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Fragile Chaos

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A god of war seeking restoration.
An unwilling sacrificial bride.
Betrayal that could destroy them both.

Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored.

Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses are just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That is, until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice.

Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming?

300 pages, Paperback

First published July 11, 2017

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About the author

Amber R. Duell

26 books232 followers
Amber R. Duell is a native of Central New York but currently lives in Massachusetts with her husband and two sons. She survives on caffeine and baked goods. When not reading or writing, she enjoys snowboarding, embroidering, staying up way too late to research genealogy, and discovering real-life adventures.

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Displaying 1 - 30 of 54 reviews
Profile Image for Candace Robinson.
Author 49 books996 followers
March 1, 2018
First, I wanted to read this because of the whole mythological aspect. It had me at War God! I also absolutely loved the prequel short story!

Theo and Cassia, what can I say? I loved them! Theo was a complex character that slowly built his way into my heart while Cassia ripped it out from the beginning with her incredible strength. Their chemistry was great! 

I could feel each and every emotion with Cassia when she became a sacrifice. From there I followed an intriguing story that I wasn't able to put down. The book swept me in from the beginning with the writing and world building and didn't let go until the very last page! 
Profile Image for Kariny 'Books of Fandom'.
256 reviews18 followers
April 18, 2017

Hello everyone! I'm so excited to be participating in the blog tour!!! First of all can we all take a minute to appreciate this gorgeous cover!? It was what first drew my attention and i'm so glad i got the chance to read this book.

War is everywhere and Theo, the god of War is on a mission to prove his self worth to his siblings. Cassia, orphan and sister to a traitor, is left to wander the streets of Kisk but she never believed that the inhabitants hated her so much for what her brother had done. When the High Priest offer her as an unwilling sacrifice to Theo he has two choices-accept her sacrifice and let her become his Bride thereby stopping the war or rejecting the sacrifice and allowing her to move on to the Netherworld after death. But Theo doesn't want to stop the war, he has too much to prove to his older brother, and neither is he ready to let Cassia pass on.

I did get a little confused with all the wars and the backgrounds. At times the romance went a little downhill for me but it was a really solid world building and a super unique plot!

Loved Theo's complex character. He was striving to prove himself to his older brother who had stripped him of most of his powers and he was seriously misunderstood. As a war god he is supposed to remain neutral and he has so much pressure from his siblings. It felt like he was struggling to prove to everyone that he could keep the war under control since he was after all a war god and i really hated some of his siblings for undermining him most of the time although  things don't always go the way Theo plans. He had his flaws too in the sense that he keeps everything bottled up inside because he's so hell bent on proving himself and that usually gets his plans ruined.

That's where Cassia comes in-she kind of shakes him up at some point of the book. I liked the balance and the connection these two had! Cassia was a really brave and sassy character who always had her head firmly on her shoulders.

I think this is a standalone and i'm really happy about that ending. There was a twist that sent the whole book into a tangle of deception and lies which i thought was totally awesome! So would i recommend this one? YES YES YES!!!!
Profile Image for booksnpenguins (wingspan matters).
757 reviews2,318 followers
December 8, 2021
DNFing @ 25%ish

I've been on this book way too much, but it's one of those cases in which the fault falls entirely on me and not on the book.
On the other hand, when the question is mythology and a gorgeous/badass POC mc in the same novel?, the answer is always a yes, so yeah, this is not a goodbye forever but a goodbye for now.

#PenguinOnATBRMission: book #26

this hashtag is something I self-indulgently created for fun when I decided to thin out my immense tbr list as a new years resolution starting from books I added on GR back in 2017/2018/2019, and since I can't seem to do anything quietly and I'm well known for being an overachiever, I had to go and turn it into an official thing. Feel free to check out the shelf with the same name if you don't mind keeping up with this insanely over-hyped adventure I got myself into. Take it as a chance to rediscover some books from a few years ago that might have accidentally flown under your radar, or to simply share with another fellow reader your very own reading experience. Happy reading and stay penguin-y!

To Be Continued...🐧
Profile Image for Bethany.
Author 22 books93 followers
December 12, 2017
When Cassia is unwillingly sacrificed to the War God, she's shocked when it's someone she's already met. Theo doesn't want a sacrificial bride because he doesn't want to be forced to choose sides in this war. As the War God, he needs to remain neutral. But when he catches a glimpse of Cassia's face, he can't deliver the final blow to send her to the Netherworld.

There's something between the two that keeps pulling Cassia and Theo together no matter how much friction there is. Not to mention Cassia is in over her head when she realizes just how much deception there is between the gods and goddesses, but she sees something different in Theo. It's small and well-hidden, but still there.

I loved the push and pull between the two characters. It built up anticipation and tension as I was eager to discover how everything was going to unfold. I loved Theo and Leander's characters. Goran was another favorite and Amber Duell does an excellent job with developing her variety of characters. It's hard to dislike any of them.

