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4.1 out of 5 stars
4.1 out of 5 stars

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on 3 April 2012
There are so many long reviews about this book that there's very little for me to add. In fact some of these very long reviews almost tell the whole story? (Why ruin it for potential readers?)

Luckily I didn't read the reviews before purchasing as the synopsis was enough to get me interested.

I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. Loads of stuff going on, lots of characters but never confusing. Each story within the story has a connection to each other, hence the butterfly effect.

Brilliant subject, well written & suitable for most ages. Yes it's Young Adult but I'm 50 & loved it :)

At the end of the book there is a small chapter on the follow up to this, which of course I read only to find out it's not released yet. That was the only disappointing thing about it.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Literally "The Butterfly Effect". The first flutterings of a Purple Hairstreak in a Wiltshire wood will have repercussions all over the world. Destined to be affected are a horse race at Newmarket, a climber on Mount Everest, a plane bound for Moscow, a little boy striving to save a crop of maize from baboons in Africa. Much else besides. The reader must wonder how so many disparate strands can possibly be linked, but they are....

Chapters speed by - all of them short, many with cliffhangers as everything spirals out of control. Admittedly the book's climax is a little too neatly contrived, the same wood involved. Prepare for loose ends. That is the whole point. The ripples caused by that maiden flight will ever continue. This is just the start.

Unusual, inventive, brisk and involving - several of the twists and turns a genuine surprise.

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I was intrigued about Mortal Chaos from the moment I read the blurb "Some will live. Some will die. All are connected". I already knew about the Butterfly Effect but I was really curious to see how Matt Dickinson would take that theory and spin it into a story. How do you manage to connect a jockey racing at Newbury, two boys bunking off of school, a female pilot, a Japanese girl climbing up Mount Everest and a young boy in Africa? If you're Matt Dickinson you do it in a story that is fast paced, action packed and full of twists that will have readers on the edge of their seats!

Mortal Chaos is written in short, snappy 1-2 page chapters that really build the tension as you follow multiple characters throughout their day. I was a bit worried that it would be hard to keep track of so many different people but I was surprised at how easy it was to keep each story line separate. The book starts with a butterfly but doesn't end with a hurricane - it does end in disaster though. Some of the links between characters are obvious but will have surprising consequences and other links are slowly revealed as the story progresses. The book will really make you think about how the smallest thing like leaving for work 5 minutes late can have a huge impact on the lives of people you may never even meet.

The author is skilled at making you think one thing will happen and then surprising you with something completely different. In a way it reminded me a bit of the Final Destination films where you know something terrible is coming, you have multiple moments where you think you know what that will be and then suddenly you're blindsided by something you never even guessed at.

Mortal Chaos is a fast and addictive read that it is easy to devour in one sitting. I was excited to find that this is the first book in a series and definitely have the next book Deep Oblivion at the top of my wish list. I would highly recommend the story to anyone who is looking for an action packed and surprising story and think the short chapters make this ideal for teenagers who don't do a lot of reading. That isn't to say that avid readers won't also love it though - the story is compelling enough to captivate readers of any age.
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VINE VOICEon 23 February 2012
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
This book starts slowly, with its various characters in disparate locations, and short (often only a page or a few pages) chapters. Initially it's different, but I did wonder if it would keep holding my attention. The characters are all about what they are doing and where, and how they fit into the overall plot - they aren't detailed snapshots of individuals. But as the threads of the story began to interweave, and the links were hinted at, and then became obvious, the plot took over and the book became a riveting read to the finish and difficult to put down.

The basic idea is based on part of chaos theory (known as the butterfly effect), that uses the analogy that the faint ripples in the air caused by the fluttering of a butterfly's wings, could build into something with the impact of a hurricane elsewhere in the world. Matt Dickinson cleverly uses an actual butterfly to start the chain of events that is the plot of this novel. The theory forms the core idea of the book, although he never actually discusses it directly. Cleverly, the publishers blurb makes the central idea clear to the reader from the outset, so you start reading looking for the connections.

It's an original book, and despite some weaknesses in the characterisation, the strength is in the plot. The book comes to an end with the natural end of the chain of events. It's fairly clear what probably happens to everyone, although Dickinson doesn't actually spell it out in all cases. This is one of those books that peaks near the end and then falls away at the conclusion but still makes a nice neat circle from beginning to end, rather than going out with a bang.

