The Soul of Chaos

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
391 Pages
Reviewed on 11/20/2023
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Miche Arendse for Readers' Favorite

Two siblings must overcome their own individual hardships in The Soul of Chaos by Gregory Wunderlin. While Rurik spends his days in the mines, overseeing and looking out for his fellow miners, his sister Arkalis must manage the family estate and lands. Neither sibling expected to be in the position they find themselves in but each has their own way of dealing with current events. Unbeknownst to them, dark forces lurk just beyond the horizon, and with them comes a war no one is prepared for.

As a lover of all fantasy books, I can easily say that The Soul of Chaos by Gregory Wunderlin is an amazing read. Not only is it well written with a vast and complex world but the characters are original and unique as well. Wunderlin has such an incredible way with words, blending detailed descriptions with action-packed scenes in a seemingly effortless manner. The Soul of Chaos is rich with lore and the magic/rune system that is introduced was something new that I very much enjoyed. Considering this is Wunderlin’s debut novel, I was genuinely surprised to see how well-written this is. I also thoroughly enjoyed the split between the two siblings' perspectives although I did favor Kalis’ POV more. Overall, The Soul of Chaos is a fantastic book that may start off a bit slow but leaves you wanting more by the end of it all. If you love fantasy novels, especially ones that branch out into different genres, then this is the book for you.

K.C. Finn

The Soul of Chaos is a work of fiction in the epic fantasy, adventure, and mystery subgenres. It is best suited to the general adult reading audience owing to the use of explicit language throughout and some darker themes. Penned by author Gregory Wunderlin, the novel follows the intertwined fates of two siblings, Rurik and Arkalis, as they grapple with betrayal, dark powers, and their own failures in a world teetering on the brink of disaster. Rurik, exiled from his noble heritage and condemned to a life of hard labor in ancient underground mines, shoulders the weight of responsibility for a group of prisoners and outcasts. The dire consequences of their dangerous work gnaw at his conscience, and he must find a way to regain his freedom without sacrificing the lives of his fellow laborers. Arkalis, Rurik's twin sister, faces her own challenges as she contends with a hostile occupation of her family's lands and the burden of becoming her ailing father's heir. She seeks solace in alcohol as she grapples with her seemingly impossible situation.

Author Gregory Wunderlin has crafted a deeply atmospheric work with some truly stellar worldbuilding, culminating in a fast-paced novel that combines character-driven storytelling with an impending apocalyptic war, the resurgence of dark gods, and the unsettling embrace of chaos. It sounds like a lot to take on, but the narrative skill of the author allows it all to flow naturally into place as the plot slots together, delivered through action scenes and character dialogue rather than in huge chunks of weighty prose. This tale of world-building and intricate characters with a dash of cosmic horror offers readers visions of a truly bleak world, yet the struggles and vices of the characters are deeply human, and as a result, we feel close to Rurik and Arkalis and are powerfully invested in their journey. Overall, reading The Soul of Chaos was an engaging and immersive experience that I would highly recommend for fantasy fans everywhere, and I eagerly anticipate what comes next in this series.

Jaqueline Neves

The Soul of Chaos by Gregory Wunderlin is a captivating journey through a world teetering on the brink of destruction. The narrative unfolds through the intertwined fates of two siblings, Rurik and Arkalis, who grapple with betrayal, unearthly powers, and personal failures. Rurik, exiled and stripped of his noble heritage, battles in the treacherous depths of an ancient underground ruin alongside a motley crew of prisoners. Meanwhile, Arkalis, burdened by her brother's mistakes, faces a hostile occupation of her family's lands and her ailing father's legacy. Little do they know that their actions will set off a cataclysmic war, unleashing ancient dark gods and plunging the world into chaos. The novel seamlessly blends elements of epic fantasy, sci-fi, mystery, and cosmic horror, making it a riveting and unpredictable read.

Gregory Wunderlin's writing in The Soul of Chaos is nothing short of spellbinding. The plot is intricately woven, keeping readers on the edge of their seats with unpredictable twists and turns. The pacing is masterful, striking a perfect balance between moments of intense action and quieter, character-driven scenes. The characters are richly developed, each with their flaws and complexities, making them relatable and compelling. Themes of betrayal, redemption, and the consequences of one's actions resonate throughout the narrative, adding depth to the story. I love the description of Arkalis, both the physical description of a robust young woman and her personality best portrayed as: "I will do my best towards my duties as I see fit and I don't care what anyone else thinks about it." Wunderlin's ability to evoke a sense of cosmic horror adds intrigue to the novel.