Esme’s SPBO 2017: Clash of Chaos by Trip Ellington

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This book was part of Bookworm Blues grouping and has since been eliminated.

I listened to the audiobook, I’ve tried to go back through the ebook and grab some names, but some of these may not be accurate.


Deinre is the main character and the book starts out with him and a group of soldiers escorting a princess back to her castle. Things go very wrong when an army of blindfolded and enchanted soldiers tear through their garrison killing almost everyone. Deinre and the Princess are thought to be the sole survivors. He’s trying to lead her back through the woods to her castle in an attempt to avoid the unnatural army.

They are ‘rescued’ by a giant bird who’s being ‘possessed’ in a way by a Wizard who works with the princess, it’s a magic known as Drifting, and the bird flies them back to a hollowed out mountain where the Wizard and the Princess’s brother live.

The only reason Deinre survived the initial attack on the garrison is that he has magical abilities, but he wasn’t aware of them until then. The Wizard, Zerto, senses the fact that he’s able to use magic and begins to explain to him the workings of magic – the Wizard believes there are multiple planes of existence, and that the source of magic flows through them.

Deinre accidentally overhears some disturbing information, and the Prince turns against him and sells him into slavery. Deinre ends up on a pirate ship as a slave labourer but things aren’t as terrible as they could be. He learns the ropes and earns his keep and was offered a contract to become a pirate instead of a slave. The navigator of the ship, a woman who’s sort of mysterious offers to teach him how to read if he takes over some of her responsibilities. Some of the books are spell books, and he’s able to practice his magic on the ship – despite many of the pirates being wary of him.

Eventually, Deinre figures out how to use a scrying bowl and is trying to help the Princess work against her brother – her brother is using his armies to rampage through towns slaughtering everyone in his path, despite his fathers objections.

Final Score: 7.5/10


This is mostly told from Deinre’s perspective, with brief glances into the Prince and King’s POV’s. Both of his parents died when he was young and he grew up stealing on the streets, but eventually ended up being recruited into the army. He was a standard soldier up until his garrison was slaughtered, and was shocked to learn he has magical abilities. He’s in denial for a while, until he starts to learn how to read and therefore learn how to cast spells. He’s a down to earth person, rather humble and well mannered. He’s an easily likeable character and it’s fun to watch him learn how to wield magic.

The Princess starts out as a giant pain in the ass, I didn’t like her character much at first, but after she’s thrown into prison by her brother she abandons her royal persona and wants nothing to do with the throne. She’s actually fairly intelligent and knows more than you’d think a noble would know about the world. Not exactly a pampered and naive kind of Princess despite her first impression.

Final Score: 7.5/10


World Building:

  • Wizards aren’t commonplace, but everyone seems to know of their existence – usually fairly reclusive, they also have unnaturally long lives.
  • The magic is very mysterious kind of magic, definitely not a magic system. The spells can either be something trivial like turning a page in a book from across the room, or lighting a candle – to warding off a monsoon like storm. Wizards can also use bowls of water to connect with mirrors elsewhere in the world to communicate.
  • Chaotic magic is the ‘dark magic’ of this world, it can bring armies back from the dead, control peoples minds and other bizarre things.
  • Magic casters can be rendered useless with a ‘barrier’ that separates the wielder from magic.
  • A “creature from another foundation” are essentially other worldy demon like creatures that come out of chaotic magic
  • Casting larger and more powerful spells takes a lot out of people, when Deinre cast one of the larger spells he was rendered unconscious for 3 days, and it could have killed him.

Final Score: 7/10


This had a pretty smooth pace, there wasn’t any info dumping or slogs, nothing I would have thought should get cut. The pacing was pretty smooth as well, pretty evenly paced throughout the book.

The tone was adventurous despite there being a lot of death and fighting. A few of the side characters don’t make it, so it kept me on my toes.

Pacing Final Score: 8/10

Writing Final Score: 8/10 


Although I’ve seen a lot of undead armies and mysterious magic kind of books there was still enough originality with how the magic worked, and with the addition of pirates it kept things interesting

Final Score: 7/10


  • For people who like mysterious magic
  • For people who like people learning how to/training their magic
  • For people who like smooth pacing
  • For people who like scenes of fighting armies of undead
  • For people who like pirates
  • For people who like light or no romance
  • For people who like single pov (mostly, one interlude)

Final Score: 45/60 or 7.5/10

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