Tag Archives: Daughter of Chaos

Review: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Daughter of Chaos

by Jen McConnel

Genre: YA Paranormal

Series: Red Magic #1

Source: Purchased

Book Summary:

Witches must choose the path they will follow, and Darlena Agara is no exception. She’s been putting it off long enough, and in her case, ignoring it has not made it go away. In a moment of frustration, Darlena chooses to follow Red Magic, figuring she had outsmarted the powers that be, since there’s no such thing as Red Magic. But alas, Darlena’s wrong (again) and she becomes a newly declared Red Witch.

Her friends are shocked and her parents horrified by the choice Darlena has made. As a Red Witch, she now governs one third of the world’s chaos. She is the walking personification of pandemonium, turmoil, and bedlam, just as the patrons of Red Magic would have it to be.

But Darlena believes there must be more to Red Magic than chaos and destruction, and she sets out on a journey to achieve balance. Only doing so puts her at odds with the dark goddess Hecate, who simply will not allow Darlena to quit. She encourages Darlena to embrace who and what she is and to leave good magic to the good witches. If only Darlena could, life would be simple, and she would not be the Daughter of Chaos.

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in a YA paranormal trilogy.

book thoughts

“Slowly, I raised my eyes, sweeping my gaze up her inky black robes that shimmered like water, past the blood-red stone dangling from her throat, and up to her golden eyes. They weren’t human, but from what I remembered of the myths we studied at school, Hecate had never valued humanity. Her eyes were the eyes of a night predator—an owl or fox—and they held me spellbound.

“Darlena. Darlena, I have been aware of you for some time now.” Her words came slowly, creaking into existence and lingering. I was frozen with fear. “Child, you stand at the brink. A choice must be made.”

I had incredibly high expectations for this book and I am happy to report that it surpassed all of them. Here is well-written witchy fiction jam-packed full of accurate mythology, but with its own intriguing twists. As a Wiccan myself, I adored how magic, gods and goddesses, seasonal rituals, etc. were woven in with everyday life. It all just felt so normal but at the same time…well, magical. Witches are portrayed as real people, with lives and jobs and families, who just happen to have awesome powers.

The main character, Darlena, experiences tons of growth. She is slightly frustrating at first (I imagine that was intentional). A bit of a rebel without a cause, perhaps. But she handles the obstacles her declaration of red magic throws at her with more strength than she knew she had, and it is highly satisfying to watch her come into her own. I liked that Darlena’s best friend, the Black Witch Rochelle, and Darlena’s ex-boyfriend, the White Witch Justin, feel like authentic characters, but at the same time represent the struggle Darlena feels within herself. The romance between Darlena and Justin was sweet and never overpowering. It made sense, and though Darlena’s reactions were frustrating at times, I still felt for her, and could see why she cared for Justin, since he was so supportive and really non-judgemental for a White Witch (which to me is how a White Witch should be).

Darlena’s parents play an active role in her life! It is clear that once a witch declares, she is essentially an adult, so while Darlena’s parents give her space, they are still involved and invested in her, something we don’t always see in YA. Darlena’s mother especially feels like the mortal embodiment of her patron, the mother-goddesses Demeter, swearing to help her daughter no matter what.

Gods and Goddesses abound in this book. I loved it. Their portrayal is at once very human and accurate to their existing mythologies. Hats off to the author for that! I was disappointed that once again, my own patron goddess, Hecate, was cast in a negative light, but it worked for the story and since it’s s trilogy, who knows, she may yet be redeemed. It didn’t stop me from enjoying the book. We do get a sympathetic portrayal of Hades that I found incredibly touching. We even see the vulnerable side of Aphrodite. The gods and goddesses were definitely one of the things I loved best about this book, especially when they were helping teach Darlena magic. The magic itself was excellently done. Much of it felt authentic to the way magic is practiced today, but with the author’s own unique flourishes.

The other thing I loved was the way magic, even red magic, chaotic as it may be, was portrayed as neither good nor evil. Darlena is determined to use red magic for good and watching her go about achieving that propels the story forward and makes for a great journey. I would have liked a bit more information on Black Magic – it is said to not be evil, per se, but I’d still like to know more about it. Just to sate my curiosity. Much more magic in general, please! I need more.

This is by far my favorite read this year and I suggest you go pick it up and then, like me, eagerly await the sequel.

