Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “By Chance or Providence” as Want to Read:
By Chance or Providence
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

By Chance or Providence

(By Chance or Providence #1-3)

4.01  ·  Rating details ·  1,202 ratings  ·  211 reviews
Collecting stories by Becky Cloonan:

1. Wolves
As a lone hunter tracks an elusive beast through the forest, he reflects on his life and past love through a series of flashbacks, bringing the story to a climax that is as romantic as it is savage. This powerful short story begs for multiple read-throughs, never giving concrete answers, but (like the best enigmatic endings) lea
Hardcover, First, 108 pages
Published April 2014 by Lounak Books
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.01  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,202 ratings  ·  211 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of By Chance or Providence
Sam Quixote
Nov 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
By Chance or Providence is a trilogy of previously published short stories – Wolves, The Mire, and Demeter - by Becky Cloonan collected together in one volume. I reviewed all three individually in 2013 – those reviews are below. Enjoy!

(The publication order was Wolves first, then The Mire, and finally Demeter but I read The Mire first, then Wolves and then Demeter which is why I’m referencing The Mire in the Wolves review. Regarding the Demeter review, Cloonan was calling this series Ink and Thu
Dave Schaafsma
Cloonan dedicates her volume to "those who have crushes on your characters," as she does in this loosely linked trilogy of dark supernatural fantasies with brooding gorgeous men and women. The stories, "Wolves," "The Mire," and "Demeter" (see Sam Quixote's fuller review for summaries and analysis) are short, elusive, and evocative rather than a rendition of a complete narrative. I'm going to characterize these as poetry comics, where the images largely convey everything she wants us to know. And ...more
Jun 24, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: graphic
The art was very well done. The stories were intriguing and had a legendary feel, but ultimately didn't seem to go anywhere. Also, it's always a little sad to me to see authors today, especially women, falling back on the old "women are temptresses destroying men with their boobs" trope. ...more
ren ♡ [hiatus]
It’s the morning after and I can’t seem to get these stories out of my head. By Chance of Providence was hauntingly beautiful. Each story is so wonderfully poetic and dark, leaving you with a sense of melancholy. Becky Cloonan does an exceptional job at blending fantasy and horror to weave three timeless tales I don’t think I’ll ever forget.

It’s very rare for me to find graphic novels that I like because I’m very picky about art styles but this one blew me away. I want these illustrations plast
Maggie Stiefvater
May 23, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: recommended

The storytelling is three stars, but the art is eleventy stars, so it evens out.
This was a nice different kind of story. I enjoyed it. There are 3 issues that make up this volume. It is a trilogy, but a very short one. I feel like there should be more of this. It was so short and quick and I wanted more. That's a good thing.

The artwork was mysterious and the story kept you wanting more. Maybe, I'm tired, but I didn't really see how they related to each other, the 3 stories. It seems to be a love story of some sort. As I said, maybe I'm tired, but I didn't feel like dots we
Crystal Starr Light
Bullet Review:

WOW! I am just STUNNED at how beautiful this is and how my heart strings are now pulled all over the place. Each comic - Mire, Wolves, and Demeter - tell such a tear-jerking story in the fewest pages, but each tells it SO BRILLIANTLY WELL, much better than full length novels that tweak and manipulate your feelings to get you to cry already dammit!

Cloonan, you MUST write more! MORE PLEASE!
Mar 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
4 stars--I really liked it. This collection contains three shorter stories--"Wolves," "The Mire," and "Demeter." I enjoyed all three. There's not a lot of text--these are more the suggestion of stories rather than full arcs. They're mysterious and spooky and leave lots of room for interpretation. Clonan's art is fabulous--sinister and beautiful at once. ...more
Nice and gothic. Cloonan uses fairy tale themes in three stories - Demeter, the last tale is the best. But all stories are outstading.
Dec 25, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 6visuals
This is unsettling and gorgeous, and I loved it. Reminds me of a medieval version of Through the Woods (but Becky Cloonan uses less red than Emily Carroll uses).

Reread: still good!
This is something I'm going to have to re-read. For some reason, I was under the impression that this volume was all one, cohesive story - I didn't realize that it's actually 3 individual short stories that Cloonan initially published online only. I think had I known this ahead of time, it would've shaped my expectations differently.

The stories in this collection are beautiful and haunting. I do wish I had read them more slowly - I went through them kind of quickly and so I was confused some of
Maggie Gordon
By Chance or Providence is a mainstream publication of three zines that Cloonan previously produced. They are dark and horrifying fantasies, beautifully illustrated with dark and moody panels. My only beef is that the original zine publications had slightly different colours and a bit more nuance to the lines it seemed, but this is still a wonderfully luscious book. Also quite dark and terrifying!
Oct 28, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
The art in this is a gorgeous 5 stars, and while the stories were interesting, they weirdly weren't complete. A few of the stories were much too short to be any good, but again, the art was beautiful.

Another thing to add, only half of this image edition is the 3 stories. The other half is story designs and related art which were super gorgeous and almost more satisfying than the stories.
Aug 07, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: image-comics
This book contains three short stories. Well written with great ambiance. They left me wanting more. The art is fantastic and I'd be interested in more with this artist. ...more
Mar 28, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I can't even begin to explain just how much of my niche these stories are. Why is it so short. ...more
Oct 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A collection of three beautiful and dark short stories that Cloonan originally self-published. I love Becky Cloonan's art style, and this doesn't disappoint. A big part of the book is the art gallery at the end, and it is absolutely gorgeous.

