Review: Chaos Broken by Rebekah Turner

chaos broken by rebekah turnerFormat read: ebook provided by the publisher via NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Chronicles from the Applecross #3
Length: 225 pages
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Date Released: April 1, 2015
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, KoboAll Romance

The final installment of the Chronicles of Applecross trilogy finds Lora left in charge–and quickly losing control.

Lora Blackgoat is in charge. But after losing a lucrative contract, it looks like she’s also running her beloved benefactor’s mercenary company into the ground while he’s away on holidays. Her problems double when she discovers Roman, exiled nephilim warrior and current confusing love interest, is brokering a dangerous peace agreement.

When a new enemy emerges from across the ocean, threatening to tear the city apart, Lora finds herself taking on new and surprising allies, finally acknowledging the prophecy that haunts her and using it to her advantage.

My Review:

At least this time the cover picture of the guy looking over his shoulder actually makes a bit of sense. Not that every man, woman and otherkin doesn’t need to be looking over their shoulder (and in every other direction) just to stay alive in this story.

But the picture probably represents Roman, the exiled nephilim who is central to entirely too many people’s plots and plans, and many of those plans are not ones he would approve of or want to take part in.

In spite of Roman’s importance to the outcome of this particular story, it is still Lora Blackgoat’s show, and we still see events from her perspective. Unfortunately for her, one of those events is the financial catastrophe that the Blackgoat Runner and Mercenary Company has become under her watch.

Her adoptive parents, Gideon Blackgoat and Orella Warbreeder, left Lora in charge while they take a much-needed vacation. Unfortunately for everyone, Lora is no good at being in charge. She’s not terribly good with people, and she mostly does an excellent job of pissing possible clients off. The town of Harkin is going through an economic downturn, and paying clients are far and far between.

She doesn’t want to call her parents back to bail her out, but she knows they are expecting to return to a going concern, and not a bankrupt business.

Because Lora is always the center of chaos, things just go from bad to worse.

The only two jobs Lora can turn up are weirder than normal. She is contracted to find the cat belonging to the school headmistress (and her former teacher). Lora just thinks that job is beneath her. The other one is even worse – telling her life story to a playwright so he can turn it into his masterpiece. Lora hates talking about herself, her very messy origins, or how she feels or thinks about anything. The writer doesn’t like her either, but he needs a big hit every bit as badly as she needs the money.

But finding a cat should be (relatively) simple. Instead, she finds a dead teacher and what seems like a budding psychopath. Oh, and a magic calling circle around the dead body. Getting the local religious hierarchy into the middle of her business is the last thing Lora needs, because they suspect her of dark magic, they exiled one of her boyfriends, and they fired her.

In spite of that, the local chapter isn’t all bad. But the fanatics from the capital are a whole other matter, and they’re coming for a visit.

And that budding psychopath – well, that situation is even worse than Lora can imagine, even though if there is one thing Lora is good at, it’s finding the dark cloud around the silver lining. This time, she just isn’t thinking dark enough.

Escape Rating B: Once this story really gets going, it is impossible to put down. I absolutely adore Lora as a point of view character. It’s not just that she is a chaos magnet, although she certainly is – but that she is so human in the midst of her heroism.

She always needs more coffee and more sleep. Her love life is a confused mess. She misses her parents but knows that she needs to be independent. She dreads taking over Blackgoat Company, but knows that Gideon wants to retire. She can’t be diplomatic to save her soul, but she’s not afraid to step in and help people when they need it. She does what she thinks is right, even when everyone around her tells her that it’s wrong.

I’ll also admit that I loved her reaction when her friend kept handing her the baby. She has the same reaction I do. She isn’t sure what to do with the child, she doesn’t have a biological clock ticking, and she is uncomfortable as hell and scared of doing the wrong thing. Not all women want babies, and Lora certainly doesn’t.

That she is having a serious problem committing to anyone isn’t the issue in this case. She just isn’t pining for motherhood. Period. There may also be a bit of being correctly concerned about whatever genetic craziness she might pass on, but that definitely isn’t all of it.

The big, overarching story here is about freedom – especially freedom from religious fanaticism. Harkin is fairly far from the capital, and it has developed a kind of live and let live attitude toward all the otherkin in the city. The local Witch Hunters Guild is even relaxing some of the rules that their nephilim are forced to live under. That matters not just because Roman is a nephilim, but because the Guild’s treatment of nephilim is slavery.

Nephilim who agitate seem to go berserk, but the ones who have managed to leave the Weald for our Outlands are instantly cured. So is the berserker stage truly inevitable, or are they being poisoned to keep them in line?

The head honcho of the Guild descends upon Harkin in order to nip any possible resistance or rebellion in the bud. He starts witch burnings and otherkin exiles just after he threatens the local government into complete submission.