5paperhearts


Grabby Paws: Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel

Grabby Paws

“Grabby Paws” is my version of the Waiting on Wednesday meme hosted by Breaking The Spine that highlights upcoming releases that I can’t wait to get my paws on. 🙂

Today I have grabby paws for…

There comes a time in every witch’s life when she must choose her path. Darlena’s friends have already chosen, so why is it so hard for her to make up her mind? Now, Darlena is out of time. Under pressure from Hecate, the Queen of all witches, Darlena makes a rash decision to choose Red magic, a path no witch in her right mind would dare take. As a Red witch, she will be responsible for chaos and mayhem, drawing her deep into darkness. Will the power of Red magic prove too much for Darlena, or will she learn to control it before it’s too late?

DAUGHTER OF CHAOS is the first in the RED MAGIC paranormal YA trilogy.

Why I have grabby paws…

Okay, so not only is it about witches, but it’s about Hecate! And it’s first in a series! I cannot properly express the level of excitement I have for this book. Actually, maybe I can. I am so excited about this book that I’m actually pre-ordering it. I hardly ever pre-order books, so this is a big deal. I think the last one I pre-ordered was The Indigo Spell.

My pre-ordering may even be rewarded because the author Jen McConnel (who is awesome by the way) is holding a contest for people who pre-order the book. Click on the button above to find out more and enter.

Want a teaser?

Click the picture above for the full teaser.

Want another teaser? Go here. 🙂

Are you as excited as I am yet?!

Releases March 25th


Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Things I’d Make Writers Write About If I Could

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and the Bookish.

 This week’s theme is topics you would make authors write about if you could. This could be a specific type of character, an issue tackled, a time period, a certain plot, etc.

I worked forever on this post! I hope you like it. 🙂

So I’m cheating just a bit here since, as a writer, I’ve got some ideas that I won’t be sharing, because I plan to write about them myself.  But that’s okay, because it forced me to stretch my brain for yet more ideas for the post. Yay! Here we go:

1) Number one, because it must obviously be said that, above all else:

I want more Harry Potter involving the main cast, preferably right after book seven. Seeing Hermione, Ginny and Luna’s last year at Hogwarts would be awesome. And then maybe following Luna Lovegood’s application to work in the Department of Mysteries. (Yes, I know officially she becomes a kind of naturalist but COME ON the Department of Mysteries has got to be the best place to work in all of Potterdom.) I will also settle for a next-generation series involving the Potter-Weasley kids. I’m not one of those clamoring for a Marauders series (please don’t hit me!) , even though I’d read it and love it, and my husband really wants one, so I’ll ask for it on his behalf. 😉 I’d just rather have a new Harry Potter series that still incorporates the main cast.

2) More Gemma Doyle. Or at least something to alleviate my Gemma-withdrawl

While we’re on the subject of series that ended way too soon, I need more Gemma Doyle. The Sweet Far Thing is one of my very favorite books, but that ending seriously killed me. I need more. I need to know what happens next. I’m still holding out hope that maybe the illustrious Libba Bray will grace us with another Gemma installation, but in the meantime, I petition all writers of the world to please pen me a Victorian gas-lamp fantasy full of feisty feminists. I’m desperate.

3) A Positive Depiction of the Goddess Hecate

Yes, Hecate is considered a “dark” goddess in many ways, but she’s also my Goddess, and there is so much more to her than just being the “dark” goddess. She’s goddess of the witches, yes, but YA (and non-YA) readers nowadays know that “witch” does not equal “evil”. So how about our luminous Goddess of Magic be given the same treatment? I griped a bit at Rick Riordan for casting Hecate on the side of the bad guys in the first Percy Jackson series, but her redemption and entertaining appearances in The House of Hades definitely made up for it. His son also wrote a quite moving short story featuring Hecate in The Demigod Diaries.

I suppose I’m breaking my own stipulation here, since I said I wouldn’t mention topics I myself planned to write about, since I do plan to write a novel or three involving Hecate, but honestly? She is so complex and cool a goddess that I’ve no doubt there is enough of her lore to go around. Let’s flood the market! 😉 I’m very much looking forward to Daughter of Chaos by Jen McConnel, in which Hecate makes an appearance. She’s described as a “dark goddess” but hopefully, as I’m trying to point out, “dark” doesn’t have to mean “bad”.

And while we’re at it, how about a positive representation of modern Wiccans? I mean, I get that if you’re going to write a book involving Wiccans you might as well just write about witches, but I’d actually read a contemporary (I know – gasp!) if it had something like a normal Wiccan family in it. Or a supernatural story that nonetheless featured Wiccans-as-normal-not-remotely-scary people. Inroads are being made, it’s true, but I don’t have an illustration for this suggestion and that’s kind of my point! Let’s just have another of Hecate, then.

