Orphans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #1)
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Orphans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos #1)

3.63 of 5 stars 3.63  ·  rating details  ·  1,347 ratings  ·  173 reviews
What if your teachers taught you everything-except who you really are?

For Amelia and her friends, the strict English boarding school she lives in is all she has ever known. The sprawling estate, bordered by unknown territory on all four sides, is both orphanage, academy, and prison. The school has a large staff, but only five students, none of whom know what their real nam...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Tor Science Fiction (first published November 1st 2005)
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Wealhtheow
Aug 13, 2009 Wealhtheow rated it 1 of 5 stars
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: tor.com
Shelves: fantasy, sci-fi
Amelia, Vanity, Colin, Quintus and Victor are the only students at a strict English boarding school. Slowly, they discover that they have secret powers and abilities--and that their teachers are much more than they seem. The adventures, and the tangled Greek mythologies that provide the backdrop, are a great deal of fun and quite exciting. Unfortunately, the author is a little too excited by the prospect of tying up Amelia and putting her at the mercy of lecherous old men. Her heaving bosom and...more
Danielle
I was pretty excited and anticipatory of a new, favorite author when I first started this book. But then I hit the first time the main female character had her initial taste of bondage, and got all 'excited'. Uh... Maybe there was a reason, and it had something to do with the plot. I kept going.

I realized after a few chapters that it did have something to do with the plot; or rather, the sci-fi plotline was a thin excuse for this porn-hound of an author to revel in his rape fantasies.

If Mr. Wr...more
Phoebe
Feb 28, 2009 Phoebe added it
Shelves: funtasy, sciffy
John C. Wright's Orphans of Chaos has a terrific premise. The novel opens in an English boarding school, home to five incredibly bright students who have been raised there since birth. Mysteriously, they have been unable to reckon how much time has passed within the school's walls, their own ages, or where the boundaries of their home lie.

The early chapters are told through a series of slightly surreal-feeling vignettes. In a non-linear fashion, we are introduced to Amelia and her "siblings", an...more
Trin
In which a cool opening about a quintet of orphans with amnesia being held captive by their teachers in the English countryside is ruined by the author’s deeply skeevy sexual politics. I knew I was in trouble the first time the—supposedly kickass and named for Amelia Earhart—female protagonist said in her narration (I’m paraphrasing but only slightly), “What woman doesn’t secretly want to kiss a man who’s pinned her down and won’t let her go?” UM, I DON’T AND I BET THE MAJORITY OF YOUR RAPIDLY F...more
Ryon
Apr 02, 2008 Ryon rated it 1 of 5 stars Recommends it for: People needing a fireplace starter
Currently, I'm not liking this very much. The idea is creative, the implementation lackluster.

About 33% into the book, it has taken a turn for the fucking bizarre, and not in a good way. I'm also irritated at the pseudo-profound, pretentious, pathos-ridden speech the children have in this book. I am always irritated when child characters speak with a wisdom beyond their years, like Haley Joel Osmond in "Pay it Foward". From the mouths of babes comes total drek.

50% through the book the author tak...more
Loni
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Alicia Mitsch
I got this book as a gift, and I am grateful! It makes me wish I had more than a passing knowledge of Greek mythos, though it's not necessary to understanding the book. It is the best combination of fantasy and sci-fi I've seen in a very long time. It reminds me very much of the Incarnations of Immortality series, in the deft combination of modern science with ancient culture. There's math and physics and gods and goddesses and the mystery of not knowing who's side you're suppose to be on. This...more
Neil
This one had been on my list for quite a while. The anticipation was better than the book.

The premise is good. Five young people are the only students at a British boarding school. Except they have powers. And they may not be human. And they're probably not as young as they seem. And they're really captives not students. And their captors seem to be Gods and characters out of mythology.

