Review: Night and Chaos by Naomi Clark

Title: Night and Chaos
Series: The Deva Chronicles, #1
Genres/Themes: urban fantasy, hinduism, romantic elements, action, novella
Author: Naomi Clark

Quick Take:
This tale had a a great premise, but I must admit that I had a hard time connecting to both the characters and the story. By the end I gained insight on some of the possible reasoning behind plotting decisions, but wished that could have come much sooner. Overall, the story is an intriguing entree into a series arc.

Book Description (via Goodreads):
     Ryan McCarthy fled Applied Paranormal Theory and Tactics, her father, and her lover six years ago, desperate to build life away from the weird science and supernatural experiments of her childhood. But everything she hoped to escape comes back with a vengeance when she's kidnapped and tortured by a possessed APTT employee out for revenge on the man responsible for his possession: Ryan's father.
     Now, reunited with the lover she abandoned, Ryan is forced back into a world of danger and darkness she no longer understands, pursued by enemies with powers she can't fathom. But Ryan's not entirely powerless herself. She'll have to use every trick she knows - as well as the mystic gift she hates - to stay ahead of those enemies. And that will be easier said than done.
Review:
I feel a bit silly, because I only realized the meaning of the book's title a moment ago as I sat down to write this review (I'll give you a hint: it's about two main characters). That fact doesn't make me feel all that bright, but the realization illuminates quite a bit about the focus of this story. You see, whilst reading the book I often found myself a bit unsure about the direction of the plot: where it was heading and why it was doing such.

I was a bit concerned about the aforementioned, because in my opinion this was not a "character driven" book. There was information given about protagonist Ryan McCarthy, of course, including some description of her complicated familial and romantic relationships, but they were mere facts; the character reiterating that she dislikes her father won't automatically make me dislike him, too. So I didn't really feel the requisite distaste for the potentially shady figures, nor did I particularly care for the supposed "good" guys. I certainly didn't find Ryan to be all that sympathetic…though, some of that was due to her childish behavior and questionable decisions, which could mean that she's not intended to be endeared to the reader, anyway. I dunno. ^_^

Along those lines, I wasn't a big fan of how frequently a variation of "it's APTT business" was used to avoid some exposition. It just felt too easy, and ended up in both the protagonist and the reader having no idea what was going on. At one point, when Ryan's ex-boyfriend Van explains to her that their current goal is to catch one baddy in order to get to another, who would in turn lead to yet another, she muses, "was that the entire APTT ethos now? Did Van even know why he was finding [the bad guy], or was this one of those 'need to know' things?" followed by a sarcastic "Great." I admit, I was thinking the same thing. ^_^

However, I really did enjoy the paranormal aspect of the tale. It's got some basis in Hinduism, involving the deities known as devas and asuras. If you're not at all familiar with these figures, it would definitely be worth doing a quick search to find out about their role in Hindu belief, seeing as how they serve as the basis for this urban fantasy series.

Events did become quite exciting and engaging in the last third of the story, I must say. And the manner in which the novella concluded made it clearer to me that a complete story arc was not intended for in this installment. That helped ease my mind on pacing and plot progression, which at the time I thought didn't match up to the length of the book ("it's halfway done and not much has happened!!").

All of the above having been said, I think that whatever story follows will be quite interesting to read about. I can even see the series being addictive. ^_^ Many of the situations alluded to in this story will surely be further developed, providing more insight into the cast of characters and their motivations.

Rating: 3 of 5 stars
"I liked it"

2 comments:

  1. I took some time to think about it, but nope, not the book for me. kind of glad I feel that way, got too many books anyway ;)

    ReplyDelete
  2. It's a toughy. I've seen some pretty effusive reviews on this book. I guess this is one of those books...tough to pin down, but if you can do so, it'll be great.

    But yer right. So many books, so little time. ^_^

    ReplyDelete

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