(click the image to visit the artist’s webpage)

4) A Disabled Character (Preferably Main) Who Isn’t Just There To “Inspire” The Non-Disabled

I’m disabled. I broke  my back when I was seventeen and now I walk with a crutch (yes, just like Tiny Tim 😉 ) and have chronic pain and a host of health problems. Yet it seems that the very few disabled characters we get in YA (and even literature in general) are less-than-realistic about the difficulties involved. We don’t all climb Everest, folks. Most of us struggle just to stay healthy. Sure, that’s a bit of a downer, but doesn’t literature kind of exist to explore emotions and struggles? I suppose it could be argued that people can’t take reading about the stark realities of the lives of disabled people, but I have more faith in people than that. We have had horrifying yet beautiful YA novels tackle the subjects of rape, child abuse, eating disorders, drug addiction and a whole host of others. I think it’s about time for disabilities to be added to the list. So why don’t I write one myself? I don’t know. Maybe I will some day. But I needn’t be the only one.

There are exceptions. Ashes on the Waves has a disabled main character, and his condition is depicted realistically, with all its inherent tragedy. And while for much of the book she is able-bodied, the time the main character of The Sea Inside spends in the hospital following her injury very accurately depicts the feelings of loss, isolation, and numbness that commonly accompany such an injury.

5)Doctor Who Novel With Doctor 10.5

There have been numerous Doctor Who novels involving the new Doctors, but as far as I know, no author has yet tackled the adventures of 10.5 and Rose in the parallel universe. (spoilers?) To my knowledge, there’s enough fan fiction on the subject that I’m quite confident an authorized novelization would sell. But then they need to get David Tennant to do the audio-book recording. If somehow this could happen, then, maybe, I’ll finally be able to get over Journey’s End. *sigh*

6) More Obscure Mythology

I love mythology. All kinds. It fascinates me. And I love discovering brand-new myths that I’ve never heard of, such as the fate-spinner seikona that appeared in Maria Dahvana Headley’s Queen of Kings. I want to know more about them, and I want to know more about other interesting myths. Ancient belief systems are flickering out all over the world and it’s a tragedy. I want to learn from them all.

7) More Poe Re-tellings

Since I absolutely loved and gushed over Mary Lindsey’s Ashes on the Waves and have no doubt that Bethany Griffiths’ Masque of the Red Death duology is likewise superb, I am putting in a request for more Poe re-tellings. The Fall of the House of User, perhaps?

8) The Lady of Shallot

The Lady of Shallot by Alfred Lord Tennyson is my very favorite poem and I desperately need both a modern and classical novelization of it. It’s beyond beautiful. If you’ve never read it, you should click here to read it, or listen to the Loreena McKennit song version of it below. I’m not going to spoil what happens for you, other than to say that it is the best metaphor ever constructed concerning the artist’s dilemma of observing the world and recording it, or becoming a part of it and risking the loss of yourself within.

9) Eurydice & Orpheus

While on the subject of re-tellings, I’d love to see my favorite Greek myth and one of my all-time favorite love stories, that of Eurydice and Orpheus, novelized, in either a modern or classical telling. In the myth, the bard Orpheus loses his bride Eurydice, and travels to the underworld to use his musical talents to move the hearts of Hades and Persephone enough for them to release her. They decide that Orpheus may lead Eurydice out of Hades, so long as he never once look back to be sure she is following. But Orpheus, mad with worry and suspecting a trick, looks back at the entrance to our world, and so loses Eurydice forever.

So, naturally, it’s the kind of thing I love and need a novel version of. If you want to learn more about the myth, click here:

9) Linda Bergkvist’s Dark Faery Tales

Linda Bergkvist is an immensely talented digital painter and my favorite modern artist. Tragically, she no longer posts her work online but thankfully she produced a number of magnificent paintings before her retirement. For a while she was working on a book of dark faery tales to accompany her illustrations, and I am forever saddened that I may never hold this book in my hands. I want to know the stories behind her masterpieces.

Her work has greatly inspired my own writing, and even if Linda herself never releases her book, I’d love to see how other writers interpret such breathtaking works as these.

Check out more of Linda’s artwork here.

10) Nightwish Novels and Within Temptation Tales

I have an immense love for symphonic gothic metal and find it enormously inspirational. I can’t be the only one. So where is the lush high fantasy epic based on Within Temptation’s Deciever of Fools?

or the sprawling, century-spanning tragic love story of Nightwish’s Ghost Love Score?

Make note of these requests, oh valiant writers of the world! 😀

Also, keep doing what you’re doing. You’re awesome.

 

red rose divider

What do you think? Agree? Disagree? Have my wishes already come true and I just don’t know about the book(s) yet!? Let me know!