In this final volume of the Chasing Graves trilogy, Ben Galley sees each of the myriad plotlines built over Chasing Graves and Grim Solace come to their fruition: Caltro Basalt, thief, locksmith and body-hopper extraordinaire at long last comes to embrace the role he’s tried time and again to swerve away from. Not that it’s painless. So very close to gaining his freedom, Caltro is again forced into playing different sides, listening to all their promises and trusting none of them.
Nilith, too, shines, despite (or because of!) a brutal showdown with a bounty hunter and his pet dog. At least, I think it’s a dog. Okay, it’s definitely not a dog, but I’m riffing on popular media here, give me a break!
Breaking Chaos doesn’t pull any punches: the death tally runs high and while some characters go off to their deaths like lambs to the slaughter, others come off as a complete shock. Araxes is a city that feeds off on the lofty aspirations of its inhabitants, as we’ve seen from the previous two novels – in this one, however, it’s evident that the heart of the Arctian empire consumes the ambitious completely and to the bone. The City of Thousand Souls is torn apart at the seams, a victim of its own bloody appetites.
I felt that the resolution in the storylines of different major point-of-view characters were well earned; the phrase “just deserts” comes to mind. Metric tons of intrigue are laid bare, at long last the truth of the many questions this series has built up are answered – and to great satisfaction!
This final chapter is rich in beautiful, glorious combat! Action scenes, each more epic in scope than the last, written extremely well and chock-full of surprises were as gripping as anything I’ve read. The climatic last battle especially was incredibly well-earned, the pay-off to so much build-up over the past…three hundred and fifty thousand words or so. It’s an epic conclusion that held so many bitter-sweet surprises and saw my esteem of Caltro rise to hitherto unknown heights!
I also happen to adore the note on which Breaking Chaos closes! The ending comes full circle, which is pure cheek on Ben Galley’s part but I love him for it, I really do.
My score for Breaking Chaos is an unreserved 5/5 on Goodreads. I won’t do a full break-down of the different aspects of Ben’s style on account of the fact that I’ve spoken at length about his style and prose, the tone of this series and the quality of the worldbuilding and characters both. I will say this: Breaking Chaos justified the hopes I had for it, and more: It blew my bloody mind away!
I do hope we see the world of Araxes in the future, whether in a standalone, another trilogy or in some short story.