Final Verdict: This was a story that was perfectly colored with emotion that kept me on the edge of my seat. I would recommend it to fans of mythology, romance, mystery, and action. This was one of my favorite reads of the year.
Profile Image for Helen.
877 reviews2 followers
December 2, 2017
This was fun. A family of gods squabbling; two countries at war; god of war distracted by a sacrifice.

I kept reverting to ancient Greece for my setting and clothes, very inaccurate of me!
Profile Image for K.S. Marsden.
Author 19 books718 followers
January 11, 2018
Reviewed by K S Marsden for Readers' Favorite

Theo is the god of war and, despite some sibling rivalry, he is in his element as three nations are pushed towards destruction. War is all he has ever known, until a chance encounter with a young girl changes centuries of ambition. The narration of this story is split equally between Theo, a god who looks about 17 years old, and has been influencing wars and conflicts for centuries, and Cassia, a 16-year-old girl whose family were victims of the current Kisk war. This book is suitable for older YA readers, as it starts with the sacrifice/murder of Cassia, and contains sexual themes later on.

Fragile Chaos is set in a world similar to ours. It echoes the decline of religious devotion to the gods as humans become more advanced and sure of themselves. The gods are original creations by Amber R. Duell, although they remind me of the Greek gods – a family of powerful beings that can be petty and underhanded, carrying feuds for all time. This setting felt like something new and intriguing, but faded into the background to allow the romance to take centre stage. The story focuses on the growing attachment between Cassia and Theo, who shouldn’t like each other for a variety of reasons, but can’t deny the attraction between them. I liked the relationship between the main characters; it just hooks you in and pulls you along effortlessly as you wonder how this will ever work out. This book will be very popular with YA readers looking for their new immortal crush.
Profile Image for Christina Bauer.
Author 100 books954 followers
February 8, 2018
Great romance and KICK ASS WORLD BUILDING!!! This author came up with her own pantheon of gods and goddesses (somewhat greco-roman but who cares) and put them in modern times. Plus, there's a whole 'girl who's a sacrifice to a god who then fall in love with said god and vice-versa' thing that I enjoyed greatly. AWESOMESAUCE!!! READ THIS!!!
Profile Image for Paige.
1,723 reviews79 followers
September 17, 2017
Rating: 3/5

Genre: YA Fantasy

Recommended Age: 15+ (some mature scenes, death, war, the usual lol).

I received a free copy of this book from KidLitExchange in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own. If you’re interested in joining, please check out our new website!

A GOD OF WAR SEEKING RESTORATION. AN UNWILLING SACRIFICIAL BRIDE. BETRAYAL THAT COULD DESTROY THEM BOTH. “Every fiber of my being is woven from the rage of mortals.” Theodric, the young God of War, has a talent for inciting conflict and bloodshed. After being stripped of his powers by his older brother, King of Gods, he sets out to instigate a mortal war to prove himself worthy of being restored to power. “I loved Kisk once; it was my home… But that was before. This is now.” Sixteen-year-old Cassia, like many in the modern era, believes gods and goddesses to be just a myth. Enemy to her country and an orphan of the war, she has no time for fairy tales. That’s until religious zealots from Theo’s sect offer her up as a sacrifice. Can Cassia and Theo end the mortal war and return balance to the earth and heavens? Or, will their game of fate lead down a path of destruction, betrayal, and romance neither of them saw coming? – Amazon.com

Let’s face it, YA fantasy has become hugely popular in the past few years. It’s so popular that it’s become very oversaturated. There are thousands of books about fairies, the end of the world, vampires, zombies, etc. And while I am NOT complaining, I do love when I see something different. This book was definitely different for me. I’ve never read a book (outside of the Percy Jackson series) that had a mixture of gods and modern time. However, this book had a very different feel from the Percy Jackson series! It had a dark and gritty feel to it and it was so refreshing to read something completely new. The characters in the book were fairly well developed and the plot was interesting. The author did well in writing her book and the writing was not hard to follow along with.

However, I do have to say that this book did not keep my interest and I found it hard to keep reading it. At the beginning of the book the reader is just thrown into this world and it’s really confusing to figure out the time period of the story. At first I thought it was like ancient Greek-ish but then I figured out that it was set in modern day. The pacing was really weird for me, it’s not really fast or slow but the book does skip around a lot. The book switches POV a lot and the book does not explain how the “magic” in the book works.

Verdict: Overall, this book was not for me but it is a very unique and fun book that I think those who loved the Percy Jackson series and who loves YA fantasy books. This book does talk about ritualistic sacrifices though, so if you’re a young reader make sure your parents OK this book for you to read. Don’t let my opinion decide if you should buy this book or not as each book can be interpreted differently.
Profile Image for Jordan.
672 reviews42 followers
July 6, 2017
I didn’t realize how much I’ve been missing YA takes on mythology until I picked up this book and could not put it down. Filled with folklore, violence, epic battles, and tons of drama, Fragile Chaos is a gripping thrill ride.

