Jen reviews A Gathering of Chaos, Cameron Hopkin‘s newly released Epic Fantasy novel, as part of a successful RPG Kickstarter campaign.
A huge thank you goes out to Cameron Hopkin, for the ecopy in exchange for a review.
|Series: A Gathering of Chaos – Asunder – standalone||Genre: Epic Fantasy, D&D style|
|Date of Publishing: May 26, 2021||Trigger Warnings: body horror, violence|
|Page count: 395||Publisher: Failed Superheroes Club|
The world of Asunder is dying. Its gods are long fled, and they took all the world’s metal with them… but it all happened so long ago that not even legends remain. In the now, a country girl sails into port, the only survivor of a plague ship, and a scheming priestess takes charge of her. Far to the south, an aging warrior monk forcibly recruits one of the Beast Riders to be his tracker. A remarkable vision of a demon lord binds them all together, and they scramble to find a bit of Chaos, the raw energy of their world, to protect humanity against this new threat.
It’s too bad they’re only going to make things worse.
“For there, in the cave, surrounded by guttering light of candles made from the tallow of human flesh, gleamed The Thing. He had touched it. It was a massive block of some shining gray material he had never seen before, half again as tall as him, five paces wide and ten deep. It was harder than stone and smooth as silk to the touch. He hadn’t been able to keep himself from it. It whispered to him, beckoned him, and when his fingers pressed against it, he had felt a terrible joy well up, consuming all thought, all reason. That is where it began, he thought. That was where I began the ending of mankind.”
Spirit by The Blue Stones
It’s been a while since I read a D&D style fantasy novel. Especially one that was this damned much fun.
A Gathering of Chaos is a tie-in novel for a TTRPG game, included as part of the Kickstarter package but luckily for us, that’s not the only way you’ll be able to get your hands on it.
I don’t know too much about the game, I purposely didn’t look into it before reading, letting the novel stand on its own. But I will leave a link to the Kickstarter page at the bottom for anyone that is interested in checking it out.
The dying world of Asunder has been abandoned by the Gods, taking the metal with them when they left.
Asunder is very cool and intriguing world. The population is made up of all types; humanoids, hybrid creatures, and monsters.
I loved the creativity behind a magic where Weavers can create the tools they need by using their energy/force to grow things into beneficial items – whether it be a dock or a backpack.
It’s a world that lets your imagination go wild, especially as you read along and see a few of the neat ideas – like the living gear which attaches to the user and works as part of them, or the Seafarers who have learned to adapt to their surroundings so well, that after a few months they will grow gills, or extra arms, depending on what their situation requires.
Gammaron – the warrior monk. His quest for the chaos shard (which he needs to take back to his home to kill the demon lord that is terrorizing his land) leads him to the Pacari people who command and bond with the beasts. There he recruits the young Beastmaster Kest into guiding him through the lands as he searches for the shard.
Renna – the sharp-tongued priestess to Gaia, is slightly power-hungry and was one of my favourites. Her little magic bag of tricks was filled with the seeds and poisons, that she has collected. She also has been dabbling in the Insectae side of the magic, which is a big no-no for the followers of Gaia, and after seeing some of her results – I can see why.
Nira’s ship is hit with The Purelight, killing everyone aboard except herself, leaving her with the gift of foresight. When she touches another, she can see their destiny. Once Renna realizes what an asset Nira and her visions are, she makes sure Nira has no choice but to help her obtain the lofty position Renna feels she deserves.
Along the way they pick up Guyrin, whom Gammaron believes is essential to his goal in removing the demon. And Tychus the Naga – my other favourite, he was so funny and I loved the way he was just gleeful about breaking the law and killing (yes, my humour might be a bit messed up).
I find there is always a little bit of a darker undertone to the D&D stories but I thought A Gathering of Chaos was balanced well with the darkness, humor, horror, and friendships, as each of these characters learn about themselves along the way and find inner-strength to accomplish their goals, and healing through their struggles.
The story – If you have read any of the classic D&D kind of stories, you’ll know what to expect: assorted characters gather for a quest; cue the fun. But this did a couple of things that surprised me – like the end result of a fight between Gamarron and Kest.
And also, Renna’s magical fix for one of the other character’s wounds…let me tell you, it was quite horrifying.
I loved that this story went places I wouldn’t have expected, but also gave us a somewhat happy hopeful feeling in the end.
To sum it up
A Gathering of Chaos was so much fun. I just had a blast with this book. I want more.
Fans of the old Forgotten Realms or the more recent The Copper Promise by Jen Williams may enjoy this one.
I haven’t looked at the game so I don’t know how much of these character choices are traits or just how the dice rolled (so to speak) for them this time around.
That sex talk was a bit awkward.
And as promised – Link to Kickstarter (which is fully funded btw). https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/failedsuperhero/asunder