This is the second book in Modesitt's Recluce saga to be told from Chaos's viewpoint, in the person of the White Wizard Cerryl. In The White Order (Tor 1998/VOYA October 1998), Cerryl recounted his childhood, his recruitment to the White Order, and his progress within it, while the reader's understanding of Chaos society grew with each phase of Cerryl's development. Here, Cerryl is a full wizard but still learning about his society--its economic underpinnings and its social contract. The reader learns as well, because Modesitt layers his story with the fast-paced adventure of Cerryl's rise in the Wizard order as the Chaos-Order War continues; Cerryl's self-education in how his society works, which displays a clear view of Recluce's economic underpinnings; and Cerryl's survival in the political atmosphere of the White Order's inner workings, posing the question, "what is a viable society?" As in all of his books, the deeper one reads, the more Modesitt forces the reader to think. The book opens with Cerryl, now a full mage, acting as a customs agent at the gates of Fairhaven, the White's city. From that duty, he is rotated to work in various posts in which he maneuvers to escape the political machinations of his power-hungry colleagues--striving to do his duty fairly, ensuring that the guilty receive the exact punishment due, but no more. As Cerryl studies to learn how to do his job better, both he and the reader learn about how a society works. The vivid accounts of Cerryl's work as a law enforcement officer, assassin military commander, and administrator of a hostile city carry the interest of the reader seeking only fast-paced adventure, while the thoughtful reader gains much, much more. The Colors of Chaos cannot be recommend highly enough--it belongs in every YA collection. VOYA Codes: 5Q 5P S A/YA (Hard to imagine it being any better written; Every YA (who reads) was dying to read it yesterday; Senior High, defined as grades 10 to 12; Adult and Young Adult).
When the tension between the lands governed by the mages of chaos and the order-ruled Isle of Recluce escalates into full-fledged war, Cerryl--newly ordained as full mage of the White Order--discovers his true calling as reconciler. A direct sequel to The White Order (LJ 5/15/98), set at the same time as the events portrayed in The Magic Engineer (LJ 3/15/94), Modesitt's latest novel in his "Recluce" series views the conflict from the other side, as Chaos struggles to prevent the forces of Order from gaining ultimate victory. The author's skill in portraying the humanity of characters who possess the power to destroy others with a thought adds a level of verisimilitude and immediacy rarely found in grand-scale fantasy. A strong addition to fantasy collections.
Doorstopper addition to Modesitt's already huge fantasy series exploring the struggle between White Chaos magic and Black Order magic on a planet colonized by survivors of a spaceship crash. This entry's a direct sequel to the saga's most recent addition, The White Order (p. 539), which followed the boyhood of the future wizard Cerryl, and detailed his early adventures, revelations about his heritage, and his destiny to join the great and powerful magicians in the city Fairhaven. Readers will learn all about Cerryl's subsequent career as a White Order wizard, although, chronologically, the actions take place at the same time as a much earlier volume, The Magic Engineer (1994). Should please the fans. It's a pity, though, that the talented and versatile Modesitt didn't choose to write something new.