The mythology. This is a different take on traditional god and goddesses, but still fueled by rivalries, lies, intrigue, and all the competition that comes between siblings. I loved that so much depended on tributes to the gods, sacrifices, and political games. The atmosphere is fantastic. It’s gritty and dark and zealous. The danger is there full force. You’ll feel every bit of uncertainty and adrenaline. It’s awesome.

At first, it’s a little hard to get into the story. It’s a whirlwind. The story immediately starts without any intro into what is going on. You’re thrown into the middle of the battle. But once you get into it and figure out all the complicated rivalries and the high stakes, it’s kind of addictive.

Read more here:

Profile Image for Olivia Chanel's Stories in Space.
239 reviews14 followers
July 11, 2017
Thank you so much, Amber R. Duell, for my eARC of Fragile Chaos and the chance to read and review your book early. I really appreciate the opportunity.

Fragile Chaos is a book I’m in love with and I’m so happy I had the opportunity to read this one early. It took me a while to get into the story but once I was in, there was no going back for me. The entire concept of Fragile Chaos intrigued me and while I was scared it wouldn’t deliver I can definitely say it did and then some. The story follows Theo, the God of War, and Cassia, a female sacrifice meant to become Theo’s bride. From their first scene, there is a clear connection between the two and the more you see of them, both individually and together, the more invested you become in their fates. If you are a fan of young adult books with strong mythical elements and romance that is fought for then Fragile Chaos is a must read.

“War is a captivating, magnetic disorder. And it’s mine. Only the God of War can decide when and how it ends, and right now I’m perfectly happy to let it rage on despite what my brother wants. He may be older, and the King of the Gods, but this is my decision.”

I love the mythology aspect of the story. In a lot of ways, it reminds me of Greek and Roman mythology. However, despite the similarities, the mythology present in Fragile Chaos is that of its own. In Fragile Chaos, there are six realms of the gods and goddesses and all of the gods are siblings. The siblings are Ebris, the King of the Gods; Drea, the Goddess of Life; Brisa, the Goddess of the Sea; Leander, the God of Death; Astra, the Goddess of Love, and lastly, Theodric, the God of War and the protagonist of the book. The thing about Fragile Chaos is that it feels new and different in comparison to a lot of other books I’ve read based on mythology. First of all, Fragile Chaos focuses on the God of War which I have never seen before. Moreover, the whole world that Amber R. Duell has created is intriguing, draws you in and makes you want to see more of it. I have always loved books that feature gods and goddesses and I’m really happy that Fragile Chaos managed to surprise me, which I didn’t think it’d do. Fragile Chaos is gritty and manages to keep you at the edge of your seat until the very end.

However, what made me really fall in love with Fragile Chaos is definitely the main characters. We have Theo, the God of War, who is misunderstood by his siblings and wants them to see him for who he is, and for them to trust his judgments. Then we have Cassia, who despite being all alone in the world is strong and never gives up without a fight. Both of them are headstrong and have a soft side to them not everyone gets to see and that is what makes them such interesting characters.

To see Theo and Cassia fall in love was seriously a pleasure. My heart was weak the entire time, especially during the moments when Theo turned soft in the presence of Cassia while at the same time everything was on fire between them. The tension between Theo and Cassia was electric, and their chemistry and the way they were around each other throughout the book will make you fangirl. Another aspect of their story that I love was the fact that their love didn’t come easy. They both struggled with their emotions for each other and that made their connection that much deeper in the end. Theo and Cassia made me root for them, fangirl over the way they looked at and thought about each other, and their kissing scenes had me squealing. I just love it when a book does that.

“She collides against my chest. My breathing hitches. Each place her body touches mine feels as if it’s exploding. I push her away, stepping back at the same time, and drag in a breath.”

The one aspect of the story I think could have been written differently is the way Cassia’s skin color is described. She is clearly a woman of color, especially based on the book’s cover. However, in the book her skin color is described as tan and bronze. Tan is a very ambiguous word. Anyone can be tan no matter if your skin color is pink, beige, brown and black etc. and that’s why I thought her skin color could have been described better and therefore clarified. Two quotes from the book that highlights this issue are the following,

A girl in an oversized khaki jacket is sitting at the edge of the firelight’s glow. Shadows flicker over her tan skin, dancing in time to the flames. She can’t be more than sixteen. “Last roll,” she says.


My skin is almost as bronze as hers, my hair just as black, and if it weren’t for my blue eyes, I could easily pass as a fellow islander.

All in all, Fragile Chaos is a great young adult book about six gods and goddesses and the world they are a part of, for better and for worse. This book will make you fangirl and root for the protagonists until the very end. Theo and Cassia’s story has its ups and downs, nothing is ever easy for them, but their chemistry is amazing and you will want them to end up together despite all their flaws. If you love a good young adult romance, mythology, and a story with high stakes then you definitely need to read Fragile Chaos by Amber R. Duell.
August 1, 2019
In a world torn apart by war, one young woman learns that the gods are as real as she is...and they hold all the power.

16 year old Cassia's world has been torn apart - her brother was hanged for treason and her parents were killed in a bomb attack, both part of a war that has destroyed her home country of Kisk. When she unwittingly becomes a sacrifice to gods she doesn't believe in, she learns far more about this war than she ever dreamed of.

