My rating: 3 of 5 stars
When I think about Beautiful Chaos the one phrase that appears before my eyes in crazy, weird font is: bloody-freaking predictable, which doesn’t necessarily mean it was a bad book…because it really wasn’t.
I have realized that the one thing I can count on in regards to this series is that the title will always fit the content of the piece. I rather enjoy that element very much as it’s something that not many authors can get right. Beautiful Chaos further proves this point as the consequences from the previous installment begin to manifest terribly in this novel. Everything is literally going to shit as one chaotic thing after another begins to occur. The storytelling is still from the first-person perspective of our male protagonist, Ethan Wate, and the atmosphere is bleak and filled with a variety of seasoned tension. One of things that this uncomfortable feeling of dread does is that it makes you feel really anxious about what’s going to unfold. I don’t know about you, but when the world feels like it’s going to end, I think a little anxiety and fear is totally called for. Garcia and Stohl do their job rather well in that regard, however…
The main plot point of The Caster Chronicles volume three revolves around the revelation and sacrifice of someone (or something) huge; whatever it is, it’s definitely one that is one of a kind. Garcia and Stohl failed at maintaining an air of mystery as to the identity of said fate-deciding tool. The book is written so that the pacing is slow. It isn’t until about 300 pages into the book that you can feel things starting to pick up. This increase gave me an anticipatory awareness that whatever was about to happen would be pretty damn big and decisive. Based on how this book is written, it felt to me as if the authors wanted to keep this secret until the last fifteen to ten percent of the story so that it could become a huge reveal for the ending, which was a badly written cliffhanger, mind you. Instead of dancing with the element of surprise, they slapped you in the face with uncreative facets of foreshadowing. So this so-called fantastically amazing announcement felt horribly anti-climactic.
Because of this thing that needs to happen, one of my favorite characters behaves a little out of character. When shit hits the fan, you never recognize how far you’re willing to go for someone until you’re already standing face to face with it. I enjoyed the fact this a certain sassy, prized-pie-contest-winning lady acted so unlike her persona. It made her feel decidedly human and me feel empathetic to her plight. Yet, I didn’t approve of her out-of-character behavior prior to this, which is the vast majority of the novel.
Taking my frustrated subjective ramblings out of the equation, Beautiful Chaos is not a terrible addition to the series. It’s much needed as it ties up a lot of loose ends created in the second book. The tale is actually pretty interesting when you realize that these are all a bunch of kids facing some really tough and impossible situations. When you see the emotional and mental effect of these events taking their toll, then it becomes realistic, adding quite a bit of sentimental depth. You see this in character development as well as character atavism with the cast and how these changes are affecting the happenings of the situation. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t interested in seeing how these personality changes will come into play in the last book.
Overall, Beautiful Chaos was an interesting read, even if I did figure out the ending about fifteen pages into the book. The writing isn’t bad by all means, just not nearly as good as the first two. The story is far from finished, but the whole picture is falling into place decently. Number three gets three rips outta five.