cover image Chaos Unleashed

Chaos Unleashed

Drew Karpyshyn. Del Rey, $16 trade paper (416p) ISBN 978-0-345-54937-2

The torpid final volume of the Chaos Born trilogy (after The Scorched Earth) reintroduces its array of archetypal characters and multiple narrative threads for new readers, but as a consequence, the plot moves glacially slowly for those not already invested. Reader involvement is hampered by bland, obvious dialogue. Mage Keegan, warrior Scythe, and visionary Jerrod try to overcome exhaustion and depression while deciphering the best way to use magical talismans to oppose their foe, the demigod Daemron. Their wounded compatriot Cassandra guards the talisman crown, accepting aid from sensible healer Methodis, Chaos mage Rexol, and brutish pirate Bo-Shing. Meanwhile, warrior nomad Shalana and exiled Danaan prince Vaaler meander across the fantasy landscape, semi-accidentally building an army as they seek to aid Keegan and face down generic zealot Yasmin. The welcome reunion of Keegan and Scythe with Cassandra is marred by a brief, tension-free final showdown that does little to salvage a lackluster narrative. Agent: Ginger Clark, Curtis Brown Literary Agency. (Oct.)