Article first published as Book Review: ‘Hand of Chaos’ by J. Hamlet on Blogcritics.
“Hand of Chaos” by J. Hamlet is a dark fantasy novel written in present day. The main character Anna Wei is a cynical girl who for sure has a drinking problem. Hamlet describes Anna as having dysfunctional relationships and has coping mechanisms for her coping mechanisms. That pretty much says it all for Anna. With her history of one night stands and tons of hangovers, her personal life is pretty much one that doesn’t involved any type of commitment when it comes to relationships.
Anna also possesses arcane powers and with that, she works as part of a team for a clandestine government which she has to keep a secret. This secret professional life of hers proves to be hard when trying to lead a normal social life, having to make up stories about her day job as being a financial analysis for the government.
When I began reading “Hand of Chaos” it picked up well and lead right into character development. I really was digging Anna, even with all her dysfunction. I was able to relate to Anna in a big way, even though I don’t have any magical powers or lead a super secret life trying to save the world from meta-destruction. But Anna is just a regular person with commitment issues.
Just a touch on the theology portion of the book; Hamlet has created a fictional religion so to speak and “God” as most know him in real life is not the same as portrayed in the book. Those who are open minded will learn by reading “Hand of Chaos” that Hamlet has presented the “Churchies” and “Bible-thumpers” as groups with their own meta-powers with their own intentions. With this being said, there is reason behind this. Once must have an open mind to fully understand this particular aspect of the book, it is a crucial part of the story. If one is sensitive to religious overtones and cannot separate the fictional aspect may want to bypass this book. I personally thought it was brilliant and quite funny. (my God has a sense of humor)
In the fantasy world, I often find that authors write their own worlds and sometimes in a hard to understand language. I did not find this to be true for “Hand of Chaos.” Hamlet has written in plain English that was easy to understand. I am not a huge reader of fantasy so with that being said; I appreciated this more than anything. I was able to keep up and stay interested throughout.
The more I tend to read fantasy; I find myself with a clear understanding that it is not my preferred genre. “Hand of Chaos” has a hand full of different creatures that I personally had a hard time comprehending. I chalk this up to being my own personal stupidity when it comes to the fantasy world in general. The most impressive part for me was that I was able to keep up. I wouldn’t go as far as saying that my mind is “simple” however I don’t really find it enjoyable to have to think so hard when I read, I much rather watch it as a movie instead. I have to say that being able to process the creatures involved with a fantasy novel is a trait that one must possess in order to fully fall in love with the story. Fantasy lovers have this trait where as I do not. This is by no fault of the author of course!
“Hand of Chaos” by J. Hamlet really grabbed my attention with the action packed mission Anna and her crew was on. Flawed, supporting characters made the story even better with their colorful personalities. I can honestly recommend this book to lovers of a good, dark fantasy. I truly believe that hard core fantasy readers will enjoy “Hand of Chaos” as much, if not more than I did. 4 stars!
Hand of Chaos: Chaos Theology, Vol. 1
Reviewed by Savannah Mae for Say What? Savannah Mae (3/14)