I’ve been trying to expand my reading by allowing a certain randomness to enter my selection of books. In this case I saw a post on the author’s blog, dirtyscifibuddha.com, saying that he was doing an Amazon giveaway for this book. I decided to give it a go and I’m glad that I did.
Approaching Shatter is a SF novel set over a thousand years in the future on Echo, a distant planet where a brutal civil war rages. Echo is a dangerous world, and the protagonist, Atriya, is one of the most dangerous people on it. He is one of the ‘Crew’, highly trained super-soldiers who lead the fight in the regime’s war of extermination against the dissidents.
At first I wasn’t sure that this was really for me. I like SF but at first glance this seemed a little too military, like Call of Duty meets Starship Troopers. But as I read on I began to see there was a lot more to it. Echo is superbly realised, with layers of history, politics, religion, and spirituality. Approaching Shatter is not just about Atriya’s fighting prowess, his inner journey is far more important. I found the writing interesting, the action is very well described with an economy that keeps the pace moving, yet every now and then there is a complexity that lifts the story to another level, for example:
The ineffable pressure of an obscure sentience hell-bent on snatching away his cancerous peace.
Which was one of those sentences I read twice then wrote it down because I liked it so much.
It’s quite short at about 47,000 words but it felt right for me. I was able to read it pretty much in one go which makes the book work like a film, you kind of get an instant hit. When I finished it I thought “That was good”. I’m looking forward to the next in the series.