Review: Chaos Theory

6 years ago
Sharona Lin

Kami is a little abrasive, a little obtuse and a lot smart. She’s into martial arts and science, and prefers to see the world in terms of data sets, not people. In fact, the only friends she really has are Sandy, a brilliant actor and liar, and Sandy’s boyfriend Sam, the editor of the school newspaper.

And she knows what she wants: she wants to win the science competition with her chaos theory experiment in her locker, and she wants to go to a great college. Oh, and she wants to date Gavin, a boy with emerald eyes.

Chaos Theory book cover

She doesn’t see Daniel coming. His half-sister Julia ODed on drugs that the police think came from Daniel. First, he shows up at Kami’s martial arts class, and then she helps him to the hospital after he gets beaten up by local drug dealers. Something is off, and Kami finds out that Daniel is covering for Julia to protect her reputation – he’s now an informant for the police.

But the police are no match for Kami and her team of super sleuths. Dragging Sandy, Sam and eventually the gorgeous hacker Gavin into the mystery, Kami begins unravelling the puzzle that Daniel is embroiled in, eventually going undercover as an intern at a pharmaceutical company.

I had a hard time getting into Chaos Theory at first. Kami is a strange, truly unique character, and someone I had a hard time connecting with. She’s hot-headed, with a habit of keeping everyone at arm’s length. However, I eventually found her to be a compelling, intriguing character, and one certainly up to the task of solving a mystery even the police haven’t.

The first person narration comes across well – some contemporary novels avoid incorporating modern technology and modern references, while others cram too much in. Chaos Theory treads the in between well: references to Nathan Fillion in Firefly and to Facebook or the cloud don’t come across as forced because Dobson weaves technology and culture into her writing, resulting in realistic dialogue and interactions. There is some action, but it is well paced and believable to boot.

As is standard for mystery books, the puzzle is resolved by the end, but there is plenty left open for the imagination (or a sequel).

Chaos Theory is the first book in a possible series called The Kami Files. It comes out on 10 February, 2015.

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