Theodric, the God of War, is intent on proving himself to his siblings after being stripped of most of his powers by his older brother. Young, with a big chip on his shoulder, he approachs war in the human world with little compassion, manipulating it primarily to prove his own abilities. When he meets Cassia, however, chinks begin to show in his armor, revealing a more tender hearted soul than he would like to let on. The longer he spends with Cassia, the more he begins to question his role in the war and in his family's complex dynamic.

It took me a little while to get in to this book but once I did, I was hooked. The development of a fictitious mythology was solidly done and I kept having to remind myself that I wasn't, in fact, reading about Greek or Roman gods (the jeans and t-shirts that Theo wears helped me out there!). Theo and Cassia are both complex, believable characters and the supporting cast is just the right size to be well- developed as well (I particularly enjoyed Goran's wry older-brother attitude). Cassia is a strong female lead with suspicion and sass in spades and Theo's prove himself at all costs attitude is a good foil for what is to come as the novel progresses. Amber Duell has created a fascinating, complex world that mimics ancient mythology while remaining fresh and vibrant. With ample room to explore other storylines, I look forward to reading more about the gods and goddesses that rule over Kisk, Volkana and Asgya.

A great choice for YA fantasy and mythology lovers. Thank you to NetGalley for the ARC.
Profile Image for Kimberly.
797 reviews91 followers
October 2, 2017
Thank you @kidlitexchange for providing me with a copy of this book to read and review. All opinions are my own.

I was anxious to read this new young adult book once I read the description and saw that it contained a bit of mythology. I think that's definitely a subject that is lacking in this genre/age range and open to so much interpretation! Like Greek mythology, this book contains characters that are all siblings who control six various realms: King of Gods, War, Love, Death, Life and Water. There is a ton of sibling rivalry and plenty of drama!!

This story is told from two different perspectives. Theo is the God of War. He has been stripped of his powers by his brother and has set out to prove his worth by starting a mortal war. His only focus is strategy and winning at any cost. Cassia has lived through the war that has plagued her area. She has lost all of her family and has now become a human sacrifice to the God of War in hopes that he will accept her as his bride and cease battle. Can she win him over and are her intentions true??

What I enjoyed most about this book were the interactions that took place between Theo and Cassia. They definitely had some great chemistry! It was fun watching them work through their mixed feelings. However, my favorite character was Leander, The God of Death. I was intrigued by his personality, realm and overall feeling of loneliness. I would definitely read a sequel that focused on him!

The book did seem rushed. I guess I would liked to have seen the romance and conclusion drawn out a bit more. There are quite a few battle scenes and at times the switch up between perspectives didn't flow as smoothly, but overall it was an entertaining, quick read. The author did a great job of creating interesting characters and vivid realms! The cover is stunning and quite fun for a bookstagrammer to photograph.
Profile Image for Nannah.
469 reviews17 followers
November 17, 2017
Ahh, I wish I liked this better! I feel as if I almost know this author (a friend of a friend, nearly). It came highly recommended, so I was really excited!

I loved the worldbuilding for sure, but it was the main relationship that left me feeling lukewarm. Since that was such a large part of the novel, it played a huge part of my overall opinion of the book.

Book content warnings
genocide (discussed)
unhealthy relationships

Cassia is a girl unwillingly sacrificed to Theo, the God of War. Theo is trying to prove himself to his family to earn his powers back, while Cassia is simply trying to survive amidst this deadly political game. When Cassia finds something to gain, will she start playing, or will she help Theo?

I love any rich world with well-thought-out mythology. The gods here are so well constructed and written, and I loved this book for that. But the book is mainly about Theo's relationship with Cassia, which is ... to put it simply, extremely unhealthy. Even past the halfway point, Cassia is still frightened he's going to kill her. Kill her. The power balance is so uneven and makes for a very disturbing relationship that made me so uncomfortable I almost didn't want to finish. :S Though things are sort of talked about at the Very end, it's not enough for me. Plus, Cassia is underage: she's sixteen. And when Theo's angry with her, he threatens her life, threatens her loved ones' lives, and threatens genocide against her entire race. It's just ... not good, to say the least. I'm just not into any of this, or any of these tropes. I'm tired of it.

So yeah, I was caught between being starry-eyed and being disgusted. :/
Profile Image for The Book Junkie Reads . . ..
4,861 reviews138 followers
December 7, 2017
Mythology, gods, goddesses, war, peace, conflict, betrayal, sacrifice, . . . more?

Theo was young and determined to prove himself and his place among the gods. Cassia was not so much a believer in the gods but a sacrifice to them. The war of her country has precipitated much unrest both on Earth and in the heavens.

I found much to pull my interest with each moment spent listening to the audio. The story was not over the top drowned down by the heaviness that could have consumed it. There were light moments, fun moments, easy banter, moments of disbelief, some drama, a battle or two, and a journey that was full.

