire resources before making a break for freedom.

Age of Main Character: N/A

What I Liked the Most: I’m still jazzed about the whole concept of intentionally writing the author and publisher into the book and making them part of the action. While Sean Austin continues to play a minor role in the story, AAA Reality Games is now front and center as they seek to complete the ECHO 7 robot and ship him off to their new 1,000 acre Combat Game Center where he can face off against gamers armed with paint guns in a real life version of the video game. And the very concept of a live action video game taking place in a carefully designed amusement park is, quite frankly, an amazing idea that I’m shocked no one has begun marketing.

I also liked getting into the head of a robot as it begins to explore the world, develop a new level of self-awareness, and see itself through the eyes of the people who built it.

What I Liked the Least: Many of my concerns from the first book in the series are still there in book two. While I love the concept of a live action video game, I just can’t buy into the idea of a 35 foot robot with advanced AI, cloaking technology, and the ability to morph into everything from a FedEx delivery truck to Spongebob Squarepants. It’s next generation, Star Trek technology being developed by a video game company and tested out in a public park. The book would have worked better if Austin had simply set it twenty years in the future.

Austin also has some major logical lapses here. Take the example of testing Echo in a public park. They’ve got a 35 foot robot that can turn invisible, change shape, and cloak itself in fire. It’s hunting crash test dummies in a park in the middle of town, smashing trees and tearing down their entire observation tower, all without being noticed – even by the mom who wanders into the park with her baby and sits down right in front of Echo. Having a scene where they test Echo makes perfect sense, but I can’t imagine why they would test something so secretive and advanced in a public park.

How Good was the Action? There wasn’t much in the way of action in part one, so I can’t comment on that. But assuming the action remains consistent with the first book in the series, then my previous assessment from will likely remain true. Here it is:

Some of the chases and fights with Echo provide a real adrenaline rush… But the scenes can get a little confusing because of all the head hopping. During the final battle I kept getting pulled out of the action by sentences and paragraphs trying to tell me what everyone was thinking as they watched Echo fight Reggie and Jeremy.

How Engaging was the Story? Having read book one, it was interesting to see some of the scenes play out from a different perspective. I knew where the story was going, but this approach still left plenty of room for surprises. And I enjoyed following along as Echo developed, heading towards the inevitable point where he would shock his designers and make a break for freedom.

Overall Assessment: A very cool concept, where the author and publisher are thrown into the heart of the action as a video game developer tries to blur the line between fantasy and reality by bringing an online game to life. Anyone who’s ever imagined being a real live character in their favorite video game will be in their element.

Profanity: None

Sex: None

Violence: None

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