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Reviewed by Caitlin Lyle Farley for Readers' Favorite
Chaos Reigns: The Hand of God is a sweeping epic fantasy tale of a world in which the god of Chaos reigns supreme, and will do whatever is necessary to ensure his dominion continues. Two children escape the Cleansing, a sacrifice of children under two years of age aimed to prevent the rise of a prophesied savior. Betal appears as a babe on the edge of the forest bordering Cool Winds village and is taken in by servants of Chaos, who want to use him to further their own ends. Ellis is a miracle child, born in a barren village on a night when a star fell from the sky, whose parents join a group of travelers to escape the Cleansing. As Ellis and Betal grow in age, they also grow into the magical powers each of them has been blessed with and meet companions to help them as destiny pulls them towards the ominous Deadlands to the north.
Author G. S. Scott tends to emphasize the darker side of Chaos, with the god’s closest followers using the tenet ‘Do as thou wilt’ to commit whatever atrocity comes to mind, with frightening Chaos storms that scarify the land and transform creatures into monsters called grunkin. With this focus, it’s easy to overlook that Chaos is said to watch over the travelers because of the joy their sudden appearances bring to the villages they visit. The main characters are intriguing and well-drawn, if not always likable or relatable, and their motivations and conflict are convincing. Chaos Reigns spans over several years initially yet Scott’s pacing and plot momentum makes the pages fly. Chaos Reigns is an enthralling page-turner certain to delight dark and epic fantasy readers.