What can I say? The plot is excellent, the prose is well written, and the characters have facinating abilities. And yet, and yet... well... I think the problem comes in that Wright, in the end, has some difficulty writing a female protagonist. She's never quite believable, especially considering her reaction to the perverse situations that Wright constantly insists on throwing her into.
Five children at a rather odd boarding school somewhere in England all discover they have 'magic' powers. After learning they are not human, their powers seem to manifest, leading them upon a quest to find out who they really are.
About one hundred pages from the end of this book I finally gave up the challenge after realising I just did not have the knowledge of either mythology or science to keep up with the story. If the author could have simplified it just a little I might have made it. I have read many good reviews of this book however, which prompted me to pick it up in the first place. I'm sure others may enjoy it more than I.
The book description makes this sound like a book most especially for teenagers but it isn't. Complex, weaving the mythology of several peoples, it will keep you guessing for half of the book. If you know lots about several mythological realms you might catch on fast. This book is set in the current timeframe. Not a "lite" read.
Didn't even finish it. Felt like I got 200 pages of character but no plot.
After a slow, iterative and expository first 30 pages, the story takes off at a gallop - and a rough and jolting ride ensues. If you have a good grasp of classic mythology and a fair appreciation of metaphysics, you'll do fine. If lacking either of these, the reading might be a chore, but worth it after you've sorted all the intricacies of the rich world the author creates. The suspense does draw you into the story - who are these children, how did they come to be imprisoned and by whom, and how will they manifest their legacy 'powers' are well-paced through the book and its sequels. I read and re-read my Edith Hamilton's Mythology to pieces as a young teen, so I really enjoyed this series.
I thought I knew something about Greek mythology, but still found it a bit difficult to follow who some of the characters were supposed to be. But still an enjoyable and imaginative novel, and I'll read the next one in the trilogy. If you like far future sci-fi, check out the author's Golden Age trilogy. His imagination is astounding.
ORPHANS OF CHAOS is the beginning book in a trilogy. It is about five children who live together as the only students in a remote British boarding school. They've lived there for their entire lives and have never been beyond the nearby village. As they grow older, the children begin manifesting odd powers. They begin to suspect that they aren't exactly human. And neither are their teachers.
I found a lot to like about ORPHANS OF CHAOS. It has several really neat magical powers. For example, one of the children is able to will secret passsages into existance. It also plays alot with Greek and Norse mythology, which is fun.
The book does have some flaws, though. Wright does not have a lot of compassion on his readers. There isn't any kind of glossary to provide the unititiated reader with background info about the various gods and mythological creatures. He also feels free to combine science with the mythology, so there's talk of Greek gods on the same page as discussions of singularities, the Big Bang, and multiple dimensions.
One of the biggest disappointments in the story was in its delivery. A lot of the story's action happens about two thirds of the way through the book, and then there's a very tedious multi-chapter portion of exposition. Part of it is a character relating prior events to the narrating character. That's a big pet peeve of mine in novels. The other, and significantly longer portion of this section described a lengthy period of the narrator's imprisonment. Reading about how bored a person is while they sit in a dungeon cell was definitely boring.
That being said, ORPHANS OF CHAOS was a fairly entertaining opening chapter in a trilogy. It ends on a cliffhanger, so I'm interested in seeing what happens to the characters next.
This book is recommended to fans of slipstream who are looking for a new series to read. This isn't a book that stands on its own.
Maybe it was because I read this book entirely during downtime at work and therefore only in spurts over a month, but I really hated this book. It's told from the point of view of a teenage girl, but other than the fact that she says she's a girl, you'd never know it from the way she thinks. She has grown up in an orphanage with four other orphans, but you'd never know these people had known each other all their lives from the way they treat each other. They're all obsessed with sex. The main character in particular likes it rough and the boys she's grown up with like siblings are happy to oblige. Throughout the entire story she has no idea what's going on, and since it's being told from her point of view, the reader has no idea what's going on either. We are introduced to myriad characters who are mostly from Greek or Roman mythology and have multiple unrememberable names and only very minor roles, or maybe even no role at all other than to be introduced. I found it impossible to keep track of them all and what their powers were, where they were from, and what their interests in the main character were. There's also a rather interesting bit of physics here regarding multiple dimensions and whatnot, but this part is too briefly touched upon and since the narrator doesn't understand this either, it gets lost in the roiling whirlpool of minor characters. To top it off, this ends on a major cliffhanger. I feel like I struggled through this for nothing, but there's no way I'm going to search out the next two books in this series. This book was a nebula award finalist--it must've been slim pickings that year.
I really enjoyed this novel - but I have more than a passing knowledge of Greek, Latin, and the accompanying myths. I *loved* that this book assumes you actually have a working brain.
I almost didn't read it because of the blurbs about Narnia and Harry Potter on the covers. However, this work has NOTHING in common with those. There an interesting sexual element underpinning much of the work, and as I said before this work was meant to read with your brain turned on - it's not mindless entertainment.
I can't wait to read the next one!
The story is awesome, not a dull moment in the telling. I enjoyed the character and their different personalities. I can't wait to read the next in the series.
Highly imaginative account of 5 children raised in an English orphanage out on an isolated moor. The children are the only students in the orphanage/boarding school, and there are about a dozen teachers and staff. Or are the staff jailers instead of teachers . . . Why don't any of the children remember their parents? Who ARE their parents? Why are some of the children starting to develop paranormal powers? Are they even human?
Really enjoyed the Golden Age trilogy by John Wright so I thought I'd try his fantasy. Loved it.
I loved the series. The characters were to the old mythologies but the way they used there abilities were very much in the manner of superheroes. Some of it got a little brainy for me but not enough to affect the story. The five main characters were awesome. Just in my opinion a great all around trilogy.