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Orphans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos #1)

3.62  ·  Rating details ·  1,869 Ratings  ·  217 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
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Mass Market Paperback, 336 pages
Published October 31st 2006 by Tor Science Fiction (first published November 1st 2005)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Wealhtheow
Jun 12, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommended to Wealhtheow by: tor.com
Shelves: sci-fi, fantasy
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
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Trin
Jun 10, 2008 rated it did not like it
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 rated it did not like it
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
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Charlotte
Oct 21, 2014 added it
Shelves: oh-dear
Whether or not I'm actually going to finish this book is a question I'm going to leave unanswered. Putting aside the author being a deplorable fedora-wearing jerkoff, this book simply is not for me. The characters are uninteresting at best and unbearably pretentious at worst; the exact same analogy can be applied to the prose, which is so dense at times as to be unnavigable. Maybe somebody out there can get enjoyment out of a novel like this, which is so poorly structured as to barely even hint ...more
David
Jan 18, 2010 rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandoned
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
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Alicia Mitsch
Dec 25, 2007 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fantasy-sci-fi
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
Barbara Gordon
Sep 25, 2012 rated it did not like it
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
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Felicia
Feb 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
I wanted it to be better than this :( Very offensive stuff against girls.
Zachary
Mar 21, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
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
B. Zedan
Jun 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
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.
Loni
Apr 17, 2008 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Heini
Oct 17, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mary Catelli
Jun 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This book is not a novel, because it's the opening of a trilogy that's really a novel chopped in three, not three novels in a sequence, ending with cliffhangers and all. And it opens that long novel in a boarding school. Five children kept prisoner and raised there. They know there is something odd about themselves. And not just because when they manage to talk to children outside the school, they learn that they are being given a very unusual education, and not just because they do not know and ...more
Bruce
Jun 12, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: sf-fantasy
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
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Neil
Sep 07, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Alexander
Jan 16, 2013 rated it did not like it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jana
Feb 24, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: scifi-fantasy
This is possibly the most intelligent fantasy since Neil Gaiman. Think Harry Potter meets Phillip Pullman meets Bullfinch's mythology meets The Breakfast Club and Home Alone. Stir in some Greek philosophy, add a bit of inter-dimensional theory and particle physics, and wrap it all in bit of subtle erotica of a bildungsroman you have it.
hevs
Apr 08, 2015 rated it it was amazing
There is a quote on the back of my copy of “Orphans of Chaos”, it is form “Locus” and is goes like this: “Imaginative...A bit like C.S. Lewis’s Chronicle of Narnia updated by half a century, but with more gusto.” Truer words had never been spoken.

This is a wonderful book. Beautifully written, its pages filled with wonders and so erudite, you feel as if talking to someone highly educated and also witty - it is incomparable intellectual pleasure. I will elaborate about it later, but now I'd like t
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Metaphorosis
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
Kate
Oct 08, 2009 rated it it was ok
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.
Garrett
Sep 18, 2008 rated it it was amazing
This was kind of a fun read because I had just gone through an impromptu study of Greek mythology, so I actually recognized some names and things going on in this story, which made it more memorable and intriguing to me.

The bad thing was that this is part of a series, and the ending did not satisfy me at all - I'm going to need to find the next book and find out what happens next because I really want to know more about these characters and what happens to them.

Nevertheless, I liked the book (te
...more
Kim
May 31, 2009 rated it it was ok
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
Jason
Oct 03, 2014 rated it did not like it
Meh. book starts out interesting and Amelia is a great character, sometimes. The general idea is fun and interesting, but the story often takes a back seat to long explanations of the world and how it works. The characters ages are impossible to peg down because we literally have no clue how old they are and they don't know how old they are, something we're reminded of a number of times in the book. Just when the action FINALLY gets moving, it again slows down to a halt and we're returned to a n ...more
tatterpunk
May 06, 2014 rated it did not like it
I read this one quite a while ago, but the nasty aftertaste still lingers.

Bad prose, weak structure, cartoonish characters, laughably poor science. To top it all off, the author is inordinately preoccupied with scenes in which the fourteen-year-old heroine is coerced into sexual acts or attitudes by most of the other characters -- always against her will, always depicted in loving detail. About a third of the way into the book, Wright abandons any pretext of a narrative driven-excuse for this d
...more
Eric Smith
Sep 07, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: urban-fantasy
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
Jason
Mar 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: e-books, read-2015
3 Stars

Orphans of Chaos by John C. Wright is both a masterfully brilliant inclusive fantasy and a horrendous, dirty, all over the place mess of a novel. This book contains everything and maybe even including the kitchen sink. It is a science fiction novel filled with mathematics and technical jargon. It is a fantasy filled with magic, flying, and invisible forces. There are gods a plenty most of them straight out of Greek Mythos. The book is a tale of coming of age of a group of Orphans. It is
...more
Waru
Dec 21, 2014 rated it did not like it
I don't normally review books, but I need to warn people away from this one. This author has very scary ideas about female sexuality, and according to his blogs, about human sexuality in general. It's frightening to think there is someone out there writing books that get fairly good reviews, and people are reading, digesting and even enjoying these things.

I wanted to like these books because the plot sounds really cool. It's bogged down with teenage S&M and barbaric, outdated views of femal
...more
Gordon
Aug 08, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: abandoned
Circumstances made me take small bites of this book for a few weeks and it's general lack of compulsion did not drive me back. After the first consolidated reading today though, this book has to go.

Confusingly written by an author who is so excited about the intricate mythos he is interweaving the reader is left stumbling in a strange WTF until the initially awkward and forgivable female-teenager-POV starts to go just completely off base with some clearly specific, misogynistic and rapacious/ba
...more
Nyna
Jul 25, 2008 rated it it was ok
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
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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...

Other Books in the Series

Chronicles of Chaos (3 books)
  • Fugitives of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #2)
  • Titans of Chaos (Chronicles of Chaos, #3)

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“Vows are powerful things," he said. "They set things in motion.” 9 likes
“Here is our first rule: Any life you create is yours, and must be cared for. No matter how humble or small, it is still yours, and you must answer for it.” 4 likes
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