…Preceded by Chaos Vol -1 by M. Wheeler (Writer) and B. Bicknell (Illustrator) – Blog Tour Book Review
…Preceded by Chaos is a graphic illustrated series, charting the dramatic past, present and future of a young emergency room doctor, as the stress of saving lives threatens to overwhelm him. Mitchell Weaver is a troubled young Emergency Medicine doctor, orbiting a world of high-stress, intense pressure. It’s a distinguished profession with the burden of a variety of particularly disturbing personal demons that he must battle in order to maintain the façade of sanity and control. The third instalment of the series, Volume -1, takes place before the first book in the series, Volume 0, before Mitchell’s attempt at sobriety and self-awareness. During this chapter Mitchell travels to Spain in an attempt to find a part of himself that his been lost. But ultimately, Mitchell’s trip to Barcelona may be an escape more than journey.
M. Wheeler has held an eclectic array of jobs – including working as a studio engineer and a teacher — before he entered medical school in his thirties. During his residency in New York City, he wrote the first three books which would eventually become the …Preceded by Chaos series. Wheeler travels extensively for his job but currently calls Miami, Florida, home.
What I Thought:
I started this book thinking it was going to be a graphic novel. But as it says above it’s a graphic illustrated series so there are some illustrations but also lots of pages of text only. This is actually the third book in the series but is a prequel (I haven’t read the others).
I was drawn to the story of an emergency medicine doctor battling his demons and the cover illustration really demonstrates that concept. The sections that take place within the hospital were the ones I most enjoyed and it was during those that you felt the pressure on Mitchell. There are some quite verbally (and illustratingly) graphic depictions of drug use. The scene with the case of a young boy is realistic and upsetting and the language used definitely reflects the author’s experience as a medic.
I am assuming that the series title is based on the following quote: “All great changes are preceded by chaos” by Deepak Chopra,
and the summary for the next books describes how Mitchell aims to change and battle the addiction and demons that are affecting his life. He is left with a summons that means change is inevitable and this seems to link to an enigmatic case that is alluded to but not discussed in this volume.
The preceding chaos is definitely evident here and I have to admit to being a little confused about what was happening. The majority of the story takes place in Barcelona where he goes on holiday with a mate from work and lots of alcohol is consumed. The foreword is by a fictionalised character from the story who I’m not entirely sure actually exists or if we have a Jekyll and Hyde situation going on. The red eyed bull demon again could be a metaphorical representation of turmoil or a real inner demon.
Unfortunately I wasn’t drawn to Mitchell as a character and I didn’t feel women in the story were treated all that well. There was was a scene that featured a prostitute and a very unusual shopping list that I think I’d prefer to forget – so I’m not convinced I would read on to find out what happens but hopefully the character manages to turn his life around. Despite his irresponsible actions there is clear evidence that he cares for the patients and has become burdened by past events. I think the concept of mental health could be considered more explicitly. I think in this case it was more that my expectations of the story didn’t match what I got.
I believe the print copy I received was the final version and there were a few errors still present, and some of the text on the illustrations was blurred and difficult to read. I wonder if the kindle option makes this easier with the ability to zoom in.
The illustrations were all grayscale except for a couple that included a dash of red. Oddly one chapter was entirely presented in captioned illustration and I do think that the material would lend itself to being presented in this way as a graphic novel.
Do check out the other stops on the tour to see what everyone else thought.
I received my copy from Faye Rogers and the publishers for the purposes of honest review.