Its one of those rare teenage books that would make an ideal read for boys (although some girls might like it too!). Its originality is both an asset and a flaw - it seems there is another book due out in July, and whilst I can see a series of books based on the same idea appealing to some teenagers, I think the impact of a clever idea could start to wane if repeated (at least for most adults and the more discerning younger readers). I'm not sure Dickinson's writing is compelling enough to make a second book as riveting as the first. But you should definitely read this one - as a one-off, it works.
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on 26 April 2014
I thought this was a really original take on a story based on Chaos theory. I found the development of the narrative across so many different characters and situations a real page turner. It kept me reading because I just wanted to see what happened. Highly recommended.
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on 8 December 2012
This book is amazing! It's really 'high concept' (chaos theory in novel form) and yet nobody could accuse it of being too 'commercial' (you know, that way people say it to mean poor quality or 'dumbed down'). Mortal Chaos is on the longlist for the Carnegie this year, which is what prompted me to shunt it up the TBR pile, after languishing on my Kindle.

The novel starts with a butterfly hatching, which startles a race horse in its training. This means that our focus shifts from the butterfly to the trainers working with the race horses. The whole novel is told in really short sections (most were just over a page on my Kindle), shifting focus from person to person using tiny links between them. One of the pleasures of this book is figuring out how different characters and stories may be linked, as it isn't always immediately apparent. As per the title, many of these plot threads are high octane and concerned with life and death scenarios: a climber on Mount Everest, a man setting off to bomb his ex-wife, boys in the woods with Daddy's shotgun.

The novel's pace is another strong point of interest. Who would have thought that a novel including a dozen or so different plot strands, with only tiny links between them, could be pacy? And yet it is. The snapshot chapters/sections help with this of course, as we effectively only see a single scene from each interlinked story before shifting focus again. This also helps to ensure (I think) that we don't get so bogged down in one angle that we forget the others. Again, I might have expected to find it challenging to keep up with so many different characters/plot threads, but it really isn't.

Just in case you're not sure, I'm strongly recommending this one. It does things that should make it difficult, and yet the experience of reading it wasn't that at all. I was absolutely hooked and disappointed when it all finished (but not disappointed with the ending). There is already another Mortal Chaos book out and there will be another next year. I will definitely be reading them.
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on 11 September 2012
I have to say, that I enjoyed this book immensely.I liked the idea of setting it around the Butterfly Effect; the idea that one small action sets off a chain of events affecting people from all walks of life and from all over the world.

The short page chapters are good, it keeps the interest and before you know it, the book has gone. It is fast-paced and well written. Except for the racing scenes! Matt Dickinson obviously knows his stuff about flying and climbing: his knowledge shone through. But he really needs a few lessons about the turf. I know that it would pass over the average child who reads this book, but it really irritated me.
I thought the rest of it was brill and should grab avid and reluctant readers alike. Will catch up with his other titles.
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on 15 January 2013
This complex and compelling book is written in a way that links the tiniest movement in one part of the world to an avalanche on the other side of the world. How that tiny flap of a newly hatched butterfly's wings manages to work its way across the world is told through multiple viewpoints and makes for compelling reading. I think Matt Dickenson must have had to cover his office walls in post-it notes just to keep track of the plot for this book. This book made me reflect on how everything in the world is connected and every action will affect not just one but many others, from animals to humans to industry.
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Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
Fast moving story of intertwined lives and events of people from diverse backgrounds and situations. Plenty of characters involved here as the short chapters switch back and forth to unfold the linked events that take place but still easy to keep up with.

This is a good story based on the concept of synchronicity and chaos otherwise known as 'the butterfly effect'. Nothing in life is actually an individual event, everything has consequences, cause and effect and can make changes. This story outlines the science or theory behind this at a level and in a way which is readable by young adults.

I found this to be a great story, interesting and drags you along with it nicely. It is nice to have a young adult story that has some basis in scientific theory/philosophy which can hold the interest of the reader and perhaps open their mind to possibilities. I would say this story is reminiscent, in a way, of the fabulous Sophie's World: A Novel About the History of Philosophy.
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VINE VOICEon 11 April 2013
Format: Paperback|Vine Customer Review of Free Product( What's this? )
I got this book for an 11yr old boy who loves action books and he literally could not put the book down. He said it was one of the best books he has ever read so if you are looking for a fast paced and very clever book for that kind of age range then this is definitely for you.

He said Mortal Chaos is superb, the story was very easy to follow and really makes you think that everything you do in life has an effect on someone else's life. The story starts with a butterfly that flaps its wings which makes a rabbit get startled, the rabbit makes a run for it and shoots out in front of a horse which makes the horse jump with fear and the story progresses like so.

As the story progresses you can see where each little part of the story cleverly affects stuff later on in the book.

My 11yr old enjoyed this book so much I had to get him the second book in the series the moment he finished the first. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes a little action and adventure.
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