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The Way Into Chaos

(The Great Way #1)

3.64  ·  Rating details ·  1,230 ratings  ·  148 reviews
The Great Way is an epic fantasy trilogy about a supernatural invasion that destroys an empire.

The city of Peradain is the heart of an empire built with steel, spears, and a monopoly on magic… until, in a single day, it falls, overthrown by a swarm of supernatural creatures of incredible power and ferocity. Neither soldier nor spell caster can stand against them.

The empir
Kindle Edition, 424 pages
Published December 18th 2014 by Radar Avenue Press
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3.64  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,230 ratings  ·  148 reviews

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James Lafayette  Tivendale
Apr 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: spfbo3, fantasy
I read The Way Into Chaos for the Self Published Fantasy Blog Off as it was promoted to the final stage by Ventureadlaxre.

The city at the heart of the empire was preparing to host a festival full of song, merriment, and martial contests. As the event is about to get underway a swarm of powerful, nimble, and intelligent bearlike beings unexpectedly invade and annihilate the capital. A handful of interesting, important and sometimes opposing characters are fortunately whisked away on a magical sky
Jan 22, 2018 rated it it was ok
Shelves: spfbo
This is one of the books I read as part of #SPFBO and I am certainly a bit torn on this one. I read the whole thing, and liked about half of it (hence my rating of 2.5*s). I definitely feel like this one was just so mixed for me, at times I found myself sucked in and other times I was just a bit out of the plot and it wasn't grabbing me...but I can't say for sure why...

This is set in a fairly large fantasy world where there's lots of smaller kingdoms and lands spread out. We are following the r
The Nerd Book Review
Dec 03, 2017 rated it really liked it
For me this was more of a 4.5 but it is certainly a book that is meant to be read as part of a series. There isn’t a single thread that is finished up and without reading the next book you don’t have any resolution a all. I do prefer for at least a minor thread or two to be tied off at the end of a novel. The writing and story telling is superb and I was entertained throughout. There is good world building and a solid magic system as well.
It is a 2 character POV book. The first is Tyr(a title l
C.E. Murphy
Jun 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
holy crap. i'm one of the first people to read Harry Connolly's THE WAY INTO CHAOS, the first of his upcoming epic fantasy trilogy.

that is one hard-hitting, take-no-prisoners, breathtaking holy shit of a book.

the only reason i am not now 5 chapters into book 2 is because book 1 already kept me up well past my bedtime and i have a small child who is going to get up very early *regardless* of how stupid i am about going to bed, and therefore i cannot be TOO stupid.

but holy crap, man. O.O
Mark Lawrence
I've not read this book yet, but it's the second finalist in the Self-Published Fantasy Blog-Off 2017.

So there's that!

Review here:

More about the SPFBO here:

List of finalists here:
Kitvaria Sarene
I really liked this one!
It has quite some tropes and predictable turns, but it has enough unique ideas to still keep my well entertained. It starts of with a feel like "classic" fantasy with a young prince who likes wine and sonmgs more than actually training and learning, and his young friends.
They all have to flee the city soon - accompanied by gruff weapons trainer. Not too long after they need to split up, and so we get different POVs traveling to different locations.

I enjoyed how some cha
Esmerelda Weatherwax
This is a current semi finalist for Ventureadlaxre, I’ve read a bunch of books from this grouping and it’s cool to watch the competition stack up and see what kinds of decisions these bloggers are facing. This author is one of the more seasoned authors in the grouping already having many books under his belt and some of them under traditional publishing. .

I audiobooked this and it’s narrated by Michael Kramer, and as always Kramer gave a fantastic performance although a few times in the beginnin
Jun 14, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-ebooks
I hit pay dirt with this trilogy. I have to thank time and again the Goodreads and Reddit Fantasy communities for their recommendations; I’ve discovered several “under the radar” books which were perfect for my taste, and also considering my ever-growing to read list, the word of experience is invaluable.

I didn’t know what to expect, other than a fast-paced adventure with military fantasy elements. Pacey it is, military not so much, but I don’t think any fan of the genre would be disappointed by
Betsy Mitchell
Jan 16, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I've read a *lot* of epic fantasy by now--haven't we all?--and so often I don't get past Book 1, but in this case I've got to find time to go on to the next book, because this first in a trilogy really impressed me. The action is nonstop, so much so that it was hard to find a place to stop when I had to put it down. Killer-beasts from another plane of existence are pouring into the world, and although powerful magic does exist, most of the magicians who can employ it are destroyed in the initial ...more
Nov 22, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: spfbo2017
Actual rating: 3.5 / 5

Fire and Fury, this book left me with mixed feelings. The Way into Chaos participates in SPFBO 2017 contest and it’s just made it to the finals as the Ventureadlaxre choice. The book was founded through Kickstarter campaign and is part one of already finished epic fantasy trilogy about a supernatural invasion that destroys an empire.

