Some time in the near future, there are two Earths. They exist in the same time and place in alternate dimensions. An asteroid hit on Earth Two causes more than physical destruction. It also pushes some of the inhabitants of that Earth right into the path of the inhabitants of Earth One. On Earth One, they barely exist, fading to nothingness (hence the term Echo) if they are not fed. But feeding involves draining energy from Earth One’s inhabitants, just by touching them. This basic premise of Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher is quite singular and by itself, makes a great plot. But there is so much more to this novel!
Tess Caufield is the parapsychologist that makes contact with Jake, otherwise known as Echo 8. Tess becomes involved in the task force to study the Echos, risking her life to get close to Jake. But she needs to know everything about him if she can figure out how to help the Echos and protect the people they could harm.
FBI agent Ross McGinnis is assigned to protect Tess. They have a history where, in the past, they did not hit it off, but he will still do everything he can to keep Tess safe from Jake. Which is difficult because a) Tess is studying Jake and b) she likes him and wants to help him.
The relationship between Ross and Tess is a bit sticky in the first part of the book. There is no love at first sight in this book. I like how they get to know each other as they work together, getting past their dislikes and moving on to empathy, and then respect for each other, and eventually more. That more comes with difficulty and plenty of obstacles, including Jake. The emotional interaction between Ross and Tess and Jake is often intense, but does not overwhelm the storyline.
When I started writing this review, I had a hard time. Because there is so much going on in this book, it is difficult to comment on all the things I really liked about the story without a spoiler. This is not a simple plot and when Tess, and later Ross, allow Jake to feed off of them, a complex chain of events follows that spills over into both Earths. I was totally engrossed in this book as each new chapter brought some new complication beyond the basic premise. I love it when a book keeps zapping me with something new! And then effectively wraps up all those complications for a very satisfactory ending.
Speaking of things that are not simple, in Echo 8, Ms. Fisher talks physics. I mean physics beyond the year I took in college. And she makes me understand it, if on a very basic level. I may actually be a little smarter now! Then, Ms. Fisher applies physics to parapsychology and makes it plausible. Nicely done. And fascinating. This addition of scientific language and information made the story so much more than a romance in a futuristic setting and added substance to an already robust tale.
Echo 8 by Sharon Lynn Fisher is the first book I have read from this author, but it will not be the last. I found Echo 8 to be a complex, emotionally intense, scientifically speculative, fascinating story that I will not soon forget.
Genre: Science Fiction/Romance
Publication Date: February 3, 2015
Length: 280 pages
Blush Quotient: Pink
Smart Girls Rating: 5 Stars