He decides that Lora is the biggest threat to his reign of terror out there (he’s actually kind of right) and tries to take her out. Everyone in town comes to her rescue, which was awesome.

This is a story with plots within plots, and wheels within wheels. Everything falls into place (or gets dropped, or is killed) in order to bring this series to an absolutely slam-bang conclusion – complete with lots of real slams and bangs.

However, the Chronicles from the Applecross are definitely a case where it is absolutely necessary to have read the entire thing for all the plots and all the players to fit together. In fact, it’s probably best to read the whole thing in a gulp. I read the first two books, Chaos Born and Chaos Bound back in December 2013. It took a good chunk of Chaos Broken for me to remember all the players and find my old scorecard. But it was definitely worth it.

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.

Guest Post by Author Rebekah Turner on Creating the Applecross + Giveaway

chaos bound by rebekah turnerMy guest today at Reading Reality is Rebekah Turner, the author of the marvelously inventive Chronicles of the Applecross series, Chaos Born and this morning’s featured review, Chaos Bound. The world she has created is a fantastic borderland mixture of fantasy, myth and legend where her kick-ass heroine, Lora Blackgoat, both casts spells and occasionally crosses into our “Outlands” to buy boots and coffee.

Before you visit the Applecross, and if you love urban fantasy you really, really should, let’s hear from Rebekah on how she created this universe where angels and demons may both be the best kind of bad boys.

Creating the World and Characters of Chaos Bound
by Rebekah Turner

chaos born by rebekah turnerThe initial idea that grew into my first published novel, Chaos Born and now the second, Chaos Bound, originated with the main protagonist, Lora Blackgoat. She limped into my imagination one day; the cranky heroine of a few short stories I hammered out in between looking after my first baby.

While I enjoyed writing the short stories, Lora was a difficult character to get a handle on at first, as she steadfast refused to reveal her inner thoughts. But she stuck in my imagination and soon I was writing a longer story, with her as the star. After the book was finished, I realised Lora’s motivations seemed ambiguous and that I still didn’t have a hold on who she was. The answer came when I wrote the story again, but this time completely through Lora’s point of view. Within a few chapters, she bloomed for me and it was like I’d known her all my life.

My male characters; Seth, Captain of the City Watch and Lora’s ex-lover, and Roman, a half-angel warrior and her new love interest, were much easier to write and I had a complete ball writing the Roman scenes. Of course, I enjoyed Seth’s company just as much, though I sensed he had a rich and dangerous history I’d only just started tapping into.

When expanding further on the world Lora inhabited, I wanted the city to be dark, moody and with elements of the fantastic, but with a realistic baseline. It was to be influenced by our modern world, but with factions in power still clinging to the old ways, almost forbidding access to ours.

I’ve always written Lora’s stories with a mystery at their core, along with a dollop of romance and a sprinkling of horror, fused together by her wry view point. Lora is the anti-heroine with a bleak sense of humour that slices through her best and worst times equally and while this doesn’t always garner her new friends, she’s loyal to the ones she has and that’s a quality I love to write and explore, for as far as Lora will take me.

About Rebekah:

Rebekah TurnerRebekah lives in sunny Queensland and has worked in the past as a graphic designer. She now does freelance work when her kids are looking the other way. An avid writer since she could scrawl in her dad’s expensive encyclopedias, she has progressed from horsey stories to tales of dark fantasy with lashings of romance and a sprinkling of horror.

Her vices include eating overpriced ice cream, over analyzing 80s action and horror movies and buying stationery she just doesn’t need.


Rebekah is giving away an ebook copy of Chaos Bound to one lucky winner. This giveaway is open to ALL! To enter, use the Rafflecopter below.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Review: Chaos Bound by Rebekah Turner

chaos bound by rebekah turnerFormat read: ebook provided by NetGalley
Formats available: ebook
Genre: urban fantasy
Series: Chronicles from the Applecross #2
Length: 177 pages
Publisher: Escape Publishing
Date Released: December 1, 2013
Purchasing Info: Author’s Website, Publisher’s Website, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Kobo, All Romance

Lora Blackgoat — mercenary and smuggler — has only just recovered from the last threat on her life and hasn’t even begun to sort out the mess of having both a nephilim warrior and a reborn hellspawn as potential lovers. Work should be a refuge, but a job finding missing persons puts her in the crosshairs of a violent gang and a merchant with a taste for blood sport.

Reluctantly, Lora turns to the two men in her life for help. Roman — the nephilim — professes to be her soul mate and turns to her when he feels the darkness of nephilim madness descending. But though Lora is drawn to Roman, it is Seth, ex-lover and reborn hellspawn, who Lora must ultimately ask to protect those she loves. Can she trust Seth to save Roman and her adoptive family, or will this be a fatal mistake?

