Tuesday, 18 October 2011

Book Review: Debris by Jo Anderton

Pros: fascinating world, strong female protagonist

Cons: slow pacing

Tanyana is an extremely talented architect, manipulating pions to create a huge sculpture of Grandeur for the Veche, when disaster occurs.  Angry red pions, a kind she's never seen before, attack the statue and her, causing her to fall from a terrible height.  When she awakens, her ability to see pions has disappeared, instead she can now see debris, the by-product of pion work.  No one but her believes that her fall was anything but an accident.

I don't generally like character driven stories.  I find that half way through I get bored with the protagonist and want to see more plot.  Debris did not have that problem.  Tanyana Vladha is a strong, and strong-willed, protagonist.  She's feisty without being bi*chy, able to ask for, and accept, help from others, even if she doesn't particularly want to.  And despite the changes in her life she never forgets what happened, and never stops trying to find out more - advancing the plot just enough to keep things interesting.

Having said that, the pacing is fairly slow, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in the world.  This didn't bother me much, as I liked the characters and there was enough plot to keep me interested, but I suspect others will find that the story drags at points. 

I was a little surprised by the nature of her relationship with Devich, the technician who helps her become a debris collector and thought Tanyana made a few unwise decision with regards to her life post accident.  But given her trauma, it's understandable that she'd want to hold onto the things of her success and fall for a guy who's understanding and convinced she hasn't really fallen from her former position.

The publisher pegs this as science fiction.  The only real science could be the idea that pions are atoms, but their manipulation, the collection of debris and the world itself feel more like fantasy.  

It's a promising debut.

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