A Chaotic Series – Reading about “Fugitives”

Like I said in part 1, you can’t really rank the individual books of this series, you have to look at the thing as a whole.  However, for those interested, here’s the listing of tropes involved in the series (you’ll have to scroll down).

So I’ll just be rambling at this point about the first two books.

Trilogies seems to generally follow 2 patterns:

  1. First part is quite good, but the second is excellent, followed by a third that’s so bad, everyone pretends to ignore it.  This is most often seen in unplanned trilogies (ex. Spider-man, Star Wars [original set])
  2. First and third parts are the most important.  The second is often forgettable.  In fact, you could probably skip it (ex. almost any trilogy by Richard A Knaak qualifies) as nothing revealed in the 2nd part is that important to the third, or you would be able to fill in the details yourself just from context or guessing.

Here, as one large work, the Chronicles of Chaos follow story building exceptionally well.  The first established the rules, helped us get familiar with this other world such that by the second, the author can begin playing with the characters and world without confusing or losing the reader.

But all that I can talk about in the conclusion.  Instead, let’s talk about something very impressive from Mr Wright: the salvation of Mary Sue.

Oh Mary Sue… what a long history you have.  Apparently she first gained her name in 1974 with popularity rising and falling, though I don’t think she achieved the notoriety that she has with the publication of the twilight series.  Wait a second…

Twilight: First book published in 2005
Chaos: First book published in 2005

The single worst instance of Mary Sue and the single best instance.  And which one gains the greater fame and movies?  I tell you, reader, there is no justice in the world.  (Or Satan’s in charge and delights in our misery.)

Actually, these comparisons are apt, because where every bit of the characters of twilight fail (at least what I’ve gathered from the movies and pop culture osmosis), the chaos orphans succeed.  For instance, why are the protagonists so special?  Why do they have their powers?  With Bella… not told at all.  The orphans?  There are very good and logical reasons within their universe to explain their specialness and abilities.  Why does so much of the world seem to revolve and warp around Bella & Edward?  Not only does the entire universe revolve around the orphans, but it and the warping tendencies that happen around them are tied into part of the reasons why they’re so special (and it’s really cool once you figure it out).  The bad guys of the twilight series seem only a threat because the protagonists handicap themselves.  Meanwhile, while you think there would be no drama or challenge for the orphans, their situation seems hopeless, that is how powerful and threatening their enemies are.  In twilight, you knew nothing would happen to Bella & Edward.  Here?  Well you know the orphans won’t die, and yet you still feel dread and fear at their fates.  When was the last time you read a story where the author made it explicit that the characters involved can’t die, but still put you through gut-wrenching suspense?

And I’m not just sucking up to the author (if I was, I’d be going over the top with silly hyperbole).  You can tell he’s worked hard at this book and seeks to earn your enjoyment and appreciation of this story.  It’s rare to find many authors who put this much love and effort into their stories and worlds (or at least, I’ve had terribly luck in picking some out).  Trust me, my fellow geeks and nerds: this series is written by one of us, and he’s not pandering to us, either.  If you have good taste (and you must, else why would you be reading me*?), get this series, and read it.

Now to finish up the last book.

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*see?  Over the top, silly hyperbole.

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5 thoughts on “A Chaotic Series – Reading about “Fugitives”

  1. You’re right – there is no justice in the world.

    However, I’m not so sure I want yet another good book series raped and ruined by some film-director. Call me cynical, I don’t care – I *know* I’m cynical.
    But the fact remains that whenever filmmakers get their grubby little paws on a successful book, there’s a 98% chance that they’ll screw it up. Harry Potter and Percy Jackson, to name but two.

    “Let’s talk about Fight Club!” I hear you say. Let’s not. Fight Club falls into the remaining 2% in that both the book and the movie were brilliant. Fight Club is one of the most famous exceptions, methinks.

    When we bookworms think of something as “really good”, we will probably classify the movie based on it as “a bit of a let-down”… and when we classify a book/series of books as “absolutely awesome”, the movie/s based on it will most likely leave us screaming “what a steaming pile of shit *is* this?!”

    So yeah – I know how you feel, deeply wanting to see a trilogy that you clearly love come alive on the big screen, starring some of your favorite actors and probably also displaying some ground-breaking special effects – but Hollywood has disappointed us so many times it’s not even funny. I, for one, really hope no one (except maybe Nolan or Whedon) *ever* makes movies out of the Rose of the Prophet-trilogy, which is one my personal all-time favorites. Because the animated Dragonlance-movie, also based on a Weis & Hickman-series, was sickeningly bad.

    Having said that; Nate, you have good taste. Up until now, I have never even heard of this Wright-guy, but now I’ll make sure to put him on my (very long) reading list.

    Also, are the orphans immortal or what?

    • I won’t comment too much on your movie rant since that could spoil a post I’m wanting to do later. My main point was that this series deserves twice the recognition Twilight got.

      However, I will add that the orphans aren’t… exactly immortal. But I won’t say no more less I spoil it. Because a lot of the appeal of the first book is figuring out just what the heck these people are and what’s going on.

  2. Yeah, I guess that does kinda count as a full-fledged rant. Sorry, buddy. But you’re right – why is a series that is actually nothing more than a bad fanfiction-slash-acid-dream far more popular than some other series that is actually very good? And I look forward to that post you’re talking about.
    😉

    Ah, so you start out not knowing anything and then you learn more and more the deeper you go in? Kind of like Lost? Awesome…

    One more thing; what do you mean he’s *not* pandering to us?

  3. Nate, I must read this. Thanks for letting me know about it. It seems like teh awesome. I love stuff where everything’s a mindscrew that makes sense in the end.

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