It was marketed as “fantasy adventure without the dull bits” and “non-grimdark”. While I’m not sure about lack of the dull bits, I agree it was
Katharine (Ventureadlaxre)
Nov 14, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2017
Read for the SPFBO, this is the first book that I chose to further consider out of my initial 30, trying to whittle them all down to a single title to put forward to the other judges.

This book stands out initially because of the author's backlist of decent books, and also that one of the main characters is older than most main POV characters that we usually see. He's a warrior who has earned the trust of a king and queen, has already buried a wife and has a new family, and is seemingly retired f
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 28, 2018 rated it liked it
Read the review over at Fantasy Book Critic (along with 3 other mini-reviews)

OVERVIEW/ANALYSIS: The Way Into Chaos is Harry Connolly’s debut epic fantasy foray and for fantasy fans while Harry Connolly might not be a familiar name. For urban fantasy fans (like myself) Harry Connolly is a talented author whose Twenty Palaces series struck a strong chord. The Way Into Chaos is a an epic fantasy with aspects of portal fantasy (reversed tropes) and a fantasy which does away from excessive gore and
May 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
Harry Connolly doesn't really need me to write a review about his work, given that The Way Into Chaos had a massive and successful Kickstarter campaign and Connolly himself had previously received acclaim for a traditionally published Urban fantasy series.

It's rare that I come across a book that is an absolute no-brainer in terms of whether it should be part of my site. The Way Into Chaos is such a book, and I'll explain why below.

While hardly the first to do it, it's always interesting to see h
Dec 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Epic fantasy with no heroic farm boys destined to save the world? Good start.

The pacing owes more to thrillers than epic fantasy. No luxuriously describing big meals, watching the scenery go by as the characters travel cross country, or having characters practice evocatively named weapons styles. Instead you move quickly from plot point to plot point, with lots of action and not a lot of political intrigue (it's there, but he doesn't weigh the story down with it). I didn't keep a strict count, b
Jul 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Lived up to its working title of "Epic Fantasy With No Dull Parts". Excellent worldbuilding, likeable characters doing things that matter, and a refreshing lack of apostrophes in names. Book one doesn't end so much as it stops, so this is the sort of trilogy that's more like one huge book split into readable pieces. Book two, The Way Into Magic releases January 13, 2015, and book three, The Way Into Darkness releases February 3rd, and both are available for pre-order on Amazon now if you weren't ...more
John Bogart
Dec 23, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
First, I recommend this book (and series) to anyone who likes epic fantasy.

I was already a fan of Harry Connolly before reading The Way Into Chaos. I love his Twenty Palaces series and thoroughly enjoyed his short story collection. I got The Way Into Chaos from backing his Kickstarter.

That means that I was very excited to start reading this series, but also a little nervous. Epic fantasy trilogies are a very different genre than Urban Fantasy. In the past I've loved one series but an author but
Dec 18, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy, kick-starter
Harry Connelly has made an incredible world. The Way into Chaos is named because it has its protagonists surviving in a world that has fallen from order into chaos. The heroes and other characters are complex, each with a range of motivations. There are those like one of the protagonists who think of things like honor, loyalty to the empire he has sworn an oath to, and devotion to a cause. Others may have had such thoughts, but have looked around them and believed that the empire that they were ...more
R.S. Hunter
Dec 25, 2014 rated it it was ok
For such a long book, I feel like not a lot happened. Maybe because it's supposed to be a thriller mixed with epic fantasy. The premise of an epic fantasy about an empire in the midst of a collapse was cool, but I feel like that's not what happened. The two main characters Tejohn and Cazia end up on epic fantasy quests. Maybe I felt let down because my expectations (totally my fault!) didn't line up with what the book ended up being.

