Monday, June 9, 2014

Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright

 I'm always looking for new authors, so when I read some positive things about John C. Wright's work, I thought I'd give him a try. I was able to "try" but not quite to "do".

 This is the oddest thing I've read in a long time. There are five children in an orphanage somewhere in the English countryside: Amelia, Quentin, Colin, Victor, and Vanity. The orphanage may or may not be what it seems, and the children may or
may not be the offspring of old gods and goddesses. Each one of them has individual powers, like bending reality to their will or altering gravity. They are all very bright, and beginning to chafe at their invisible bonds and the rules imposed by the headmaster and staff, who may actually be their evil jailors.

Things really get stirred up when The Protector and the Trustees show up for a meeting with the folks running the school. Amelia, through whose eyes we see most of this story, manages to eavesdrop on the meeting, and we can definitely see that the "children" are merely playing chits, albeit valuable ones, in a greater game that the gods are playing, and that all of the factions have their own agendas. Wright still hasn't come out and said that they are actually gods, until almost immediately afterwards, when the children, after drugging one of their wardens into unconsciousness, gather in the school kitchen and discuss who each of the gods was, blowing their aliases all to heck.

I suppose, as this is billed as YA fiction, that Wright didn't trust the readers to make the necessary connections. I guess kids these days don't grow up with a copy of Bullfinch ready to hand. At that point, the premature reveal and the immature behavior of the captive "children" caused me to give up on the story. I just didn't like them well enough to care how it all ended.

Ah well, back to the quest for a good new author. Wright writes well, and creatively, but his narrative sense just couldn't hold my attention.

1 comment:

ProudHillbilly said...

It's always so disappointing to hit one you give up on. And it leaves you wonder why some authors are so popular.