Branching Chaos by Nathan Nish is a collection of three novellas, each one more twisted than the last!
This is a brilliant example of a book that you need to read more than once to really understand how deep the author goes to create this interwoven network of nightmares.
Let’s dive in!
My Thoughts on Branching Chaos by Nathan Nish
As this had all three novellas merged into one, my notes below are my best guess at how they were broken up.
The Dreary House –
In this fever dream of a tale, a girl named Anna goes through a series of unsettling scenes that all jump and blend together. Before she knows it, she’s stuck in a maze of a house that she is desperate to get out of. This house isn’t just any maze though, of course it can’t be that simple. This house has a talking teddy bear holding a blade, people in mirrors, faceless people chasing her, and much more!
This story was so unsettling. At times, I had absolutely no idea what was going on, but I was so caught up and needed to see the end!
I can’t get over that this one felt a bit like a game of chutes and ladders, but YA horror themed!
A Place to Stay –
When Anna awakens, she find that the car that her Lance, Paul, and Trina were traveling in has run out of gas. Someone in the group remembers passing a hotel not long ago, and with nothing else to do, they decide that getting to a place where they can stay is their best option even if they need to walk through the rain.
At the hotel, they’re a bit off-put by the odd interaction they have with the man at the desk, but then head to their rooms anyway. When one of the girls wakes up to find her boyfriend missing, she begins a search through the hotel where she meets someone that soon warns her that she shouldn’t be out in the halls at night.
This hotel is another maze and in each room, a new terrifying surprise awaits! This one just kept getting darker and darker! This one also had little blips like the first part that had me really questioning what was going on.
Chance of Tragedies –
Anna is back yet again talking to her teacher about her assignment that is due. She has the sense that something is wrong, but she’s about to find out that it’s not just the weird situations at school or the random bits of memory that seem to be flooding back in random order.
MY GOODNESS. This is where things really get wild! Not only with the storyline itself, but this is where we start to see scenes that let us know as readers what has been going on all along.
My Favorite Passages from Branching Chaos
I didn’t doze off, did I? I feel like I skipped a page in a book. The last thing I remember is a dusty pantry. How did I get back down here?
Una’s head was downcast. Her eyes were still obscured and a grin was somewhat visible to Anna. Una’s form seemed to ripple, like struck glass left unbroken. Anna backed away and rather than topple the mirror behind her, she fell inside it through the surface.
… she stopped at the foot of the bed and bent down to lift the sheets. “Stop,” a quiet whisper from elsewhere in the room crept to Trina’s ears. Both lights went out and she bolted upright as a shiver ran through her. A chill filled the air.
“To simplify the matter for you, this hotel is most assuredly a place to stay, not so much a place to leave…”
“You ask a lot of wrong questions for someone looking for the right answers…”
My Final Thoughts on Branching Chaos
While the first section made my head hurt trying to logically follow what was going on, the second bit really hooked me, and in the third, I was so happy to see all of the puzzle pieces slamming into place!
This is a book that I need to read again and again to catch all of the little blips of the different storylines in each tale that hinted at what was to come.
If you enjoy wild psychological tales that will first frustrate you, then totally captivate you, and then astonish you, then look no further!
Snag your copy today using my affiliate link, or inquire at your local indie!
Thanks for reading!