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:
- 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])
- 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.
*see? Over the top, silly hyperbole.