There was a ton of world building, but because of the pacing I
May 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I loved the Twenty Palaces series by Connolly (starting with Child of Fire), so I had to read his fantasy kickoff. And it was properly titled "...Into Chaos" because it sure ended that way. There are two main points of view. The first is a 47 year old soldier/royal weapons master loyal to the Peradain empire, and the second is a 15 year old daughter of a traitor to the empire, held hostage at the court. Disaster strikes suddenly and devastatingly during a Festival, and everyone makes desperate a ...more
Oct 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
Review of full series: eh, at best. Unoriginal, superficial, lazy and shallow. Understandable that it had to be Kickstarter-funded. I'd vaguely remembered enjoying some of his Twenty Palaces novels, but based on this series I'm unlikely to bother with future works from him.
Rike @ RikeRandom
Uff... Ich muss ehrlich sagen, ich habe so meine Probleme mit High Fantasy. Es gibt einige wenige Bücher bzw. Reihen, die mir ausgesprochen gut gefallen und ich versuche mich immer wieder sehr gerne an neuen Fundstücken, aber die meiste Zeit weigert sich der Funke einfach überzuspringen. So leider auch hier.

Harry Connollys "Die Pforte der Schatten" fängt ganz vielversprechend an, die Ausgangssituation hat etwas faszinierendes: Das Reich Peredain verdankt quasi alles den Geschenken und der Großzü
Christopher Valin
Jan 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I was disappointed when Harry Connolly’s Twenty Palaces series was discontinued, and I was shocked to find out that he couldn’t find a publisher for his new epic fantasy trilogy, The Great Way. He’s such an engaging writer and receives such glowing reviews, it was hard to believe they weren’t all competing for it. So Connolly turned to Kickstarter to self-publish the series, and it became one of the top projects ever in its category–so much so, that he was able to offer several extra incentives ...more
Dec 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Full disclosure: I copyedited the series. As a result, many would assume that I'd be biased, that I'd try to promote something I was directly involved with so that I might have future work, or something to that effect. Combine that with my publicly avowed fandom for Harry's Twenty Palaces stories, those people would likely see that assumption as "proven." And those people would be wrong.

I'll admit that I love my work, that I enjoy pretty much everything I work on (primarily fantasy and science f
Christine Rains
Feb 07, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tyr Tejohn Treygar has sworn his life in service to the King and Queen of Peradain. The great empire was built on war and a monopoly on magic. On the night of a grand festival, the capital city is invaded by ferocious beasts none had ever seen before. The King and Queen are lost, but Tejohn protects the prince and his cousins, whisking them away to safety. The monsters that flooded the city aren't the only ones terrorizing people across the land. Armies are decimated and the tyrs turn against on ...more
Blair MacGregor
Jan 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
If I could order up an epic fantasy to exactly fit my tastes, The Way Into Chaos would be about as close as anyone could come. Epic fantasy adventures should move, and this story does--sometimes at a breakneck speed that ends with a turn so abrupt and unexpected, it made me flinch. Its central characters are well-drawn, engaging, and smart (if not always correct). I love how well Connolly balances the characters' inner fears, doubts, and, er, impolite thoughts against their outer attempts to act ...more
Jan 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: f
Holy crap. This was awesome. Connolly has put thought into the setting--iron's rare, steel is a new technology, and bronze is the most common metal. Characters speak different languages. The spells the Peradaini have learned from the Evening People have impacted the empire's economy (for example, the rockbreaking spell means that iron has become more common within the last few generations). Also, as a short-sighted person myself, I was delighted to read a book where one of the main characters is ...more
Dec 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Connolly promoted this as "epic fantasy without the boring parts" and he was not kidding.

If this were merely an exercise into how vivid and original a world a skilled writer can build when he omits all the infodumps and instead lets history, character, and wonder be revealed through action, then that alone would be worthwhile. Instead, it's all that and a compelling story as well. It's not just "Western Europe plus a wizard or two" - it's an original world that's been built around fantastic crea
Shannon Appelcline
I'm a big fan of Connolly's Twenty Palaces books, and I was intrigued by his not only moving over to fantasy books, but also his creation of a fantasy-thriller fusion. Sadly, this book never grabbed me. There's some interesting world creation and some strong writing, and I do want to know what happens next in the big picture, but I never felt excited about reading the next chapter in this tome, and so its reading dragged out over a full week of vacation, when I'd expected to tear through it in a ...more
M Page
Dec 21, 2014 rated it it was amazing
This is pretty much what a Heroic Fantasy should be. I mean if you wanted to introduce somebody to the genre, you could hand them this.

It's gripping, fast paced and very well written, with a vividly drawn world (but none of those rambling six paragraph descriptions that bedevil the genre), and escapist. It takes you to an exotic setting and makes it feel real with grit and sweat and tragedy.... and heroism to transcend all that.

It's not exactly a feel good book, but nor is it an "OMG I'll slit
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