Review: The Way Into Chaos by Harry Connolly

The Way Into Chaos I was disappointed when Harry Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series was discontinued, and I was shocked to find out that he couldn’t find a publisher for his new epic fantasy trilogy, The Great Way. He’s such an engaging writer and receives such glowing reviews, it was hard to believe they weren’t all competing for it. So Connolly turned to Kickstarter to self-publish the series, and it became one of the top projects ever in its category–so much so, that he was able to offer several extra incentives beyond the original ones.

First off, let me say that this does not look like any self-published book I’ve ever seen. The covers are done by the same artist who did his Twenty Palaces novels, and they are kick-ass. It also has a gorgeous map and some really nice drawings for the chapter headings to distinguish which of the two main characters’ point of view that chapter is from. In fact, the only thing I noticed at all that set it apart from a book released from a publisher was that there were a few more typos than usual, but it wasn’t to the point of distraction or even close to what most of the self-published books I’ve read contain.

What you’ll read in almost every review of these books is that Connolly promised an epic fantasy “without the boring bits.” And, man, did he deliver. It’s a fantastic blend of thriller-paced writing with epic fantasy world building that’s right up my alley. As someone who has spend the past decade and a half reading and writing more screenplays then novels, my attention span has dwindled, and I have to admit I have little patience for descriptions of every morsel of food served at a banquet or every blade of grass growing from the ground. When I tried to read The Hobbit to my kids, I couldn’t believe how little I remembered about one of my favorite books, and how bored I started to get at the excessive descriptions of everything. Unfortunately, Connolly has been dinged in some reviews I’ve seen from people who revel in that type of storytelling, but I have a feeling most modern readers can appreciate that, with all of the films, TV shows, and video games we’ve consumed, it’s no longer necessary for an author to paint a detailed picture of every single thing with words.

As for the story itself, I found it riveting, and I had difficulty putting it down. In fact, I fell asleep reading it late at night many times, which is not as negative as it sounds. It wasn’t for lack of excitement in the book, but the fact that I was so tired and yet still tried to pry my eyes open until my body just wouldn’t allow it any more. I’m not big on spoiling any aspects of a story, but I will say that this is an engaging tale of the fall of a great empire from the point of view of a middle-aged soldier and a teenage magician-scholar.

I can’t wait to read the rest of the series.

~ by christophervalin on April 16, 2015.

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