The Young Woman and the Sea

EchoSeaAccording to the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, 80 percent of marine pollution comes from land. That’s why the Sub-Mariner and Godzilla are always declaring war on the surface dwellers. They’re tired of living in an ocean filled with discarded smartphone batteries, K-Cups, glow sticks, and Powerball tickets.

Author Matthew Phillion acknowledges this situation in the introduction of his new book about a young girl who discovers she’s an Atlantean princess. “You can’t write a story about Atlantis,” says Phillion, “without addressing humanity’s impact on the oceans, and where the future lies for all of us.”

He’s right. There’s always going to be tension between Homo sapiens and Homo mermanus as long as whale hunting and offshore drilling continue. “We let the land-dwellers defecate all over our kingdom,” says Reina, the Queen-in-waiting of Atlantis. “They destroyed our waters, irradiated our farmlands, and dredged up poison from beneath the ocean floor. We need to stop them before they destroy the world and take us with it.”

There’s been strife between surface dwellers and ocean tribes throughout history. But this time the Atlanteans are deadly serious. They’ve stolen four nuclear submarines and they’re prepared to rain fire from below.

Now it’s up to Princess Echo and her merry band of misfits to stop WWIII. By her side is Barnabas, a low-level magician and treasure hunter, Artem (not Artemis), the last son of Themyscira, and her quippy best friend Genke Lee. On their way to Atlantis, the gang visits a barbarous pirate island, an island of sea nymphs, and the Island of Unwanted Things. Their journey across the seven seas is a picaresque adventure filled with a melting pot of oddball fairy tale creatures.

Echo and the Sea is a slim and fast-paced book. Overall we liked it very much. But honestly we wish there was more of it. There’s a lot of untapped potential off the page. Author Phillion could easily have expanded his story to include all sorts of substantive backstory details. Usually high fantasy adventures like this inspire epic storytelling that spans multiple volumes.

But we’re sure Phillion will revisit the world of Echo and her scuba gang in the near future. It is, after all, connected to his ongoing Indestructibles universe. Maybe he’ll fill in the gaps as he deems necessary. Believe us, there’s still a lot of nasty business to be sorted out between Atlantis and the surface dwellers. Marine pollution has been around for millennia and it isn’t going away anytime soon.

[Echo and the Sea / By Matthew Phillion / First Printing: June 2017 / ISBN: 9780997916539]

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