Hand of Chaos by J. Hamlet is a dark fantasy novel written in present day. The main character Anna Wei is a cynical girl who for sure has a drinking problem. Hamlet describes Anna as having dysfunctional relationships with coping mechanisms for her coping mechanisms. That pretty much says it all for Anna. With her history of one night stands and tons of hangovers, her personal life is pretty much one that doesn’t involved any type of commitment when it comes to relationships.
Anna also possesses arcane powers, and, with that, she works as part of a team for a clandestine government which she has to keep a secret. This secret professional life of hers proves to be hard when trying to lead a normal social life, having to make up stories about her day job as being a financial analysis for the government.
When I began reading Hand of Chaos it picked up well and lead right into character development. I really was digging Anna, even with all her dysfunction. I was able to relate to her in a big way, even though I don’t have any magical powers or lead a super secret life trying to save the world from meta-destruction. But Anna is just a regular person with commitment issues.
Just a touch on the theology portion of the book: Hamlet has created a fictional religion so to speak, and “God” as most know him in real life is not the same as portrayed in the book. Those who are open minded will learn by reading Hand of Chaos that Hamlet has presented the “Churchies” and “Bible-thumpers” as groups with their own meta-powers with their own intentions. One must have an open mind to fully understand this particular aspect of the book; it is a crucial part of the story. If you’re sensitive to religious overtones and cannot separate the fictional aspect, you may want to bypass this book. I personally thought it was brilliant and quite funny. (My God has a sense of humor.)
In the fantasy world, I often find that authors write their own words in a hard to understand language. I did not find this to be true for Hand of Chaos. Hamlet has written in plain English that was easy to understand. I am not a huge reader of fantasy, so with that being said; I appreciated this more than anything. I was able to keep up and stay interested throughout.
The more I tend to read fantasy; I find myself with a clear understanding that it is not my preferred genre. Hand of Chaos has a hand full of different creatures that I personally had a hard time comprehending. I chalk this up to being my own personal stupidity when it comes to the fantasy world in general. The most impressive part for me was that I was still able to keep up.
Hand of Chaos by J. Hamlet really grabbed my attention with the action packed mission Anna and her crew was on. Flawed, supporting characters made the story even better with their colorful personalities. I can honestly recommend this book to lovers of a good, dark fantasy. I truly believe that hard core fantasy readers will enjoy “Hand of Chaos” as much, if not more than I did. 4 stars!Powered by Sidelines