Available for Pre-Order The Rush’s Echo by Ginger Smith

The Rush’s Echo by Ginger Smith

Pb, £5.78

Reviewed by Sarah Deeming

The front cover for The Rush's Echo by Ginger Smith. There are two white lines running down the middle of the black page. There are a few stars dotted around. There is the head and shoulders of a woman on the upper left hand side of the page. Her face is lit up by a white light and her hair is pulled back in a ponytail. There is a man in the middle of the page at the bottom. He is sitting, his legs pulled up to his chin. There are chains around the man's feet and both the man and woman have white power lines running over their head.

The crew from the Loshad are back, travelling to the Mudar, hoping for tech that will help them prevent mass murder. The Coalition have the means to turn off all the vat soldiers not under their control, and the Mudar might have the tech to block the kill switch. But it isn’t as easy as that. The Mudar are distrustful of outsiders, there are secret Coalition agents working in the Opposition with orders to disrupt them, and Vivi needs the help of her abusive ex to make their plans work. With so much at stake and surrounded by enemies, will the Loshad’s crew make it to the final battle?

I really enjoyed The Rush’s Edge. It was a strong story with 3-dimensional characters, a sweet will they/won’t they romance, and a tortured hero struggling to break away from his past. It ticked all my boxes, and it finished with the team searching for the Mudar, a technologically advanced race with the medical tools to put Ty back together after his back was broken. I doubt I was the only reader left wanting more. However, I felt a little let down by the sequel.

All the characters I enjoyed were there, and the plot was sufficiently high-stakes that I cared whether they succeeded, but it felt like it took a long time to get to any action. Many things happened, but they didn’t necessarily drive the plot forward. I also found the dialogue distracting. There was too much of it, meaning there was a lot of conversation repetition, which, coupled with the slow pace, left me hungry for something to happen.

However, I can look past the unnecessary dialogue and events. I got to spend more time with much-loved characters. What made the book flat for me was the romantic element, which is purely a personal thing. I’m not known for reading romance, but I enjoy a romance side plot if enough blockers are thrown at the characters to make it hard for them to get their desire. But once a couple is together and happy, the excitement is gone for me. Without the tension of whether Hal and Vivi made it together as a couple, The Rush’s Echo lost a little something.

That isn’t to say that the book doesn’t have merit. Smith’s creation of vat, men and women grown in a laboratory for the sole purpose of being soldiers, is an interesting one and full of moral and ethical challenges. This continues in The Rush’s Echo as the Coalition has the means to ‘turn off’ all the vats, thus destroying the Opposition in one go. They are also using vats to help spy on their brothers and sisters to find the Opposition. The exploration of when a creation becomes sentient, independent life is a relevant theme when we live in a world with AI bots, genetically modified crops and lab-grown body parts for transplant into people.

If you enjoyed The Rush’s Edge as I did, then I’m confident you’ll enjoy The Rush’s Echo too and will find the ending gives enough closure that you’ll be satisfied.

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