Dissension (Echo Hunter 367) by Stacey Berg


Read January 2017
Recommended for fans of kick-ass women
 ★     ★     ★     ★    1/2

It is not always easy to say why some books spark our interest, is it? In retrospect, I’m not actually clear on why I added this book to my list, and even less so why I bought it. I know a quartet of reviews from friends at SpecFic drew my attention to it, and a Kindle sale undoubtedly made it an easier choice. I think it is the lure of the elusive strong female character, a woman with determination and discipline coupled with my fondness for the post-apocolypse genre that sucked me in.

I normally do a brief summary in my reviews because my memory is so unreliable, but I think this is one of those books that is unique enough to need no triggers. How to describe it? The set-up reminded me of the tv show Dark Angel

crossed with the setting and world-building of A Canticle for Leibowitz.

The blurb hints at a romance, but it isn’t a romantic book about two people meeting, falling in love, yada yada, and if you expect that, you’ll be disappointed. It’s mostly one of those journeys of self-discovery of a kick-ass woman in a fast-moving plot.

“If she pinned his hand against the jamb it would be a simple matter to snap his elbow with a quick strike. The temptation was so shocking that it froze her in place. Loro saw her hesitate and misunderstood. ‘Good.'”

Berg did an amazing job, really. She drew me in with the setting, locked me in with the character and kept the action and plotting moving with the potential seeds of social–and perhaps personal–revolution. That it dovetailed with discovery, self-reliance and perhaps, love, was surprising. By the end, I think the reader knows what is inevitable, but it is no less moving for that.

“The cityens who were left were like the scavengers in the desert, crawling among the ruins with no thought of what had been lost and no goal greater than the day’s necessities. Only the Church remembered, and dreamed to make men more than they once were.”

In some ways, it reminded me a little–and just a little–of the Kate Daniels books in that there is a nice balance of character-building and plotting with a lead character that is forced into situations where she has to think things through instead of merely complete missions. A lot of the world-building is implied, built by the reader in bits and pieces. Personally, I’ve always loved the more organic approach of world-building (who thinks about where they live every day in a clear, descriptive fashion?), and I found that while much of it clarified, I’m still left with a lingering sense of curiosity (as is Echo, I think).

Overall, very well written. It’s also worth noting that there is a nice sense of ethical complexity to it, as it would have been easy to vilify one side or another. Berg has made it to my ‘authors to watch’ list.

About thebookgator

avid reader and Goodreads reviewer looking for a home.
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8 Responses to Dissension (Echo Hunter 367) by Stacey Berg

  1. Karl says:

    Another nice review, thank you, Ethical complexity ?

    • thebookgator says:

      Yes, it’s rather easy to make the Church one thing or the other, and those opposing it the opposite (for instance in Dark Angle, initially the gene manipulators–the govt–was horrible because they controlled the kids and made them into soldiers. The people that were for their freedom were heroes). It becomes quite a bit more complex by the end, which I appreciate.

  2. Mimi says:

    I looked up the wrong Stacey Berg (Stacy Berg) and almost got a self/indie-published book/pamphlet. Good thing I remembered the Harper Collins logo from your review and got the right book lol.

  3. neotiamat says:

    “(who thinks about where they live every day in a clear, descriptive fashion?)”

    *raises hand*

    Hi! My name is Mikhail, and I’m a recovering historian.

    More seriously, I will say that I’ve been known to randomly lecture people on bits of local history, the minutia of academic politics, or interesting events from world history. It seems to be an occupational hazard, most of the other professors or teachers I know also fall into lecture mode easily — though it might be a chicken-and-egg situation, where people who like to tell other people stuff gravitate to teaching careers.

    Anyway, I will have to put this on my to-read list.

    • thebookgator says:

      Ha! Lecture mode, as you so term it, is definitely a hazard of a knowledge-acquiring personality. I don’t think about the history of a place very much (mainly being in mid-U.S. where local history is about 300 years and then changes to archeology in relation to Native settlements). But ask me anything about biology and I’ll swing into action ;D

      I suspect you’d like it, although possibly not as much as I did.

      • neotiamat says:

        There is an excellent and very appropriate Russian saying I am fond of, which translates roughly into “Everyone goes crazy in their own special way.”

  4. Pingback: Regeneration by Stacey Berg. Rejuvenating. | book reviews forevermore

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