BRIEF SYNOPSIS: Tanyana’s position as a respected pion architect comes to an abrupt end, forcing her to become one of the dregs of society, a debris collector.
PROS: Fascinating world; strong female protagonist.
CONS: Slow pacing.
BOTTOM LINE: It’s a promising debut novel.
Tanyana is an extremely talented architect, manipulating pions to create a huge sculpture of Grandeur for the Veche, when disaster occurs. Angry red pions, a kind she’s never seen before, attack the statue and her, causing her to fall from a terrible height. When she awakens, her ability to see pions has disappeared, instead she can now see debris, the by-product of pion work. No one but her believes that her fall was anything but an accident.
Such is the premise of Jo Anderton’s debut novel, Debris, a book which the publisher pegs as science fiction. The only real science here could be the idea that pions are atoms, but their manipulation, the collection of debris and the world itself feel more like fantasy.
Character-driven stories usually don’t appeal to this reviewer; it’s easy to be bored with the protagonist by the halfway point, inciting a desire to see more plot. Debris did not have that problem. Tanyana Vladha is a strong, and strong-willed, protagonist. She’s feisty without being b*tchy, able to ask for, and accept, help from others, even if she doesn’t particularly want to. And, despite the changes in her life, she never forgets what happened and never stops trying to find out more – actions that advance the plot enough to keep things interesting.
The nature of Tanyana’s relationship with Devich, the technician who helps her become a debris collector, is surprising and Tanyana makes a few unwise decision with regards to her life post accident. But given her trauma, it’s understandable that she’d want to hold onto the things of her success and fall for a guy who’s understanding and convinced she hasn’t really fallen from her former position.
Although the book was enjoyable overall, the pacing of it can be fairly slow at times. On the positive side, this allows the readers to fully immerse themselves in the world. But the pacing wasn’t too much of a bother; the characters were ultimately likable and there was enough in the plot to hold one’s interest.
In the end, the release of Debris marks a promising debut.