I got this signed at the Helsinki Comics festival in 2018, and couldn't be happier. If you love dark artwork in strong black inks, check out By Chance or Providence! I can also highly recommend her illustrations in this Dracula edition.
Rod Brown
There is nothing groundbreaking here, but the three fantasy/horror stories are quite well done, especially the middle story, "The Mire." I'd certainly like to see Cloonan do another collection like this or tackle a longer piece in the same vein. ...more
Jun 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Gorgeous art, beautiful, mysterious atmosphere. Wish this was more widely available so I could recommend it to libraries!
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2017
Haunting, heartachingly sad and creepy stories.
Becky Cloonan's art is so stunningly beautiful and I can't believe I waited this long to finally read this! I've followed her on twitter for so long and this just reminds me why. ...more
Mateen Mahboubi
Jun 19, 2019 rated it really liked it
To echo what other reviewers have said, these three comics can be seen as poetic in their own way where nothing is obvious and Cloonan sets a great tone for us to enjoy. Three stories are presented here with little closure but they're all a great ride. Unfortunately it's all over a bit too quick and a fourth story would have been really nice to be included in this volume instead of many pages of additional art. ...more
Oct 12, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Zedsdead by: Found at Vault of Midnight
Three somber fairy tale-like short stories.
A naked man stumbles through a forest. A hunter tracks a werewolf. Flashbacks to a tryst with a woman. A king curses and exiles the hunter. A naked man stumbles through a forest.

Wolves is appealing as an experience but as a story it's woefully unclear. Is the naked man the hunter or the werewolf? Or someone else? Is the hunter exiled because the woman was the queen? Was the WOMAN the werewolf? Too many questions.
Ανδρέας Μιχαηλίδης
This would be probably worth 5 stars, if not for the fact that about 1/3 of the TPB is concept sketches and various artworks.

I liked the stories very much, however and I consider them further proof that Cloonan should stick to her own guns instead of becoming mixed up in terrible ideas such as the "Conan Incident" (although I confess, I liked her Belit).

Cloonan understands fundamental elements of the myth, folktale and oral storytelling, as well as how they connect to the art of comics. I would
Jul 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
I had no expectations really, but I've been reading so much sword and sourcery I think I was expecting that (which is silly).

Horror isn't really my thing, but these seem like reasonably standard fantastic horror, but polished enough.

The art though. OH MY FUCKING GOD THE ART. The concepts pages are almost the best bit because OH MY FUCKING GOD THE ART IS AMAZING.

(Demeter is also the best story. I liked it.)
Mike Sgier
May 20, 2014 rated it really liked it
A fine collection of 3 short stories by cartoonist Becky Cloonan. Using the setting and motifs of a dark, medieval fantasy world, each story examines the themes of desire, regret, loss, and the consequences when all three become entangled. Cloonan's writing is spare but evocative, and her brushwork rich and detailed, all the more bringing to life the tragic worlds of her cursed characters.

Lama epineclaire
Aug 10, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
My long wait has been rewarded. This read has been an absolute delight. The hypnotic illustrations and the compelling storytelling come together to create dark and poignant tales that will haunt you long after you have finished reading them. I am left craving more of the uncanny sublimity that Cloonan has created.
Dakota Morgan
Three haunting medieval tales with beautiful illustrations. The mood is well set, but the stories could use a little more cohesion - I could tell the author was trying something clever, but I had to go back and re-read sections to figure out what the twist actually was. Still, it was all delightfully dark and mysterious.
Coral Davies
May 26, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A stunning trilogy of tales that are beautifully told and exquisitely drawn. A wonderful spinning of old mythology (werewolves, haunted castles and greedy seas) that delicately handle the intricacies of human relationships, in a tender and loving fashion. She has just gained another fan.
Mar 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
An unexpected jewel.

Three stories that thread through one another.

Dark, bloody, smart and memorable. The lovely art near the end of the book has me wanting to order prints from the artist. Beautiful and emotive.

Highly recommended. I will be reading more of this author for sure.
Tiffany Lynn Kramer
The artwork of By Chance or Providence is stunning and on it's own is worthy of 5 stars. The stories however while being very captivating all seem to land just short of their potential. Despite that disappointment I hope to see more like this from Cloonan.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Bang!
  • Streak of Chalk
  • Fronteiras do Além
  • Henri Désiré Landru
  • Tomie Vol. 1
  • Satsuma Gishiden: Volume 1 the Legend of the Satsuma Samurai
  • Sob o Solo
  • Tomie Vol. 2
  • Rohan at the Louvre (Musée du Louvre #5)
  • November Volume I : The girl on the roof
  • Dragon Age: Blue Wraith
  • Blue in Green
  • Blood: A Tale
  • Mala Estrella
  • These Savage Shores
  • Sleepless, Vol. 2
  • Message to Adolf, Part 1
  • Hedra
See similar books…

Other books in the series

By Chance or Providence (4 books)
  • Wolves
  • The Mire
  • Demeter

Related Articles

Here’s some trivia for your next vacation get-together: The concept of the summer “beach read” book goes all the way back to the Victorian...
161 likes · 91 comments