Debris by Jo Anderton – Advanced Review [Bane of Kings]
Bane of Kings reviews Debris, the first novel in the Veiled Worlds series, published by Angry Robot books and written by Jo Anderton.
“Jo Anderton takes centre stage with style. An original, unmissable, unputdownable novel with fantastic cover art.” ~The Founding Fields
I’ve been writing a lot of reviews recently, and this is mainly due to the fact that I’m in the mood, on a break from education, and have read a lot of interesting books recently. So, let’s start the ball rolling again with Debris by Jo Anderton.
Way back before I was even a member of this Blog, in September last year, Commissar Ploss posted this: http://www.thefoundingfields.com/2010/09/angry-robot-signs-jo-anderton-for.html, which was an announcement by Angry Robot Publishers, informing the world that they had signed Jo Anderton, a debut novelist, for a “manga-inspired science fantasy epic”.
The amazing cover art, as shown above, got me hooked on this novel before I’d even read the blurb, and when I had – I only wanted to read it even more. The opener of the Veiled Worlds Series introduces us to Tanyana, a female who has, after an accident, been thrown from the world she was brought up in, to the world in which she knows nothing about. Originally an architect, she is disappointed, nay – distraught to learn that she is now no more than a garbage collector, one of the lowliest ranks of the society that she lives in.
However, as the novel progresses, we soon learn that there is more to this ‘fall’ than meets the eye. Tanyana has been steered towards this new life by something that could threaten the world itself, especially when she learns that Debris is more important than anyone could guess.
Debris itself deals with losing everything one has, and Anderton isn’t afraid to put Tanyana out of her comfort zones every now and again, and in a single act of inconceivable betrayal – she’s gone from the head of her own nine point circle, among the highest of the high, to the lowliest of the low.
Not long after she’s given a suit to help her collect the Debris, she soon meets her team. Introducing the characters Kichlan and Lad, who bear similarities to George and Lennie from Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck, who look after Tanyana and help her cope with her ‘fall’, they provide a wonderful supporting cast and add a different viewpoint to the situation that Tanyana finds herself in.
Anderton writes entirely in first person, allowing the reader to be subject to bias from Tanyana’s point of view, which is kind of the main flaw with only first person novels, as the reader learns as the star of the novel learns. It also means that secondary characters such as Kichlan and Lad don’t get as much page time, and it means that we only learn about their characters when they’re with Tanyana. The same with other Debris collectors, really – you only learn about their backgrounds from Tanyana’s questions.
The author takes a perhaps unique approach to magic in this novel, and combines science-fiction with fantasy pretty well. The magic system is well thought out, for not all of it is used for battles – in fact, hardly any is – there is no, epic fight ala Lord of the Rings in the pages of the first book whatsoever.
We don’t learn much about the world that Debris is set in, but this allows plenty to be expanded upon in the next book in the series, which I will shall be eagerly anticipating.
Debris is set in a dystopian-like future where what the law says goes, no matter what Tanyana tries to do about it, especially when she’s not even given a chance to defend herself, which puts our character in a situation that there’s no way of getting out from.
If there’s a problem that I had with Debris is that there’s too much description. Anderton describes every detail about her characters, Tanyana in particular, which bogs down the pace of the storyline and drags it out a bit, which is a flaw that could easily be avoided.
The novel itself opens up many questions which all too often are found unanswered, allowing the reader frustrated and left with the hope that they’ll be answered in the next instalment, which has the title of Suited, and follows on directly from the end of Debris.
More Veiled Worlds: Debris, Suited (Out 2o12)