Sunday, October 30, 2011

Book Review: Debris

Debris, by Jo Anderton, takes place in an unusual world that could be ours in the far future, or it could be another world entirely. This is a science fiction world with hints of steampunk and fantasy.

Tanyana lives the good life as a well-respected Architect. Using pions - particles of life that she can manipulate, and almost talk to - she build amazing creations. Pions are used throughout the world to build just about everything, from doorbells to the devices allowing carriages to float off the ground unaided. Tanyana's latest is a beautiful statue that comes crashing down around her and her team. Injured in the accident, her ability to control the pions is gone, and all she's left with is the ability to see and manipulate Debris. She's forced to become a collector - the poor, downtrodden, undercity-dwellers that have to meet quota in their collection of Debris. But as she learns about her new powers, the debris begins to act unusual, and Tanyana and her friends are caught up in the fight.

Tanyana is someone you have to get to know. Once she's fallen from her place in society, she struggles to continue to fit in within that world and resents her new profession, her new team, and her new life. As she learns about her new powers, she also slowly begins to suspect that her fall was not an accident and that there is much more to this world that anyone knows.

It's that little hint of conspiracy that really made this story work. People are punished for just talking to Tanyana. An ancient book seems to speak to her own predicament and that of her team. People back in her former life act like she's a pet project. Hints of higher technology are scattered throughout the story. And the Debris seems to have plans of it's own. That little hint of something more going on behind the curtains, of a secret we're not supposed to know, of a different world that is purposely kept hidden from the citizens of Tanyana's world.

It's a dark, grimy book. The lower levels where Tanyana's team works is ramshackle, riddled with puddles, and sewers, and creepy puppet-men following Tanyana.

Debris is an unusual, engaging story.

3.5 out of 5 stars.

An e-galley of Debris, by Jo Anderton, was provided to me by the publisher through NetGalley for review.

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