cover image The Way into Chaos

The Way into Chaos

Harry Connolly. Radar Avenue, $15.99 trade paper (364p) ISBN 978-0-9898284-2-0

Connolly (the Twenty Palaces urban fantasy series) makes his first foray into crowdfunded self-publishing with this immersive, thrilling, and elf-free epic fantasy trilogy launch. Peradain is the capital of a loosely held feudal empire where the rulers hold a monopoly on magic and back it up with steel. On the day of a major festival, the city is invaded and overrun with monsters that rapidly spread across the country in a destructive wave. As the empire begins to falter, a small band of loyalists seeks a new spell that will defeat the beasts and restore the crown. The tightly written story alternately follows Tejohn Treygar, a senior warrior guarding the king, and Cazia Freewell, a 15-year-old student of magic. Connolly deftly moves the action across the countryside and explores the changing lives of soldiers, slaves, nobles, and nomads without being bogged down by politics. The high body count is unsurprising for the genre; less typical, and very welcome, are the egalitarian treatment of gender and the lack of sexual violence. This twisty, subversive novel will win Connolly a whole new set of fans. (BookLife)