Chaos Umpire Sits has a worse name and a better story than its predecessor

Chaos Umpire Sits has a worse name and a better story than its predecessor

★★★★☆

(4.5 stars)

(Book two in a series. Book one is here. Book three is here.)

O Kevin, O Kneupper! I know it is tempting to name your books fancy things, but considering book three is just ‘Adversary’, maybe you shouldn’t have jumped onto naming book two… Chaos Umpire Sits. It’s a little, well. A little much, isn’t it Kev?

I just finished book three, speaking of, so it’s time for a full write up of book two.

To keep myself on a leash, I’m doing plot briefs from now on. And trying to keep a rough skelly.

After book one, where the Perch is exploded via nuke (by the way, there really should’ve been significant health problems arising from that), Jana is with a group of human refugees seeking safety from the angels. The surviving angels are pissed, Jana doesn’t know if Rhamiel is alive, and the most interesting part of the last book (Perch!) is gone.

Weirdly, this book is better than the last anyways. We are missing the Perch, but the soldiers are less boring now that one of them is dead. Plus Jana gets to have more power as a character, even if she is still tragically passive.

We also run into a cult, and I fucking love those!

WRITING

Kevin, O kevin!! He actually does pretty swell action. Seriously. There’s some good action scenes in here, and fights, and it’s all well paced. It’s pretty sick.

The dialogue has a lot less long moral triades this time around. I feel like he learned from last book, and while characters are still thin and weird, the overall pacing/story got a lot slicker.

It was funny to read it and realize, late, that this series has no humor in it. Not one joke or sly observation. It’s kind of jarring, and not what I normally read.

Pacing wise, things do move pretty okay. We get to Suriel’s camp early enough on, it’s the focal point of the story, and things generally happen. There’s several perspectives, and none of them were boring. About half way through the book, however, you roughly know the second half, and it’s a tiring wait for that to roll out.

CHARACTERS

Oh my. Baby steps, but still flat. Rhamiel has moved from fun to boring. He’s just a blonde haired, blue eyed hero, and it is a very boring look on him. Jana gets to adapt, but is still very Rhamiel-focused, and still lacks a backbone. At least I began to like the boring soldiers from book 1.

WORLDBUILDING

This book is only to be read if you like the world building, mythology, and plot. The characters and writing are often lacking, so it’s really the big biblical angel fights you’re paying to see.

While I miss the social intricacies of angels, Suriel’s camp is well done. There’s a good atmosphere to the place, a good sense of feeling. The angels continue to be friggin’ sick, but in this book we’re introduced to the Cherubim, and they talk in rhymes. And that’s not so sick.

The climax is sick enough though.

ROMANCE

Ah. Kev has admitted that this is his weak point. My response to this is ‘then stop it’. He’s trying his best, but while there was some good flirting in book one, Rhamiel/Jana is now an Established Couple. They Love each other dearly, the end. It really lacks the tension/personality, and they’re kind of boring!

Also of note, Jana is pregnant with like, Jesus. It’s weird.

WEIRDO SEXIST THEMES

Just like last time, there’s a lot of stuff about Jana being meek, submissive, subservient- and that is supported by canon! But it’s also how she is explained to be so into Rhamiel: he is Masculine and Strong. Angels seem to have the same gender disparity as humans (it gets worse in book 3), and we mostly have male warriors and a few ladies who have emotions.

Faye, our lady soldier, is of course the Caring One. Jana is Innocent and Simple. Rhamiel is brave and tough! Holt & Thane are Clever Warrior Fighters! Ecanus is a Tricky Slippery Fiend!

There aren’t really any other women beyond that and a lot more men.

It probably says something I’m very, very surprised that for all the violence/torture in these books, a woman is never raped/assaulted. (Jana gets an attempt in this book though!)

OVERALL

Technically, this is better than the last book! It takes all the flaws and while it still has them, solves a lot of them. It’s fun, good action, cool world. You just have to overlook the growing Christian preaching and mildly sexist themes. And bad romance.

 

But this is kind of a guilty pleasure series, and I really do like them. They read easy and well.

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