Review:: Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

Chaotic Good CoverCameron’s cosplay–dressing like a fictional character–is finally starting to earn her attention–attention she hopes to use to get into the CalTech costume department for college. But when she wins a major competition, she inadvertently sets off a firestorm of angry comments from male fans in Chaotic Good.

When Cameron’s family moves the summer before her senior year, she hopes to complete her costume portfolio in peace and quiet away from the abuse. Unfortunately, the only comic shop in town–her main destination for character reference–is staffed by a dudebro owner who challenges every woman who comes into the shop.

At her twin brother’s suggestion, Cameron borrows a set of his clothes and uses her costuming expertise to waltz into the shop as Boy Cameron, where she’s shocked at how easily she’s accepted into the nerd inner sanctum. Soon, Cameron finds herself drafted into a D&D campaign alongside the jerky shop-owner Brody, friendly (almost flirtatiously so) clerk Wyatt, handsome Lincoln, and her bro Cooper, dragged along for good measure.

But as her “secret identity” gets more and more entrenched, Cameron’s portfolio falls by the wayside–and her feelings for Lincoln threaten to make a complicated situation even more precarious. (via Goodreads)

I received an eARC of Chaotic Good from Netgalley, courtesy of Knopf, in exchange for an honest review.

Chaotic Good is a lighthearted romance that deals with some heavy topics. Overall, I really liked it, but felt it could have done a little more to make the stakes feel real.

Chaotic Good needs content warnings for internet harassment, doxing, crossdressing by a cisgender character, gender-antagonistic comments & behavior, slutshaming, and death threats.

I loved the comic aspect of this book. I didn’t know it was in there, and it was a nice surprise! It was a perfect way to tie the authors art into the story in a way that felt fresh and fun.

I also loved that D&D became a family event, bringing their dad and his friends into the circle as well. When I was growing up, my dad used to carry around graph paper and pens and would draw out maps and build a small campaign at almost every family gathering. My brother’s actually a DM now, which is amusing for me. It was a great throwback.

I felt like the twins’ nicknames were a little overused. I’ve never used a nickname for my sibling during fights the way did, and it was a little overly twinny. That’s a minor complaint though.

My other minor complaint was that it never really felt like the threats or harassment were real to me. Cam was working so hard to minimize the issues and threats that it made me as a reader feel like they weren’t a big problem. Since they were a major part of the high stakes event in Chaotic Good, that made it fall a little bit flat.

However, I loved the group of characters. I loved that Cam wasn’t willing to just let Brody be an ass, and that Brina got to have some agency of her own.

Overall, I liked Chaotic Good. If this D&D cosplay contemporary sounds up your alley, you can pick up a copy of Chaotic Good for yourself on Amazon or Indiebound!

One thought on “Review:: Chaotic Good by Whitney Gardner

  1. Thanks for the content notes! This still sounds interesting enough for me to want to give it a try, and I can report that I have several times used nicknames when fighting with my sisters. I have three and I have used nicknames during fights with two of them. (The third won’t use nicknames.)

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