Melindeeloo's Reviews > Chaos Tryst

Chaos Tryst by Shirin Dubbin
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's review
Oct 23, 2011

really liked it
bookshelves: fantasy-romance, shapeshifters
Read in October, 2011

Chaos Tryst fit very nicely into the fairy tale romance spin off 'kick' I've been on lately, since it stars the golden dread-locked Ariana Golde in the role of "Goldilocks" and bear shifter Maksim Medved with small supporting appearances by his brothers, as the 'three bears'. Here Ariana is not a wandering child, she's the daughter of two gods and a 'retriever' which is not exactly a thief - that's good, because with her affinity for chaos she'd be a pretty inept one. The pair comes together on a bungled retrieval - Ari is interrupted while removing an artifact from the Medved's abode. So it is not too surprising that Maks is not too appreciative of the distinction between thief and 'retriever' since the item which Ariana claims 'belongs' to someone else - or else she wouldn't be liberating it - has been in his family since his father crafted as a gift for his mother. Even though the truth of Ari's claim is proven by magic, Maks isn't about to give up so easily and attaches himself to Ari as she goes about her business, determined to confront Ari's client when it comes time for Ari to drop off the item. And since Maks also has a talent for chaos which interacts with Ari's in ways that are sometimes explosive, the together the two or them create a fair amount of mayhem.

While I enjoyed the idea of the more archaic elements anachronistically woven in with modern day trappings, and the mix of being from fairy tales, classic fantasy, and myths, the story would have benefited from a bit more definition in the world building. There are elements which make it seem like this might not be a pure fantasy world, and there are humans mixed in with the mythic and fairy tale beings, Bluetooth, and Maks' top notch kitchen, but it is never clear whether this is a corner of our world or if the world of fairy tales has just progressed from the medieval times to the modern. And since not as many readers are familiar with Japanese and African deities and myths, slipping in just a tad more explanation about why Maksi calls Ari kitsune (a Japanese fox spirit) and about Inari and Anansi (a Japanese goddess of luck and change, and an African spider trickster god, who are Ari's parents) would have helped too.

I really liked both Ari and Maks. Part of the pair's appeal is that they are both well fleshed out. Ari sees herself as a misfit but she's a happy playful one and she's determined to get grumpy bear Maks to smile, and she secretly nurtures a long held crush for Maks that becomes 'more' over the course of the story. I enjoyed Maks who tries to resist Ari, due to the fact that she brings out the part of his nature that has left him feeling responsible for his parents fate, the nature he's tried to contain ever since, but fortunately his inner bear isn't taking 'no' for an answer.

So when the last page was turned, I still enjoyed Chaos Tryst, largely because I am very character-centric. And even though with just a bit more clarity in the world building department, this would have been great, what was here was still a good fantasy romp with just a touch of romance.

ARC provided by Carina Press via NetGalley
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