Review: Chaos Unbound by Brian Leon

Reviewed by Ronelle

When Diomedes, also known as Steve Dore to his non-mythical friends, is framed for the murder of two high rankings members of the fae courts, he’s forced to run for his life. With the help of allies both hum and fairy, he sets out to uncover the real culprit and clear his name.

But what if the assassinations are just the tip of the iceberg? The more he digs, the more Diomedes discovers this conflict goes far beyond Fae and humankind.

***

This was one of those books that had so much promise and potential for greatness but fell flat in the delivery. I adore urban fantasy and the synopsis drew me in with images of intrigue, high-stakes, and perhaps a bit of fear. “Boogeyman” is, after all, quite a suggestive term. The actuality, however, was something far less impressive. I’ll even go so far as to say boring and for several reasons.

The writing style was the source of my biggest issue with Chaos Unbound. Brian Leon’s narrative was so repetitive that I was able to skim large portions and still not feel as if I’d missed any crucial story points when I resumed line-by-line reading. We were constantly reminded where Diomedes was, that he was over three thousand years old, that bad shit had happened to him, and that he wanted to attack his enemies/take at least one out with him. Details were inconsistent from one page to the next (an impact with a steel car should by all accounts hurt a fairy dog if anything iron is anathema to them). Things seemed to happen because Mr. Leon needed them to rather than because they were natural or logical based on his own rules. Descriptions were jumbled and tangled around one another, often breaking the flow in a jarring manner (some were to remind readers of events from the previous book, but even those could have been integrated more seamlessly).

Then, it took fooooreeeever for things to progress. Sure, there was plenty of action, but it was over fairly quickly and seemed to be action for action’s sake instead of a device to advance the plot. Diomedes spent about twelve chapters flailing around in the dark, with no clue about the who, what, when, where, or why before the actual plot started. I understand the need to build tension and all that, but I don’t care how badass your character is if he or she isn’t doing anything significant.

I was also disappointed with the cast of characters. While Diomedes had a great sense of humor (I mean, who wouldn’t laugh at the mental image conjured by the phrase “zombie Big Bird”?), he had minimal personality otherwise. Overall, his emotional repertoire was limited and none of them were expressed in a way that helped me connect with him. The rest of the characters were just as flat. Sarah could have been any random chick and her ‘romance’ with Diomedes was cursory at best. Duma seemed like he was supposed to be a devil-may-care, savvy mercenary, but I found him to be pretty weak and unimpressive.

For me, the bright and shining star of Chaos Unbound was the editing. Someone did a beautiful job with grammar, spelling, and punctuation, which is something I appreciate more than I can convey. I think I spied one maybe-typo and even that was up for debate. However, I wish as much care had been given to the actual content of the story.

Bottom line: I so, so wanted to love this story and hero, but alas, it was not meant to be. I was never able to really connect and there are simply too many urban fantasy options with similar offerings that are better written/developed for me to recommend this one.

Rating: C-

*Book provided for review

Click to purchase: Amazon

Chaos Unbound
by Brian Leon
Release Date: February 28, 2017

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