The Order War by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is, by any definition, a wonderful series that is set up in a way to define and redefine the conflicts of magic between Order and Chaos. It probably would not be remotely as interesting a read had it been written in a strictly chronological order, however. If these had been released in chronological order, then I'm certain that the grand reveals would have come across as rather cheap rather than shocking and rather amazingly thoughtful.
I like it very much this way. We get vast happenings out of order, seeing the results of huge cataclysms after the fact only to later get their inceptions. It's like getting to time-travel back to many mythical pasts to see what they were really like. Or to discover that a humble beginning can always hide a rather nasty surprise.
These plots have all be individually wonderful and sometimes shocking. Even so, they're always in service to the greater theme even if they're not explicitly vocalized. We already got that in the first novel. The trick here is to find the true balance, and that's never something that can be set in amber.
The more chaos in the world, the more powerful the order, and vice-versa, and the solution is never easy. In this book's case, it's settled explosively. I chortled in glee during several tank scenes.
Well worth the read. Quite satisfying.
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