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The Chaos Balance (1998)

The Chaos Balance (1998)
3.93 of 5 Votes: 1
0812571304 (ISBN13: 9780812571301)
tor fantasy
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The Chaos Balance (1998)
The Chaos Balance (1998)

About book: This one isn't for everyone as it's more philosophy than adventure.I never put spoilers in my reviews.This book can be dry but it's invaluable in understanding this world Modesitt has built. The ending is a climactic as any would wish.L. E. Modesitt, Jr. writes epic fantasy with political commentary overtones. His world building is impeccable, taking the familiar and giving it a unique twist.His protagonists are usually underdogs who don't fit into the mold cast for them by others in some way, chronicling their struggles to understand themselves and how to find their place in the world around them.In some reviews I've read people have said some of the themes in the series are repetitive and, as far as it goes, they are right. While the protagonists are unique as are the storylines themselves, these books span eons and, I believe, are highlighting that history does indeed repeat itself because we are human and seldom learn from other's mistakes. Historical accounts usually don't report events as they are and this is part of the issue as well.I like that the books aren't in chronological order and that the author tells the story from all perspectives from book to book, highlighting that we are, underneath it all, the same. That makes some uncomfortable, we like to have clear cut good guys and bad guys even though life is seldom black or white (pun intended.)The only complaint I have is that in his earlier books Mr. Modesitt shows a lack of understanding of the female mindset. In his later books he must have wisely acquired an advisor.

The continuation of the historical record of Candar carries on as the first recorded Black Mage descends from the compound at the roof of the world to assist the locals in their conflict against the lingering remnants of the, now degenerate, White Mage civilization. The moral conflict in this book is primarily about restoring balance to the white and dark forces in the world. Nylan the smith struggles with reconciling his need to continually use more and more black "order" against the white "chaos" in both his personal life and in the greater world around him. Nylan is a likeable enough character and the relationship with Arylyn is interesting. My largest complaint is how the land of Cyador has fallen in the way it is portrayed. When we last left the white mage civilization it was advanced and prosperous including in it's treatment of women. Now they seem to have forgotten all but their former power and treat women as chattel. I don't see how that happened, although granted it is a 700 year period.Overall the book is fun to read especially to see how it fits into the historical record, but the character development is slow. The battles seem to make up for this but please plan on repeated Modesitt-isms like the sweat on the brow, flashing lights behind the eyes, and of course the ever present descriptions of food.
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Jeremy Preacher
I really want to like this more than I do. The characters are fine - a couple with a kid, for a change - and the adventuring is reasonably epic, but it really never comes together for me. I'd be much more interested in what happens immediately after this (which we get, to some extent, in Arms-Commander, but the real founding of Naclos is the part that's missing here.)It is interesting to see the degenerate descendants of Cyador, given that those books are among my very favorites, but they're reduced to cackling villains a little too much to be really compelling. And everyone else is just doomed.
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