Review copy courtesy of Capricorn Link
Angry Robot, 2011
Synopsis- In a far future where technology is all but indistinguishable from magic, Tanyana is one of the elite. She can control pions, the building blocks of matter, shaping them into new forms using ritual gestures and techniques. The rewards are great, and she is one of most highly regarded people in the city. But that was before the “accident”. Stripped of her powers, bound inside a bizarre powersuit, she finds herself cast down to the very lowest level of society. Powerless, penniless and scarred, Tanyana must adjust to a new life collecting “debris”, the stuff left behind by pions. But as she tries to find who has done all of this to her, she also starts to realize that debris is more important than anyone could guess. Debris is a stunning new piece of Science Fantasy, which draws in themes from Japanese manga, and classic Western SF and Fantasy to create this unique, engrossing debut from the very exciting young author Jo Anderton.
Review- Debris is the first novel in The Veiled World series by Australian Sci-Fi author, Jo Anderton. In a futuristic setting, Tanyana is an architect and pion binder leading a circle of nine other elite. But when on the brink of a circle process, Tanyana falls from grace. She’s determined to find out the truth behind her ‘accident’ but first she must make her way in the city’s underground as a Debris collector. She is now at the bottom of the food chain and is mourning the loss of status, wealth and expertise. Her new role requires a painful suit fitted to her body that she must learn to utilize. Tanyana joins a team of Debris collector and discovers friendship and new challenges in a world she once looked down upon.
I really struggled to persevere with this lengthy novel for a number of reasons and though the last 100 pages did pick up, this book just didn’t do it for me. Firstly, I really couldn’t get my head around what pions and debris were. I think pions are tiny particles, like bits of matter while debris is like the garbage matter that the collectors store in jars. When it came to Tanyana’s suit I found it difficult to visualise what on earth it looked like and what her injuries were. In averting information dumping the author failed to explain terms and processes that were crucial to the plot and left me in a haze of confusion for a majority of the novel.
The other difficulty with Debris is that it’s written in first person from Tanyana’s perspective. And to be frank, Tanyana was not a likeable character. She’s selfish and self-pitying and though it’s understandable she’d be upset by her change in status I really only got a glimpse of the person she was before in the first scene of the book and for the remainder she was someone I didn’t really like. Her relationship with Devich who makes the suits was quite flat and I just didn’t trust him from the beginning. Her friendship with Kichlin was far more believable and engaging- they overcame their differences and learnt to trust one another.
Despite the intriguing premise and a local author contribution to the Sci-Fi genre, Debris was an overall disappointing read for me as I didn’t care for the protagonist. I expect Tanyana will continue to grow in the sequel to Debris, titled Suited- but I don’t intend to read any more of this series. However, fans of this genre may be able to overlook some of the flaws of the story as the world-building does hold a lot of appeal.
“This book was not for me”
Debris can be purchased @ Fishpond and other leading book retailers.
About the author: Joanne Anderton lives in Sydney, Australia, with her husband and too many pets. By day she is a mild-mannered marketing coordinator for an Australian book distributor. By night, weekends and lunchtimes she writes dark fantasy, horror a little bit of science fiction and a whole lot of weird stuff in between.
Her short fiction has been published in a variety of places, including Aurealis, Andromeda Spaceways Inflight Magazine and Midnight Echo. She was shortlisted for the 2009 Aurealis Award for best young adult short story.
Her debut novel, Debris (Book One the Veiled Worlds Series) was published by Angry Robot Books in 2011, followed by Suited in 2012.
This book was read as part of the AWW2012 challenge and the eclectic reader challenge (SciFi):