My Review:

The Chronicles from the Applecross is a series where it really helps to get in at the very beginning. Fortunately, the beginning is not far away, and is also excellent. If you enjoy multi-faceted urban fantasy starring complicated kick-ass female protagonists, get a copy of Chaos Born right now. Lora Blackgoat is a whole world of fascinating.

chaos born by rebekah turnerChaos Bound picks up right where Chaos Born left off. Lora Blackgoat is a mercenary and an all-purpose “fixer” for the Blackgoat Guild in the magical borderland called the “Weald”. From there, it is possible to cross into our own non-magical world, the “Outlands” and bring back luxury goods. Lora is particularly fond of sports bras and expensive boots.

She also has the unique ability to make mechanical items function in the Weald, and make magic spells work in the Outlands. Lora doesn’t know why, but then, Lora doesn’t know her own heritage, either. She was a foundling, adopted and raised by the satyr Gideon Blackgoat and the otherkin Orella Warbreeder, but she’s never known what she herself is. She looks human, but knows she probably isn’t.

She also looks like a Witch Hunter, but doesn’t have the talents that go with that appearance. Lora also detests the practices of the Witch Hunter Guild. They have a tendency to massacre suspected dark path practitioners first, and ask questions later, if it all.

In Chaos Bound, Lora finds herself trapped between multiple sets of opposing forces. A competing mercenary company tries to muscle Gideon out of business. This sounds like simple business competition, but it sparks a blood-soaked chain reaction that nearly leads to a purge of all magic practitioners.

Lora is contracted to bodyguard a young actress, and the consequences of her assignment start a blood feud between the shapechanging griorwolves and a drugrunning gang of cuthroats and slavers.

In the middle of all of this, Lora discovers that the reason she has such unusual magical abilities is that she is something that has not been seen in millenia, if ever; she is a female nephilim. And that too many people (using loose definitions for the word “people”) want to control her power for their own ends. Not that she is remotely willing to let them.

Unfortunately, one of those people is her ex-lover. Who neglected to mention his own past as ex-hellspawn. Or that he is in the center of several of the recent power plays, trying to decide which one will benefit him the most.

The Applecross is a very complicated, and deadly place. It is awesome to read about, but I wouldn’t want to live there.

Escape Rating B+: Chaos Bound (and also Chaos Born) are totally Lora’s show. Both books are told from Lora’s first-person perspective, and it’s her voice all the way. In other books this device falls flat, because the head you’re stuck in has to be an interesting head, and the perspective has to be informed enough that it doesn’t feel naive or stupid.

Lora is completely awesomesauce. Even when she doesn’t know what she’s doing, she’s still kicking ass and taking names.

Yes, she has low moments, and sad moments, and times when she gets overwhelmed, but she picks herself back up. She doesn’t wait to be rescued. She also goes off in the complete wrong direction a few times, but she keeps moving forward. Or occasionally ass-backward. But moving.

This is urban fantasy rather than paranormal romance. However, there is what feels like an obligatory romantic triangle in here, and I kind of wish it had been played down even more than it was. It feels like there’s going to be a showdown at some point, but I wish that the romance wasn’t tied into it. Or that the triangular aspects of the romance weren’t tied into it. Not every urban fantasy needs a romantic triangle. There is more than enough tension building in Lora’s life without one.

But, about the two “gentlemen” and their history, outside the nascent romance? Seth Hallow is ex-hellspawn, and he seems to have been in the Applecross and the Outlands since he got his ejection notice, a looooong time ago. Lora (and this reader) would love to know how many fingers he’s had in how many pies since the dawn of time. He’s been a busy boy.

Her other suitor is the nephilim, Roman. He’s probably been around a few decades, or maybe centuries, too. There’s serious history waiting to be explored.

But the story is all about Lora. Where did she come from? It’s more than obvious that Gideon and Orella are keeping secrets about her origins. (So is Seth) Every time Lora finds out more, it’s because one of those secrets has just bitten her in the ass.

I would love to know why the cover picture is the guy in torment? The Chronicles of the Applecross are absolutely Lora’s story from beginning to end. And it’s one hell of an absorbing story! I hope we get some more soon, because while this installment came to a definite conclusion, Lora’s journey is far from over.

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***FTC Disclaimer: Most books reviewed on this site have been provided free of charge by the publisher, author or publicist. Some books we have purchased with our own money or borrowed from a public library and will be noted as such. Any links to places to purchase books are provided as a convenience, and do not serve as an endorsement by this blog. All reviews are the true and honest opinion of the blogger reviewing the book. The method of acquiring the book does not have a bearing on the content of the review.