Review: Chaos Tryst by Shirin Dubbin

5 Oct

Chaos Tryst by Shirin Dubbin
Carina Press (October 2011)
ebook: $3.99 (33,000 words, think 107 pages)
ISBN: 9781426892394

Favorite Lines: “Everything went swimmingly on the approach but she’d forgotten what a tall woman she was. Forgot it all the way up until her forehead slammed into the poor guy’s ‘nads.” (p. 14, egalley)

Ariana Golde may be known for breaking and entering but she’s no thief, she’s a returner. She retrieves stolen objects and gives them back to their rightful owners. Her latest job: retrieving a statue from the Medveds. But Ari is having an off night, and she’s caught red-handed by the three brothers, who don’t just get mad-they turn into bears.

Maksim Medved is outraged-the statue belongs to his parents. But Ari’s returner magick doesn’t lie: the heirloom has a new rightful owner. Ari is drawn to the surly, handsome Maks-maybe because he possesses the same chaos magick she does. But while Ariana enjoys a touch of chaos, Maks hates its destructive power.

When Ari and Maks team up to find her mystery client, their chaos magicks ignite even faster than their attraction. Can Maks learn to love a little chaos, or will the havoc they cause among the faebled creatures drive him away for good?

Chaos Tryst is a short story which takes place in a fairy tale like land and features The Three Bears. Ariana Anase Kitsu Golde is the daughter of Inari (a Japanese trickster fox god–kitsune) and Anansi (African trickster god who looks like a spider). She is a quick-witted woman who is attracted to a cursed bear shifter named Maks. He is a man who hates wild magic and thieves. Both Ari and Maks have chaos magic and tends to react in a variety of ways.

One of the most interesting aspects of Chaos Tryst was the interracial hero and heroine. The heroine is African-Japanese and the hero is Russian-Gypsy; she uses Japanese terms and he has a Russian accent. I thought it slightly odd that characters from such varying fables would interact so freely, but it didn’t distract me from the story. It made me think about how different the characters where from their appearances to their jobs. It didn’t take long to figure out they were perfect for one another. (Good thing seeing as how the book’s less than 107 pages long.) Ari has a carefree, live and let live attitude while Maks was bitter. He had reason to be, but I kept thinking that he was a major cry baby.

Despite like parts of the story, there were things that didn’t work for me. I understand the reason they were included was to show chaos magic at work, but they really confused me for a while. I’m talking about the scene in the bakery involving an old woman and later on the thoughts running through a princess’s mind. I don’t like being yanked out of a story by additional ideas or information which is what I felt like happened.

Chaos Tryst is a retake on fables and fairy tales. If that’s your thing, you’ll most likely enjoy the book. It features a warring land with goblins and ogres, tons of trickery and a happy ending. It’s not the most exciting book I’ve ever read, but it’s a fairy tale aimed at romance readers. While I didn’t love the hero, I liked the idea of him shifting and the alpha tendencies his inner beast tried to put into his head.  However, bear shifter or not, there wasn’t enough to create more than a “meh” reaction within me.


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