Breaking Chaos by Ben Galley

by Justine Bergman

My Rating: 5

SERIES: The Chasing Graves Trilogy
PUBLISHED: March 14, 2019 (Self-published)
PAGES: 550
GENRE: Dark Fantasy



The endgame has begun. 

The battle for the emperor’s throne grows ever fiercer. The City of Countless Souls cowers behind locked doors as the whims of the downtrodden and the powerful bring the great game of Araxes to its chaotic conclusion.

With the soulblade at his hip and magic in his soul, Caltro’s freedom is almost within reach. But as Temsa reign of murder clashes with Widow Horix’s plans, the locksmith’s fate becomes all the more entwined with the needs of dead gods, the Cult, and vengeful royals. Caltro realises his struggle is not just for his redemption, but for that of the entirety of the Far Reaches.

While the Core Districts descend into chaos, debts left unpaid in the desert haunt Nilith’s long-awaited arrival in the city. A new foe is hunting her through the streets, an enemy with enough power to rival even that of the Cloudpiercer. 

And yet all their struggles pale in comparison to the dark omen that is spreading through the Arctian Empire:

The River Nyx is drying up.


ALSO REVIEWED AT: Fantasy Book Critic, Goodreads

Whys and what-ifs plague a soul throughout life and in death. It is human to mourn the past, and to curse the way time slips through our fingers like sand, impossible to catch or reclaim.

The City of Countless Souls holds its breath as is stands upon the precipice of chaos as factions war for power on all sides. With deceit and treachery leading everyone astray, and blood flowing freely throughout sprawling streets, the knotted mysteries buried under the sands of Araxes begin to unravel and finally rear their ugly heads. While petty greed reigns, a great unknown threatens the city and beyond, and all who inhabit it, living and dead alike. Locksmith Caltro Basalt seeks freedom. Empress Nilith Renala seeks change. Tal Horix seeks vengeance. Empress-in-waiting Sisine Talin Renala seeks the throne. Tor Boran Temsa seeks more. Although polluted with clouds of betrayal and lies, their fates are entwined, and the future of the Empire rests in their hands as the surging Flood aims to violently sweep them all away.

And so the struggle of Araxes comes to a close, and what a harrowing journey it has been. Breaking Chaos is a perfectly pertinent and wildly entertaining conclusion to The Chasing Graves Trilogy. It is a story of perseverance and sacrifice, and one that upholds the ideal that it only takes one person, one voice to power the machine of change. Submitting to the detrimental and blinding effects of the poisons of hatred and rage, true change will remain unattainable. It is a story of choice, believing in one’s intuition, and how the consequences of your choices solidify your fate. The first half of the book continues to build tension as each of the characters stumble their way towards the Core districts, but the last half is such a staggering reward for readers of the trilogy. Secrets unveil themselves, alliances are forged, and the true threat is presented in a blood-soaked and terrifying way. Once I reached the turning point, it was almost impossible for me to put this down.

We were all the sum of our years, but also the product of what we made of them. A life spent in hate will cripple any soul, wrap it in shadow and rot it from within.

There are many aspects of this story that are worthy of praise, including the complexity of its conflicts, the vivid portrayal of the sunbaked city with its alien soaring towers and deep Nyxwater wells, and its highly imaginative societal structure. However, I have to say the character crafting and development has to be the finest. We’ve already been introduced to bits and pieces of the histories of Caltro, Nilith, and Temsa, but there are plenty of jaw-dropping revelations that decide to blindside you when you least expect it. In addition to the several POV characters, auxiliary characters, such as Pointy, Bezel, and Ani Jexebel, are stunningly utilized to add rich depth and history to the Far Reaches. Galley’s ability to bring about sympathy for characters that shouldn’t deserve even an ounce of it is just incredible.

Throughout the series we’ve been involved in our fair share of nail-biting situations, but Breaking Chaos forcefully cranks up the action meter. From Temsa’s disorganized marches on Tors, Tals, and Sereks, to Nilith’s narrow escape from Chaser Jobey, there’s no shortage of edge-of-your-seat clashes and strife. The Battle of Araxes is one of the most impressively visceral and momentous pinnacle battles I’ve ever read – a chaotic whirlwind where Galley refuses you a single moment of rest. The ample buildup leads to intense moments, and nothing you’ve been introduced to is wasted. The final few chapters are just simply amazing and perfectly wrap up the series.

The Chasing Graves Trilogy is one of the most artistically unique and captivating series I’ve had the pleasure of reading. I cannot thank the author enough for providing me a complimentary copy of this book to bring my adventure across The Long Sands and through Araxes to a satisfying close. Breaking Chaos is a perfect example of what the dark fantasy genre has to offer, a tale drenched in hopelessness, yet set on a course that will guide you to the light at the end of the tunnel. It’s beautifully tragic with surprises at every turn. I highly recommend.

Nothing is certain in Araxes. Not even death.

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