Pacing good. Story good. Characters interesting. Narration was complementary.

Narrators Review of . . . FRAGILE CHAOS . . . I could feel the harmony between Jamie and Bradley. I felt transported to the time and place with their easy flow.
Profile Image for Hazel.
51 reviews19 followers
June 8, 2019
3.5 stars. this book made me so frustrated and anxious and i dont even know why. i think a big reason is the dual perspectives which give the reader insight so we know when misunderstandings happen which is a trope i DESPISE. its why i hate shakespeare so much. any time plot advancements happen that could have been avoided if the characters just talked to each other i die a little inside and that happened a Lot here. loved theo tho. hes done nothing wrong ever and i love him. ok bye.
Profile Image for Louisa.
6,893 reviews31 followers
April 19, 2017
Such a great book! I enjoyed the world and the characters! And it came together so well! Really enjoyable!
Profile Image for Kester Nucum.
155 reviews1 follower
March 30, 2018
Thanks so much to the author for sending me a free electronic review copy in exchange for an honest review. This will not affect my review in any way.

I had really high expectations for Fragile Chaos the first time I encountered both the book and the author. The premise intrigued me very much, and I was really interested by the infusion of mythology along with romance and action. While this fantasy certainly had many strong points—such as its world-building—it felt a bit short of my expectations. I wished I could have been sucked into the book and transported into the book’s world, but I felt very detached. I became more focused, unfortunately, with trying to complete the book rather than enjoy and savor it.

Fragile Chaos did have some intricate world-building, which I have got to say. The mortal and immortal realms were very well-crafted, and I would love to learn more about them. The only problem is that since the map didn’t format well in my Kindle copy, I didn’t have a good picture of where everything exactly was. In addition, the author definitely puts you on the edge of your seat at times. You just want to know what will happen next, and you find yourself running through the pages. It does hook you from the beginning, and it has the potential to enrapture you in all the mythology and conflict. I also liked the characters, too. There was a wide array of gods and humans with staggering differences and personalities, which adds to the tension.

For some reason, though, the mythology just did not click with me as much as I had thought I would. I just did not like it. I really didn’t enjoy the romance that much, too. The book fell a bit flat for me, and I wished I could have been more transported into the story. When I got to end, there were a few plot holes that made me even more confused, especially with all the questions I had.

Certainly it did have the potential to wow me, but unfortunately it did not meet my high standards.
If you are a big fan of books that use mythology as a central backdrop, then I recommend you to try out Fragile Chaos! While it wasn’t the best fit for me, I really hope that it will be a great read for you. Fragile Chaos is a YA debut that infuses myth with reality. It’s a great novel for readers who love fantasy and romance, and it has some spectacular world-building that has the potential to fascinate you for a long time.
Profile Image for Sissy Lu {Book Savvy Reviews}.
519 reviews50 followers
October 2, 2018
In a land riddled with war sixteen-year-old, Cassia is just trying to survive and discover where or if her brother is still alive when a mysterious being enters her life. Theo is the god of war and from the beginning seems intrigued by Cassia but then the unthinkable happens and Cassia is soon offered up as a sacrifice to the god of war it changes everything.

The story line is this, Theodric [Theo] is stripped of his powers by his elder brother and King of the gods, Ebris. He must prove himself to earn the right to his powers again but he is headstrong and prideful, unwilling to bend to his brother’s wishes and as such the war is drawn out. He is stubborn when it comes to a few things – the war and what he must do with the sacrifice that winds up in his home. With only two options – marry her or send her to the Netherworld.

There is a beautiful world set up which I would have loved to see more but the folklore that was woven into the story was quite stunning. The mythology that was created, each god and goddess with their story brought beautiful elements to the book. The characters are developed well as the book goes on and seems to highlight the growth of Cassia and Theodric. Cassia being confrontational, to begin with, and Theodric being stubborn and angry. There is romance as the book goes on and it unfolds slowly. The supporting characters that are in the book offer more than just ‘background characters’ and bring the story together nicely.

The pace of the book was kept overall fairly steady as the story focused largely on Cassia and Theo as they progressed from their initial shock at the cards they were dealt. As the story continues on we see how their growth affects not only them but also the war.

All in all, this was quite a refreshing read and something unique to the current market!

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Profile Image for Jenny Yergin.
319 reviews10 followers
April 28, 2017
*I received this as an ARC in exchange for an honest review*

Fragile Chaos is Percy Jackson for high school students or young adults! I love reading about mythology so the retelling of Cupid and Psyche fit this perfectly. In this story you see the gods in a slightly futuristic setting and almost everyone thinks the gods are a myth. The main characters are the god of war and a female human sacrifice, Cassia. A story full of romance, betrayal, and chaos is sure to attract those teens that enjoyed Percy Jackson but are ready for something more mature.
Profile Image for Kati.
458 reviews23 followers
April 23, 2017
This mash up of modern times and mythology combines elements of Beauty & the Beast and Hades & Persephone to create a totally original retelling. I loved this book, the imagery, the worlds, the characters, it all worked so well.

