Reviews from Lord Taylor of Glencoe
Chaos: Ted Dekker, March 29—April 1, 2016
My rating: ♦♦◊◊◊
To be fair to Dekker, he puts some effort into Chaos. It feels like, really, Chaos is the story he wanted to tell. When the idea for the Lost Books came to him, it seems this is the bit he started with. Before padding it out into a six-part series, that is.
The final moments of Renegade saw our three surviving heroes zap themselves (bear with me) back in time to a future contemporary Las Vegas. And if that confuses you, it definitely confuses them. But it’s some twenty years after the events of the original 2006—2011 Circle saga, which apparently all happened in 2010. Thomas Hunter is (was) a big deal over there. Quite where he’s sodded off to is a mystery, since he didn’t bodily leave either reality, but never mind.
The bones of the story are actually quite good. Thrown back to the 2030’s, Johnis and Silvie are in pursuit of however many books they don’t have (it’s quite hard to keep up), while Alucard and his mysterious new glamorous assistant Monica would quite like them too.
There’s a couple of pretty decent twists in there too, and one particularly inventive and clever use of the books by Johnis. It’s in this middle passage the Dekker of Black, Red and White resurfaces. Let’s not forget the History chronicles were once decent. There’s another revisitation of Paradise, but for real this time instead of a simulation. Characters and events from the Paradise Novels show up. In a lot of ways, it’s Chaos that pulls the whole universe together – even acknowledging the role of Barsidious White in House.
It’s a shame, then, that it’s still quite terrible. The first third of the book is obsessed with Johnis being obsessed with a Chevy in a garage. It all builds to a thoroughly odd sequence where they’re suspected of being criminals and/or bonkers, that’s inexplicably resolved all of a sudden. The middle is alright, actually, save for the usual Dekker-esque melodrama, especially with the ‘smouldering’ affections of our leads. And then – the end! Oh my goodness, the end.
This is the 17th Ted Dekker book I’ve read. Seventeen of them, in 11 years, and this is without question the worst ending I have ever encountered by more distance than that between the ears of whichever cop let Johnis and Silvie go. I give no spoiler, and I kid you not, it ends with a quasi-resolution and the words “and that was it. Or was it?”
As cliffhangers go, it’s practically the centre of an island of concrete with no cliff as far as the eye can see. I could not be less enticed into enduring the fifth book in this series, other than for completeness, if I knew I’d have my toenails pulled out while I did so. Yet, I’m sure I shall.