Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2012, 286p
This novel is impossible to put down. It's fast paced, dramatic, and enticing.
The premise for Mortal Chaos is brilliant - all the characters are interlinked, their actions will affect others, some will die. The chapters are short and tense, skipping between locations and characters at speed. The events seem meaningless in isolation, but together, they form a greater, darker plot.
Since the blurb suggests "some will die", the reader anticipates danger in every tiny event. The novel is full of potential hazards: from rollercoasters and aeroplanes; to angry, hungry baboons; to climbing Everest. You can't be sure which of these will develop into disaster, and which are just placed there to add to the tension.
Unlike many other books with a lot of characters and situations, Dickinson's work is not complicated or confusing. The links are made clear, and the novel is short enough to progress quickly. Each event is described with clarity and confidence, so that the reader can create a mental map of how everyone and everything links.
It's an incredibly clever novel - so much going on at once, and yet it is so enjoyable. It isn't often that a book makes your heart race, but this novel guarantees excitement.