Orphans of Chaos

Reviewer: Kat Allen

Author: John Wright

Published: 2005

Reviewed: 2006-02-17

Publisher: Tor

Wow. Oh wow.

I really liked the "Golden Oecumene" series, but I think I actually
liked the main character in this one more. Brian pointed out to me
that this is the first time Wright's used a female protagonist, but he
really does get into her head pretty well. She's not every woman, but
she's certainly one I can imagine. None of Wright's characters are
flat, but they're not rounded either---the best way I can explain is
that they're like polyhedrons with millions and millions of faces, so
that they look real until you get close enough to see the god-faces
where power overwhelms their apparent humanity.

I can't wait for the second book, not only to see what happens to
Amelia (whom I really like) but to see whether she can free Miss Daw
and to see what effect it will have on the five "children" that Vanity
is not of Chaos.

There's something almost guilty about enjoying this book. It has some
of the same emotional overtones as the romance novels written for
teenagers, although it's much more complex and better written. I
suspect it can be enjoyed on a lot of levels---I was able to place
only maybe half of the mythos-elements that I noticed, and I suspect I
missed some. The Greek gods were pretty familiar, but the meeting at
the big table (which clearly means something itself, though I don't
know what) had way more going on than I could really figure out. I
didn't miss out, though---the mythic elements were enriching, but not
essential to the story, which is a neat trick.