Book Review: The Dialectic of Agony: Echo Volume 3
by: Kent Wayne
While Crusader Kischan Atriya fights to keep his life and sanity, his mentor Chrysalis Verus undertakes a perilous journey across the wilds of Echo. Their separate paths intertwine in the unlikeliest of places and across all borders, both psychic and physical.
5 Stars to The Dialectic of Agony
For the reasons I love techno-thrillers, the nerdy, geeky explanations of periphery tech and gadgets, I loved this book. Only, in this case, the geeky, techy stuff was not so techy as it was mystical (the use of kaia). Call it magic to make the explanation easier, it was something I’d been waiting to see since Volume 1. Its explanation through its many uses was great fun, and I hope to learn more when we finally reach Mandala City (hint, hint Mr. Wayne 😉 ).
Themes of ruled to ruler; Patriot to free-thinker; soldier to civilian are thick from the first pages of Approaching Shatter, and only get thicker in Dialectic of Agony. Forced into missions he knows are fruitless and under-planned, the struggle of Atriya’s personal code versus what’s expected of him is fascinating to watch unfold. I thought he’d had a hard time in Volume 2, but we hadn’t seen anything like what was pushed on him this time around. More than once, my heart bled for him, and I wondered if maybe we weren’t seeing his end.
These themes are also shown in Verus’ story, an interesting philosophy to follow as she deals with politics (in a much more minor setting than Atriya) in a system that should be above such things. Ah, the nature of humanity… but that’s the point, right? The irony alive in the constructs we build; the inherent prison nature of dogma meant to free us.
The blending of what I interpret as a sort of Mystic Buddhism with advanced combat is just fun to read. From Atriya’s marvelous mech suits to Verus’ mystical battle magic to the macabre Enhanciles, there are few dull moments.
Questions for Volume 4
Is there a love story unfolding? I always pictured Atriya and Verus as somehow being above the frivolity of love, as their first love is clearly Battle, but my second read-through suggests maybe something more is going on…
Fingers crossed that we’ll be seeing Volume Four very soon…