The trouble is that Wright seems more interested in exploring the question of why older men want younger women...more
Eric Smith
This book sets up the series and so spends alot of time explaining itself and creating backstory. I can't say that this is a particulary good or bad thing just that in a book this complex that covers as many ideas flying fast and furious it is apparently necessary. I really became bogged down at times because of some of the more convoluted logic that flows from some of the characters but I do have to say that all of the characters are very well written and feel alive. Unless you are either willi...more
David
I have had this sitting on my shelf for a while and decided on a fantasy novel as my next read. What I got was a book that comes across as a combination of the author’s very poor and immature opinion of women and some version of a reality that he envisions.

I did not get far enough to rehash the plot, completing about 60 pages. In what is presented as an interesting concept, 5 orphans in a boarding school discover their have super powers, turned south very fast. The narrator is one of the two gir...more
Kate
Oct 18, 2009 Kate rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: no one.
Recommended to Kate by: No one-- used bookstore find.
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
B. Zedan
Jun 17, 2008 B. Zedan rated it 4 of 5 stars Recommends it for: Anyone, really.
Shelves: tor-downloads
I'm a terrible addict and the combination godly mythos (heavy emphasis on Greek and Roman), Titans, math, science, time, dimensions, magic, smart but stupid (in a normal, not movie-stupid) characters, no clear black and white, and that the damn book ends a third of the way along an epic story line made me go buy the next two books.

Well paced and almost amazing. Really pretty much an opiate for reading addicts.
Kathy
Much like Sophie's world, Orphans of Chaos discusses the various ways of interpreting and understanding the world but from a science fiction genre. Also, there is religion tied in with references to the Greek gods and current religions as well (Christianity, Islam, Judaism, etc). The plot is much better than other books I've read with philosophy tied in. A very interesting and enthralling read.
Nth Wolf
This was a very hard book to read.

Goes into too much detail, over and over and over and over again.

I had to force myself to finish the whole book and do not intend to read the other two even though I bought all 3 at the same time.

Felicia
I wanted it to be better than this :( Very offensive stuff against girls.
Heini
The weird plot pacing bothered me more than the slight kinkiness. I can see how my fellow reviewers, who disliked it have a point, but I just took it as an indication that:

1. The character, despite appearances, isn't actually a young girl - or even human for that matter - so it's not so strange that she would be in some ways alien to us normal people.

2. The book takes its source-material seriously. After all it is intended as a modern take on Greek mythology. It would be sort of historical revis...more
Bruce
5 stars? Well, maybe that's too much. But after giving four stars to Well of Stars and Ghost Brigades, this is clearly a 5. Really, what we need is a 10 point system, or perhaps one that allows decimals.

And perhaps 5 stars is unjustified because this is not really a complete book. Like Wright's Golden Age trilogy and the Everness duology, this is really one giant book spread over three titles.

So.... what is cool about this book? First, it's nice to read something where the tone or prose doesn't...more
Joseph R.
People often complain about the horrible teacher-to-student ratio in schools these days. Most schools have dozens of students per teacher, which negatively impacts the interaction between individual students and their teachers. Imagine a school with only five students and a full set of faculty, i.e. a place where the teachers outnumber the students? What would that be like?

If you are Amelia Armstrong Windrose, the number of students isn't the only odd thing about your English countryside school....more
Nichole Davis
Sep 08, 2010 Nichole Davis rated it 2 of 5 stars Recommends it for: people with degrees in quantum physics and theoretical math
Recommended to Nichole by: My friend Jason
This book is about 5 children being raised in a bording school who find out that four of them are the children of Titans and one is the princess of a fairy realm and that they are actually being held as hostages of a war between the Greek Pantheon and the Titans after the death of Zeus.

The book starts out well enough but unless you are good at quantum physics and theoretical Mathematics the conversations of the children regarding the study and application of these topics is more of a distraction...more
Andrew
Having just finished this book with the next two volumes sitting on the shelf, I'm not quite sure what to think.