Cassia is a sixteen-year-old girl who is unwillingly sacrificed to the God of War and forced to live in The Realm of the Gods and Goddesses. She is a strong female character dumped in an unfamiliar world and slowly navigates this world and learns more about the people around her.

Theo is the God of War and as such he has more on his plate than dealing with Cassia. Yet, there is an undeniable bond between the two that he cannot deny. The turmoil of Theo’s decision and the slow burning romance between Cassia and Theo left me loving this book.

The story itself was beautiful and the pacing worked well. There was never a dull moment. The creation of this new world and the world-building was spectacular. I cannot wrap up this review without mentioning the stunning cover. This was a fantastic cover that drew me in and was the main influence for me to consider this book to read.
Profile Image for LaRonda (Flying Paperbacks).
371 reviews31 followers
August 25, 2018
You can see my full review here!

I bought this on a whim, not expecting much yet I enjoyed myself. Usually, mythology type books are over saturated with romance (like... it's too much), but while there was a main plot of romance, other things happened that kept me interested.

Told in dual POV, it starts off with the ground running, introducing us to our character and their quirks real quick. Speaking of the characters, Cassie and Theo separately were amazing. Cassie wasn't a damsel in distress, despite her predicament. And Theo? This borderline romantic, misunderstood war god? Also amazing. And together the sparks flew wildly.

There were a few side characters that I loved, A plot twist that I didn't see coming and misunderstandings that may have been unnecessary but that's probably just me not liking conflict. My only issue was the ending. It was sweet and cute, but I needed an epilogue. Overall, I had a good time.
Profile Image for Susan.
1,745 reviews36 followers
December 31, 2017
This story started off strong, pulling me in right away. Cassia, a 16 year old orphan, is stuck in a war torn land. The gods are not listening to all the prayers calling for an end to the fighting. Cassia must make do with her own wits and abilities, scrounging clothing, food, and warmth as best she can. While the tale is set in a fictional world, it has a modern-day feel to it. There’s sneakers and highways and tank tops and such. Toss in deities walking the land, and I was hooked.

Cassia then becomes an unwilling sacrifice to Theodric, the God of War. This part was very interesting as well because I really didn’t think things would go so far. Yep, Cassia’s existence is transformed. However, since Theo has previously interacted with her, he decides not to send her to the underworld right away. So we get to know the deities better, seeing how they live, what they think of us puny humans, and their various roles in the mortal wars. Additionally, Cassia learns that her brother Orren, who she feared was dead, is alive and was also set up to look like a traitor.

Then we get some insta-love going on. Sigh… Not my thing and I almost always find that it contradicts a character’s personality. Now in this particular case, Cassia is sexy teen jailbait and not very experienced when it comes to romantic relationships. So I can almost buy into her teen angst and silly behavior in this matter. But then I look at Theo, a deity and War God and certainly quite a bit older than Cassia. So I had a hard time being OK with his silly behavior. The romance ended up not doing much for me yet it consumed most of the last 3/4 of the book.

In the beginning we learned something about the war, the various factions, and how the average citizen and soldier were affected. Then we got some glimpses into the gods motivations for their roles in the war. However, that pretty much gets set aside for the romance. I really wish the story had stuck with the war intrigue and shifting powers as that was pretty interesting.

Cassia starts off interesting and with plenty of potential. She still has some of that by the end of the book but there were a few things that made me wonder if she’s really cut out to survive in this world of war-obsessed deities. For instance, she wants to have a serious talk with Theo at one point so she wants to dress in something that makes her feel strong. She picks a pink top and jean shorts. Ugh! She has access to nearly anything she wants and she lives in a War God’s palace. I just didn’t see how that choice of outfit made her feel strong.

There’s several side characters that caught my eye. Goran, Theo’s man servant, has a level head and knows how to talk to Theo as a friend. He’s key in maintaining balance. Then there’s this other goddess, Brisa, who is basically a pirate. Yes! Give me more of her please! She’s driven by treasure and may do something evil and despicable later in the series but I still really look forward to seeing what role she plays. Ebris, ruler of all the gods, interests me too because he is the most treacherous and most powerful. The other three sibling gods (Leander, Astra, and Drea) had smaller roles and not much personality though Leander gets a touch more in the last 5th of the book. I look forward to learning more about each in subsequent books. Overall, 4/5 stars.

The Narration: Bradley Pittman & Jamie-Lee Lewis did a decent job with this story. Most of the time, they sounded like they were in the same room for the shared scenes but there were a few instances where the differences in recording quality were quite evident. Pittman’s voice for Theo was excellent for most of the book though he sounded quite a bit younger and more vulnerable during the final scenes. Perhaps that was done on purpose but I missed Theo’s more masculine voice. Lewis was good at sounding like a freaked out 16 year old. Much of the time her performance sounded like she was one a stage projecting her voice to an audience. It wasn’t quite shouting but it was a bit more than necessary for an audiobook. Both narrators mispronounced a few words throughout the story. And both narrators were great with the various emotions the characters went through. I really liked Pittman’s portrayal of Orren near the end of the book. There were several special effect sounds and mostly they worked. They never over powered the verbal narration but sometimes I didn’t find them fitting. For instance, the story describes a door being slammed, and I then hear a soft click like a bathroom cabinet door being softly closed. So, if anything, I would say the sound effects needed to be more prominent to work well. 4/5 stars.

