Wednesday, October 25, 2006

ORPHANS OF CHAOS: Two Mir Thumbs Up!

Now that it's a mere matter of weeks to the release of book two in the Chaos series, I'd like to post a review to encourage y'all to buy the first and pre-order the second, FUGITIVES OF CHAOS. You can then spend a year yanking your hair out wondering what happens next and what wonders will unfold.

We can go bald together.

My review will have some slight (not dire) spoilers. Just a kind caveat:

ORPHANS OF CHAOS
by John C. Wright


Homer got reincarnated as a hot chick, who then met up with a younger Roger Zelazny (say, round the freaky seventies) and got down and dirty. Their love child is John C. Wright. Oh, and John Norman sent them a naughty and metallic baby shower gift, which was made up for by C. S. Lewis' British humor and Anglican prayers during the christening.

That's the gene pool and environment, I speculate, that nurtured this exciting "Boarding School Kids with Super Powers" story. Only this school ain't no Hogwarts. And these kids are much smarter and sexier than Harry and Hermione and Ron. This headmaster makes girls swoon, which I doubt Dumbledore ever managed. And these kids don't want to be at school. They want to escape.

But if they do, all hell (and heaven and Olympus and Elysium and Tartarus and multi-dimensions) will break loose. Havoc, folks, havoc.

If you like Greek mythology, smart writing, gorgeous prose, engrossing dialogue, science, and math (I pretty much blanked out at those equational bits, though my husband, the engineer, asked I read them aloud to him) all bound up with exciting plot turns and some boisterous fun--and quite a bit of dread and danger and adventure--you must get this book. But only if you are grown up enough to handle a bit of bawdiness. Oh, please, what teenagers didn't heave of bosom or become enamored of said bosoms, depending on sex or sexual orientation. Well, other than Jesus.

And maybe Jesus had a crush on that cute, wide-eyed girl next door whose Papa was a blacksmith. Ya never know.

Anyway, here's a bare bones synopsis~

Five kids who have forgotten where they came from and what their real names are, and who got to choose their own names (a source of some humor and characterizational insight ensues from this), start to push against the bounds of their imprisonment. Boundaries, actually. (And keep in mind, that these boundaries ain't simple ones like fences and landmarks. Magic plays a part. Perception and powers, too.) They've reached a point in their maturation where their abilities are manifesting. Teenage curiosity is no small thing, and rebellion is natural when one's life is so regimented.

The gifted five begin to learn bits and pieces, and then more, and then a lot more, about the nature of their captivity and of their captors. This is where knowing your Greek mythology pays off in spades (the hints during the early chapters). But take heart, eventually, Amelia (the narrator) tells you outright what's up (from her POV and discoveries) and you'll be caught up nicely.

The scenes where the kids use their gifts are exhilirating. Especially Quentin and Amelia. Most notably, Amelia, whose ability strengthens and expands and is marvelous to read.

I don't want to give away plot points. I don't want to dilute the absolute pleasure you will have turning the pages of the exciting tale. But do know that you will be breathless by the last paragraph and want to bribe someone close to the author to get your hands on a draft of the next installments. And one more than one scene has a reverberating spiritual beauty, notably the one where the Compline recitation is used as a marker for passing seconds and another where a prayer is heard, and not just heard, but SEEN being heard. It's...stunning!

It's a pity both 2 and 3 don't come out before Christmas. Just as waiting for Potter 7 is an ordeal of sorts, waiting for Chaos 2 has been tough. and waiting for Chaos 3 will surely be nearly unbearable.

John C. Wright is a terrible, horrible, dreadful, awful man for ending on a cliffhanger. Shame on him for hooking me so utterly and leaving me flapping and hyperventilating in mid-air. But then, what does one expect from such creative parentage as Mama Homer and Papa Zelazny. (We try not to speak of Uncle "Gor". He scares the other children.)

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.

I have placed both ORPHANS and FUGITIVES in my sidebar. If you buy 'em, kindly use my portal, so I get some amazon points. THANKY.

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