Wright has no end of imagination, and every new character is spelled out in loving detail, expanding a fantasy cosmology that covers everything from the true origins of Jesus Christ to multidimensional hyperspatial beings. While that sounds promising, the actual book itself doesn't really go anywhere, with the main character at the end of the book ending up pretty much exactly where sh...more
B.
I started this book with some trepidation. I first encountered John C. Wright via his Golden Age Trilogy. The first book of that trilogy was great, ending on a cliffhanger that promised mystery and revelations in an entirely new setting. I was hugely disappointed that the author completely threw away the advantage in the second book, which was literally more of the same - like stepping through a door to fairyland to find ... hardware stores, fast food, and traffic. I finished that trilogy but wa...more
Zachary
Okay, I pursued obtaining this book (and not only this book, but the entire trilogy) after finishing Wright's Golden Age trilogy and loving just about every second of it. Wright combines truly visionary creativity with compelling characters set in rather peculiar but completely intriguing situations. All these elements come together for books that are not only intricate in their complexity, but also unrelenting in their character development, the pace of the narrative, and the utilization of ver...more
Catherine Fitzsimmons
This is a difficult book to summarize, as little is revealed until a good halfway through the book. It’s probably safe to say that this is a story about five unusual orphans who are rarely let out of the school/boarding house where they have been kept all their lives, and their struggles to find out more about who they are.

This was a hard book to get into, not least because so little was revealed until late in the story. Nothing really seemed to happen in the first half of the story and I never...more
Mizzmo
I gave it two stars because the beginning was promising. I liked the interplay between the physics and the fantasy. But this quickly fell by the wayside once the book took a turn towards Greek Mythology. Suddenly what felt like hundreds of characters were dumped into the reader's memory cache, each with two or three names. Fine, whatever. Hard to follow but still navigable. Then the book started to twist darkly, exposing several sexual undertones. At first I was just confused by the sudden theme...more
Kim
Maybe it was because I read this book entirely during downtime at work and therefore only in spurts over a month, but I really hated this book. It's told from the point of view of a teenage girl, but other than the fact that she says she's a girl, you'd never know it from the way she thinks. She has grown up in an orphanage with four other orphans, but you'd never know these people had known each other all their lives from the way they treat each other. They're all obsessed with sex. The main ch...more
Barbara Gordon
I loved the setup for this book. Mysterious amnesiac orphans in a remote mansion that's a combination school and prison, hints that everyone is more than they seem, discovery of strange powers, secret passages, hypnotic messages, and so on. But as more of the backstory was revealed, and every character acquired a minimum of three names/identities, as well as a tendency to explain the politics of the pantheon for paragraphs and even pages... It got less interesting instead of more.

Also I thought...more
Alexander Murray-Watters
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Amanda Soares
I picked this up at the library because the cover art was cool and when I read the summary it seemed like it would be an interesting story. Sadly that wasn't really the case. There are some interesting scenes but mostly it was just confusing. I was confused about what powers the children and adults were supposed to have and how they canceled each other out. I was confused about how they got from one location to the next. I was confused about what they were doing and why. I read the other two boo...more
Nyna
This could have been, an almost was, a cool boarding-school fantasy. Unfortunately, it was a little too skeevy -- and became that other kind of boarding-school fantasy. You know, the kind where all teenage girls are gorgeous and curious and innocent, and love being spanked by the principle, or dressing up as sexxy maids to serve their friends (under duress) or being kidnapped, held down, chained up...etc.

Basically, this was an adventure novel that fell down the id-vortex, and became a rape-fanta...more
Maria
Starts out promising but then deteriorates into idiotic soft-core porn...but what can I expect from a guy writing a female protagonist in the first person? A rip-roaring Zelazny-style adventure tale mixed with physics and philosophy? This book falls oh-so-short. It should have stayed posted on a backwater website where I'd never trip over it. Am I crazy to expect fantasy novels to be a quality read these days?
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John C. Wright (John Charles Justin Wright, born 1961) is an American author of science fiction and fantasy novels. A Nebula award finalist (for the fantasy novel Orphans of Chaos), he was called "this fledgling century's most important new SF talent" by Publishers Weekly (after publication of his debut novel, The Golden Age).
More about John C. Wright...
The Golden Age (Golden Age #1) Fugitives of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #2) The Phoenix Exultant (Golden Age, #2) The Golden Transcendence (Golden Age, #3) Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #3)

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