I received a free copy of this book.
Profile Image for Luca the Jellyfish Queen.
379 reviews11 followers
July 4, 2019
Gods don't exist. They're fairy tales created thousands of years ago by people desperate for something to believe in.

Yeah, well, Cassia, you've got thrown for a loop!

Fragile Chaos.

I feel like I start every other review of mine with "I don't know something". But to my credit, there's a whole lot going on in Fragile Chaos.
There's war (but sidelined, because love story), your local douchebag-but-he's-hot-so-it's-cool love interest, an outsider protagonist, five hundred people hanging around at this supposedly unwelcomed god's home... I have trouble telling people I know in real life, and talk to regularly, apart, I am not made to handle big character casts.

In my opinion, Fragile Chaos tried too hard. It tried to bring a love story (that makes me think of the whole Bella-Edward desaster, since one of them is 16, and one is an actual god), gods (why would you make a god a teenager? And even make the gods say "he's equivalent of a 17 year old"??), war, political intrigue/betrayal... It tried to fit all those things in 300 pages, and let me tell you, it did not work.

Cassia had one single defining character trait and that was basically
Cassia: He told me to do that
Cassias brain: Do the exact opposite
Cassia: But why?
Cassias brain: You gotta
I don't remember a single other thing about her. Sure, she broke the bread like once, and while it was recounted about three times, it didn't have any impact on her character or personality. One time she cared, the next she didn't, then she cared a whole lot again, and then she was indifferent again.
While we're at it, how come Cassia didn't believe gods were a thing, but then when she met the actual god of war, she went "alright, cool, what's for dinner?"???? I would've freaked the fuck out if I was met with the god of jackets, much less than the actual fucking god of war .
This is not only the case for Cassia, but for all the cast, I think. They had one defining trait and everything else was bound to change to make the plot work.

Unfortunately, really, really not my case.

Thanks to Aurelia Leo and Netgalley for providing this ARC!
483 reviews10 followers
December 11, 2017

This was an AMAZING audiobook from the start, I was hooked and could not stop listening. It was full of power, strength, romance and myth - everything I love and more.

The setting takes place in a mythical world with people praying and sacrificing to the Gods but so many of them have actually forgotten the Gods themselves or have dreamed up a different version of the Gods in their own minds. Cassia is a young woman who is betrayed by her country who view her as an enemy. Her parents are gone and she has lost everything she held dear.

Near the beginning of the book, Cassia is sacrificed to the God of War by her fellow citizens. You can just imagine her shock, pain and the sting of betrayal. Theo, the God of War, accepts her as a sacrifice and brings her to his home. While he does this he doesn't initially full accept her as his "bride".

Theo is full of raw power, strength and an almost anger. War and fighting is in his blood and he is plagued with sibling rivalry and his own betrayals. Cassia, with her innocence and proud nature, brings out a new side of him. One of hope and trusting. We watch as his character evolves and he slowly begins to fall in love with her.

The pair are thrown together not by choice but soon discover they have a strong attraction towards each other. They have to learn to trust but with their past history and the current political and war going on this makes it very difficult. They would tend to take one step forward and two steps back.

The plot in this story is amazing and I loved every moment of it. What I really enjoyed was having the two narrators, male and female. This made a huge difference in the telling of this story and really helped to bring the story to life. They also included background noise (chatter/rocks crumbling, etc..) which made the novel that much more real. I have never listened to that type of book before and it was fantastic.

This is a definite must listen to audiobook, you will not be disappointed.
Profile Image for Lilly.
70 reviews12 followers
February 4, 2018
You're the only war I can't win. The only war I don't want to.

I came across Fragile Chaos when I was looking for books with a POC as the lead character. The blurb promised a story that involved gods and goddesses. Being a mythology fan, that intrigued me, so I purchased the book. And boy, I’m glad I did.

The story starts right in the middle of a war, with Theo (as the God of War himself) trying to take things in control. He meets Cassia later on and finds himself drawn to her. They part ways with her not being as intrigued as him as he is on her, but they meet again after she is sacrificed to be his bride. What follows is a series of events where Theo tries to prove himself to his siblings and where Cassia wants to find a way to go back to her “normal” life. Along the way, they find themselves falling for each other, but it’s not an easy road for them what with the layers of deceit they find themselves in.

To be honest, the beginning of the book confused me. I wanted to understand what was going on with the war, but it took some time for me to do that. There were also parts that were a bit boring for me. However, I loved how the author introduced me to gods and goddesses that are different from the ones from Greek mythology. I also found it interesting how these characters are still quite young in mortal years. The oldest, Ebris, is only 25 years old. What makes them similar to the Greek gods is how they squabble with one another. So there’s that family drama again.

