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The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson #BookReview

An acclaimed fantasy author navigates the world between myth and chaos in this compelling exploration of identity, told with a Caribbean lilt.

Sixteen-year-old Scotch struggles to fit in—at home she’s the perfect daughter, at school she’s provocatively sassy, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can’t be removed. While trying to cope with this creepiness, she goes out with her brother—and he disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large, until it seems like everyone is turning into crazy creatures. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this supernatural situation ASAP before the Chaos consumes everything she’s ever known—and she knows that the black shadowy entity that’s begun trailing her every move is probably not going to help.

A blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore, at its heart this tale is about identity and self acceptance—because only by acknowledging her imperfections can Scotch hope to save her brother. 

The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson

Title: The Chaos | Author: Nalo Hopkinson | Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books | Pub. Date: 2012-April-17 | Pages: 256 | Genre: Fantasy | Language: English | Source: Self-purchased | Starred Review

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The Chaos Review

The first book that I read in 2020, I truly hope The Chaos is a sign of how my reading is going to go for this year. It was bizarre, entertaining, and drug me straight out of my world and into its.

This is an urban fantasy novel that draws inspiration from various fairy tales around the world. I recognized at least four that were mentioned, but I’m sure there were more. I loved how everything mixed together and how quickly everything went from mildly strange to full-on bird-house sex (not sex in a birdhouse, sex between a bird and a house).

Scotch, the main character, was easy to get behind and when she screws up (and she does screw up), it feels believable. She’s a young girl and comes across perfectly as such. I loved Nalo Hopkinson’s portrayal of the entire family, including the crazy aunt.

I loved pretty much everything about the book. Right after finishing it kind of bothered me how things ended, but in retrospect, it was a good choice. Tying everything up neatly would have ruined the experience a bit.

Racism and ableism are discussed in The Chaos in ways that make it easy for someone who hasn’t been faced with either to understand. I loved that Hopkinson made it clear that no one is perfect and that sometimes prejudice can come out of somewhere when you weren’t even aware of it. It’s something I personally became aware of recently and it was interesting to see it echoed in a book when I wasn’t expecting it.

Overall, very happy with my first read of 2020 and looking forward to experiencing more writing from Hopkinson in the future.

You can find this book at many retailers via clicking on the appropriate link on Goodreads; however, in the spirit of supporting literacy programs, we would like to point out that you may be able to purchase this book through BetterWorldBooks.

Published inFantasy Book ReviewsStarred Reviews

One Comment

  1. Oh man! I have this. I need to read it and Brown Girl in the Ring.

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