Hand of Chaos by J. Hamlet

Published: 4th September 2013
Goodreads badgePublisher: Amazon Digital Services, Inc.
Pages: 313
Format: ebook
Genre: Fantasy/Supernatural
★   ★   ★  – 3 Stars

Exhausted, cynical, and confused, Anna is always there to report for duty. She’s part of a clandestine government team that defends the nation against supernatural terrorism-which, in all honesty, is enough to drive anyone to drink. Toss in a fear of intimacy with a desire to have friends and lovers like a normal person and, well, Anna is a walking, talking contradiction, albeit one wrapped in a special agent with arcane, magical powers of her own. And at five-thirty in the morning with a zombie-infested apartment building in the heart of Washington, DC, you’ve got the makings of the worst morning…

Note: I was provided a copy for review

When I finished this book I was trying to find the words to describe it and interesting is what I came up with. Hamlet has created a story that is curious and engaging by giving us a supernatural aspect to our world that also looks at religious figures in a different way. Nothing is explained in detail to you, instead snippets and hints are referenced throughout and while there is a lot untold, what is revealed is adequate for the events in the story and still manage to help create rounded and detailed characters.

This style of writing doesn’t leave you confused, though in some ways you really could have a detailed background on each character because they are unique and fascinating, instead you tend to just accept who they are and move on, learning more about them through their actions rather than explanations. Hamlet also uses dialogue and narrative to allow the reader to pick up on details about these characters and still lets you discover more even towards the end.

I enjoyed the story Hamlet has created. It is a good concept and while a little daunting as you take in the grand scale of this supernatural world and the characters in it, it works really well and draws you in, each character playing their role well. Hamlet uses this fantasy/supernatural aspect wonderfully with complicated and complex details and depth making them believable and real, and helps the reader easily understand and accept that it could occur.

We are dropped into this story at the start of a new case for Anna and it is through this initial event that we start to understand the world. The supernatural elements are interesting because while the story takes place very much in the real world, the supernatural side is a hidden and secret part with magic and necromancers involved in our everyday lives, plus there is a curious take on religion that brings out the darker sides.

Since we are thrown into this alternate reality you must work to keep up with not just the story but discovering and learning about it as well. This makes it interesting and Hamlet’s engaging characters pull you alone nicely. They are very real and are able to acknowledge their flaws. With many background people involved though it can easily get confusing at times but nothing over the top and they all play a part in the overall story.

As a villain Ethan plays his role well. His cause is justified in his eyes and he is clever which makes him an interesting and engaging adversary. Anna and the others in the team are all different as well and through the story you pick up more of what they do and who they are. We are casually informed through the narrative and dialogue but there are moments where information and certain details are provided for reader purposes.

I thought there may be a sequel but it isn’t part of a series which is a shame because I could read more about these characters, learn more about who they are and see where the events of this book take them. This doesn’t mean there isn’t enough to satisfy. A good concept, interesting and well executed narrative plus engaging characters bring this novel together and while it is unique and creative, it is also consistently interesting and with enough reality, supernatural, and action balanced together, it keeps you turning the page and makes you wonder if there really is a little bit of the supernatural world hidden in plain sight.


Edit: I have just been informed it is going to be part of a series so that’s great! I look forward to reading the rest and seeing where it goes.

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