I think what I love the most about this book is the relationship between Theo and Cassia. I ached for them to interact because I thought there wasn’t enough of that. But oh, when they did, I absolutely loved it! Overall, I enjoyed reading this book, but I do have to say this one last thing. I need more! There are books wherein when you reach the end, you are either happy because it is finally over, or you are sad because you want more. For me, Fragile Chaos belongs to the latter category.
Profile Image for Lilly.
373 reviews18 followers
December 9, 2017
First off, I love mythology and all that comes with this subject. To combine mythology with present times is risky if not more. One has to be very skilled with writing, so that the story does not flow into ridiculous. But, with this book I felt the joy of reading about gods and their wars and passions for humans. The author did a great job describing the plot and intertwining mythological aspects with our mortal lives.
The story plunges directly into action. We don’t get a moment to spare and I felt quite attracted from the first pages. Theo’s stubbornness is what’s driving the book for now. But once Cassia enters, her stubbornness will match his. They will form a great team (and maybe more?) and together will find a way to balance their relationship.
The characters are a match to each other. The attraction between them is visible from the first moment they lay eyes on each other. However, Theo has bigger plans and worlds to fight for. He doesn’t need to worry about a mortal. Cassia didn’t ask for this, she is as bothered by the situation as he is. But she will try to adapt. They both will try to adapt and face the consequences. The dialogue brought a smile to my lips more times than one and it adds to the good time spent reading it.
Other great things are: the audio format and the world building. The narrators did a great job as well. Their voices were perfect for the characters and they complemented each other quite nicely. I would recommend this version as is more captivating, but the book can quite well do it too. As for the world building, it was amazing and truly mythical.
I had a great time, I loved the story, loved the characters, the narration, the writing. No point in giving less than 5 stars. Hope you’ll enjoy it too. Happy Reading
Profile Image for Anais (atrailofpages) .
518 reviews13 followers
December 30, 2022
I am honestly not sure what I just read. The synopsis is what drew me in and that there is romance, but I just don't really understand what I read...

This follows Cassia who ends up being sacrificed to the God of War Theodric, which is where she finds herself after she dies is in his home. Instead of killing her and sending her to her actual death, he allows he to live. And that's about all I understood from what I read. There is more to the story, but I don't understand the rest of the story.

I didn't understand what timeline this world was in, or if it was even our world. I also don't understand why there was a war going on, and why it seemed like Theodric, who is a god, had no powers because of his brother, but there was never any clarification, that I saw, about why any of this was happening.

I read the whole book in the hopes that something would be explained by the end of the book, but now it just seems like it was a waste of my time, and that makes me sad because it started out interesting, and I was intrigued enough to want to know what's going on, but it was never fully explained.

I also love romance, but the romance in this book left much to be desired. Cassia was actually a pretty great character, but I don't understand the point of her being there. And Theodric was very broody and obviously had a lot going on and I just didn't believe the romance between the two of them. It just sort of happened, and felt a lot like instalove, which I'm not a fan of, unless it is like a Fated Mates trope.

I think the book would have flowed better if there was less bouncing around and more detailed explanation about the world and the situation in the world. Overall, I was disappointed in this book, and I don't plan on continuing this series, no matter how pretty that cover is! I received a free digital copy to read. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Profile Image for Kathie Nguyen.
11 reviews
April 14, 2019
The plot of it drew me in right away. I had really high expectations of it, and in some areas it excelled but others, it fell short.

The authors descriptive writing is phenomenal in painting the scene and allowing you to feel what the characters feel. That’s probably what impressed me most about the book.

The plot, I felt didn’t fully develop as well as I wish it would’ve. There wasn’t much background information on how Theodric lost his powers, or how these gods came to be. I wish there was more insight on the war itself so we could feel the conflict, and see why the war is so important to all the characters.

The relationship between Theodric and Cassia was so rushed. One chapter Cassia is terrified and spiteful that she’s been taken as a sacrifice to a god that she doesn’t know. The next, she’s struggling with romantic feelings for him that appeared even though they had a couple short interactions with each other. Their relationship didn’t develop at all so it was hard for me to find a connection with them.
Profile Image for Kalyn Josephson.
Author 7 books669 followers
February 2, 2018
Fragile Chaos takes place in a wonderfully re-imagined world of myths and gods. It begins in the war-torn fictional country of Kisk, where 16 yo Cassia is scarified by her countrymen to the God of War. Which sounds like the end of a novel, but in actuality serves for the beginning of an original take on the "afterlife" and the gods that rule it.

Things take off pretty quickly at the beginning of the novel, and although the action slows down a bit after that, the characters and their interactions are so enjoyable that I stayed glued to the pages throughout. There's lots of romance, sibling rivalries, and chances for everything to go horribly wrong. I really loved the characters, as well as the unique world and take on this type of mythology. In particular I was a fan of the blending of old and new between the two worlds explored in the story. Not to mention Duell's writing is crystal clear and flows smoothly!
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