The Chaos Balance by L.E. Modesitt Jr.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Following Fall of Angels both chronologically and in publication history, I'm both pleased and relieved to read this book. That's mostly because the publication history and the chronological order of this entire series is a bit all over the place.
Not a bad thing, mind you, but it takes some effort to keep it all aligned in the reader's heads. Fortunately, I broke down and pulled up some online guides to help me out.
Not that it really matters at this point. The story takes place two years after the previous novel and we follow the same main character, but this time he's kicked himself out of the home he had spent so much of his efforts to make.
Major themes so far have been the male/female equation, not showing either in perfect light, but as a constant flux -- almost a mirror to the whole Order/Chaos magic (also high-tech) balance that is described throughout the series. That is NOT to say that men are chaos and women are order or any such nonsense. There are many orders of order and chaos and anything like that would be too painfully obvious to make a good read.
This IS a good read, thankfully, and I really enjoyed how the author skewered Honor-based cultures.
If I am to be slightly annoyed by anything, it would have to be the now pretty-standard reliance on making main male characters who are pretty much universally hard-working, honor-driven, quiet, and internally-driven do-gooders who rarely think twice about sacrificing themselves for a greater good.
I mean, sure, the way I write this, you might assume that MOST heroes, in general, might fit at least parts of this description, but the ones I'm reading about are all pretty much perfectly stoic, closed-lipped, and are always working twice-as-hard as anyone else. Again, nice, and pretty damn admirable, but it's like ALL the VERY BEST Order mages who can accomplish miracles have almost exactly the same personalities. So. It begs the question. Does one have to have this personality type to be the best of the best Order mages?
It's neither here nor there. I'm still enjoying it a great deal and the full history of this place is fascinating as hell. Early history now, whereas one of the previous books happened to cap the end of the whole series. And yet, it's all still delicious.
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