The Chaos by Nalo Hopkinson Review

Nalo Hopkinson

Publication Date:
April 17, 2012

Margaret K. McElderry Books

Hardcover, 256 pages

CAD $18.99

A finished copy was provided by Simon and Schuster Canada for review! Thank you!




An acclaimed fantasy author navigates the world between myth and chaos in this compelling exploration of identity, told with a Caribbean lilt.

Sixteen-year-old Scotch struggles to fit in-at home she’s the perfect daughter, at school she’s provocatively sassy, and thanks to her mixed heritage, she doesn’t feel she belongs with the Caribbeans, whites, or blacks. And even more troubling, lately her skin is becoming covered in a sticky black substance that can’t be removed. While trying to cope with this creepiness, she goes out with her brother-and he disappears. A mysterious bubble of light just swallows him up, and Scotch has no idea how to find him. Soon, the Chaos that has claimed her brother affects the city at large, until it seems like everyone is turning into crazy creatures. Scotch needs to get to the bottom of this supernatural situation ASAP before the Chaos consumes everything she’s ever known-and she knows that the black shadowy entity that’s begun trailing her every move is probably not going to help.

A blend of fantasy and Caribbean folklore, at its heart this tale is about identity and self acceptance-because only by acknowledging her imperfections can Scotch hope to save her brother.


Scotch is half Jamacan and half white. And all her life people claim her to be part of every kind of race just because her skin colour is such a light brown. She feels like he never fits in. Her parents are too strict, her best friends Ben and Glory are wrapped up in their own lives and her brother Richard is busy trying to stay out of trouble. One night after her parents go on a trip, Scotch and Richard go to an open-mike bar and try to have fun. Only that’s when a volcano explodes in the middle of Lake Ontario and all hell breaks loose. The Chaos begins.

I could not fathom what the heck was going on after The Chaos started. I really couldn’t believe what I was reading at some points and to think the ending made up for it? No it did not. I was just as lost as in the beginning. It sure was entertaining and humorous to read some of the passages but I felt that it didn’t amount to anything.

Guns turning into street lamps, men and dogs turning into jelly beans with teeth, purple hippos dancing in the street, a house with dinosaur legs that laid eggs!?!?, the weirdness continued! If you want some weird fantastic humorous read, then please take The Chaos and read it! It was midly entertaining minus the sub-par plot. The writing was well done so I gave this book 3 stars out of 5. Plus I love how it’s set in Toronto. Knowing where they were and having Tim Hortons splashed across the page made it cool to read about places I know.

Rating 3/5


“”This is all so nuts. On the way over here, while my mom’s car stopped at a red light, I saw a tiny cow with wings. It flew over our car and pooped right on the windshield. Then this little thing that looked like Tinker Bell, only with fangs, flew down, scooped the poop up, and flew around throwing it at people’s heads and laughing an insane little Tinker Bell laugh.”–Glory (133)

“We make the world a crazy place. Maybe some of it is that our crazy isn’t invisible anymore.”–Ben (137)