Book Review: Chaos Reigning by Jessie Mihalik
I received a review copy from the publisher. This does not affect the contents of my review and all opinions are my own.
Mogsy’s Rating: 4 of 5 stars
Genre: Romance, Science Fiction
Series: Book 3 of Consortium Rebellion
Publisher: Harper Voyager (May 19, 2020)
Length: 416 pages
With Chaos Rising comes the story of Catarina, the youngest daughter of the Von Hasenberg high house, as well as the epic conclusion to the Consortium Rebellion trilogy that exquisitely combines the sci-fi thrills of a space opera and the heated passions of a sultry romance.
As the baby of the family, Cat is used to being underestimated. In fact, she uses it to her advantage, masking her true self behind a mask of flightiness and frivolity. But the truth is, she has lived a troubled life, growing up secretly experimented on by her father because he had wanted to mold her into a super soldier. Using deception and her cunning, however, Cat managed to make everyone believe that the experiments had failed, and that she is now nothing more than your typical spoiled princess of the Consortium. Not even those closest to her are aware that she still possesses the super strength and powerful abilities the tests had given her.
Of course, this also makes her the perfect spy for her family, and Cat wants to do her part by going undercover at an upcoming gala held by a rival high house to gather information. Unfortunately, her overprotective older sister Bianca is about to ruin all those plans. Having guessed what Cat is about to do, Bianca has planted two of her most trusted operatives on our protagonist’s ship so that she would have others to help her on the mission. It’s a complication for sure, but nothing Cat can’t handle—except one of the agents, Alexander Stirling, is proving to be a dangerous distraction. Handsome and charming, her newest bodyguard is also going to be doing double duty as her date to the party. Despite knowing that it’s all for show, Cat can’t help but be drawn to Alex and regrets that they couldn’t have met under different circumstances. But when an unexpected attack on the Consortium causes all hell to break loose, the two of them are brought closer together as they work to find the culprits and restore order.
I think it’s safe to say that if you enjoyed the first two books, you’ll enjoy Chaos Reigning. The story unfolds and is written in roughly the same vein, except the author has really pulled out all the stops for this one. The stakes are higher, plot developments are much more consequential, and the overall action is more intense. Not surprisingly, the romance is dialed up several notches as well, without losing any of its cheesiness. Truth be told, it might even be over the top. Everything was all NEED and HEAT and BURNING, if things got any hotter this book would have spontaneously combusted in my hands. I’m not going pretend and say it didn’t get ridiculous after a while, but it’s par for the course with this series and the reason why I can only take it in small doses. Could I read books like this back to back without wanting to tear my hair out? No. But doing so once in a while? They can be great escape.
Jessie Mihalik has also saved the best for last. The crux of Chaos Reigning involves an event that rocks the Consortium, altering the fates of Cat and her siblings forever. For me, it gave this book slightly more weight than the others which I suppose is appropriate for the final installment, and it also helped me see past a lot of the story’s flaws. After three books, it’s clear that the series’ biggest weaknesses are the men—our heroines’ love interests. To be frank, Loch, Ian, Alexander—they’re really all variations of the same type: domineering alpha males who are supremely full of themselves. To be fair, Alex might fare slightly better in this respect because his and Cat’s romance could arguably be considered slow-burn, plus he’s sweet and charming. That said, it didn’t help that he fell into the “fake boyfriend” cliché for so much of the story so that when his profession of love finally came, it felt rather sudden and unconvincing. As a result, there wasn’t much about his character that stood out.
So really, for me it was all about Cat. She’s independent and determined like all the von Hasenberg women, but can kick so much more ass—even more so than Ada. Furthermore, I felt Cat was also the best at leadership, which was ironic considering how desperately she didn’t want to end up the head of her house. Given the responsibilities dumped on her though, I thought she handled herself marvelously well and showed more agency and motivation in her choices than her sisters. It’s just a shame that the conflict in this book was resolve so abruptly—and a little too neatly—because I would have loved to see more of Cat in action.
And so, the Consortium Rebellion has come to an end. Romance is not typically a genre I read, but I won’t lie, I had a lot of fun with this one. Cat and Alexander’s relationship might not have been as satisfying, but the action and suspense definitely made up for it, and ultimately Chaos Reigning ended on a finale-worthy note.