Chaos Looming by H.B. Reneau

Chaos Looming by H.B. Reneau
Publisher: Vesalian Publishing
Genre: Sci-Fi/Fantasy, Young Adult (14 – 18 y.o.)
Rating: 3 Stars
Reviewed by Dicentra

Build more than you break. Heal more than you destroy.

But what if chaos can’t be tamed?

For centuries, the Legion of Pneumos has lurked behind the seat of power in Loren. To preserve order across worlds, they are charged with battling chaos in all its forms, no matter the cost.

Keira Altman, the newest Legionnaire, has spent years perfecting the art of wielding pneuma and channeling order out of chaos. Ripped from her own world and into one she barely understands, the only thing Keira knows for certain is that she has a purpose. Now, if only she knew what it was.

Yet when word arrives that the Regio lies on his deathbed, Keira’s new world begins to crumble around her. As the specter of a peasant uprising looms large, and political maneuvering threatens to unravel the fabric of society, Keira realizes that her only hope of avoiding the coming turmoil may lie in the very institutions she’s fought so hard against. But can she master the forces of chaos without losing herself to the chaos within? And what if the price of order proves too high to pay?

How do you define chaos and order? If you, like me, have no set definition for that, you’re in luck. H.B. Reneau explores those ideas and what they mean in the new series starter Chaos Looming. The first book in the Legion of Pneumos series is an action-packed whirlwind of a fantasy adventure sure to excite readers and leave them on the edge of their seats.

Great worldbuilding is a must for me to enjoy a fantasy read. Action is a must too. This book has both. In addition to the actual building of the world (setting up what a world looks like, how things work, etc.), there’s also the magic system, religions, and the dynamics of how people in the world interact. I really enjoyed the magic system for this book, and there is a lot happening on the political side of things which is exciting. The actual action does take a bit to build up, but once it does it feels like you’re on a roller coaster. Slower on the front end, but once it takes off you can’t help but sit back and enjoy the ride. Admittedly, I picked this book up and put it down multiple times but I’m glad I persevered and finished the read.

The characters were where I struggled the most in this book, and why I was unable to give the book a full five stars. I never really connected to Keira (which is an issue when she’s the main character). I was more concerned by what was happening than who was involved, if that makes sense. A lot of Keira’s backstory felt like it was missing, and after some research, I’m wondering if some of that might have been provided in the prequel to Chaos Looming, The Cantor.

For those who are curious about the audience level, I would categorize it as a young adult novel. There is some mild cursing in the book, minimal romantic content (I noted one kiss), and a lot of action (the violence and gore level is towards the higher side).

Altogether, Chaos Looming is an exciting, action-packed young adult fantasy with great world-building. I would recommend it to readers who enjoy epic fantasy tales.