Sunday, December 17, 2006

Colors of Chaos

Colors of Chaos

L.E. Modesitt, Jr.

Date: 01 January, 1999   —   used only   —   Book

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Fiction, Fantasy

Cerryl is now a full mage, but his problems are getting bigger along with his duties. He's managed to hide how powerful he is (and the fact that his technique uses order, a big no-no in the halls of chaos), but he doesn't know what his goal as a mage should be. He's fallen in love with a healer, who uses order— a relationship that is dangerous for both of them. And the problems in Fairhaven and Candar are getting worse, and the war into northern Candar is bringing some surprising losses, mostly due to some exiles from Recluce with surprising skills.

This book dovetails with The Magic Engineer, but was written somewhat later. Honestly, I find Cerryl a more appealing character than Dorrin, though I can understand the reasoning of both. However, Cerryl does have a certain blind spot due to his acceptance of the clean and orderly nature of Fairhaven: he thinks that because Fairhaven is a better place to live than the semifilth of most cities, that people are dumb for not accepting its rules and laws. He's not exactly one for the abstractions.

He does do one thing that sets him apart from most of Modesitt's protagonists. When the mental question "What choice do I have?" comes up, he recognizes its falsity. He understands that he always has a choice, but that certain choices— such as a nicer standard of living— bring certain sacrifices, and have a tendency to dictate other actions. Far too many of Modesitt's underaged protagonists don't have the wisdom to realize that, and sometimes the distress of being trapped becomes a little over the top.

The progression in this novel is fairly typical of Modesitt, as Cerryl ends up in a position of power, and a lot of people die. But Cerryl, while understanding the tenuous nature of his position, looks to get what happiness he can, and in that he is clearer than most.

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