In between all my new projects, I’ve been able to spend some much needed free time going through my various spotify playlists and reading soundtracks. I don’t know about you, but I’m the type of person that loves to do work to music, which includes reading and writing my stories. There’s just something about it that keeps me focused and it can really help capture the mood!
Anyhow, I stumbled across the old reading soundtrack from my time spent writing Chaos Looming. As far as I can remember, I pretty much put the whole playlist on repeat for most of the writing process, but I thought it would be fun to split it out by chapter, listing songs with the particular parts of the story they best embody. That way you can listen along as you read if you so choose. So here’s my holiday gift to you: a Chaos Looming Reading Soundtrack!
I tried to avoid any major spoilers, but if you want to go in completely blind, feel free to just listen through the song list of this reading soundtrack. Otherwise, check out my chapter/song list and descriptions below and let me know your thoughts! I’ll warn you, it’s quite the mix of genre, and I think you’ll gain some insight into some of the movies/tv shows I happened to be obsessed with at the time, but either way, here you go!
Chapter 1 - Only the Beginning of the Adventure: by Harry Gregson-Williams
I’m a huge fan of epic movie scores. More than anything, they capture the excitement and expectation inherent to the process of starting a new book. This song in particular is from the Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe soundtrack and is one of my favorite tracks from the score.
Chapter 2 - Good Luck, Son: Jan Valta and Adam Sporka
Yes this song is from a video game, and yes I listened to it throughout writing this book. I’m putting it with this chapter because of the sense of hope and optimism Keira feels as she hopes to take her place among the Legion. Sure she’s made mistakes, but
Chapter 3 - Cosmic Love: by Florence + The Machine
This chapter is pretty much entirely from Danny’s perspective, and I really thought this song embodied his view of the world and his relationship with Keira. While she wants nothing more than to pull away from what they share, he’s desperate to find a way to reach her.
Chapter 4 - Setting Sun: by This, The Silent War
I love this song and the joyfulness of the chorus, which I really feel like embodies the spirit of these first few chapters. We see Danny and Keira’s relationship at its best: carefree and burdenless.
Chapter 5 - Loyal Brave True, by Christina Aguilera
Yes this song is from the newest Mulan movie. Now regardless of your feelings on that movie in particular, this song is killer and I just really heard Keira speaking through these lyrics, trying to figure out who she is and what she’s willing to stand for, who she’ll allow in. Even in a chapter like this, where Keira is in opposition to pretty much everyone around her, we can feel her good intentions and her
Chapter 6 - Main Title (Braveheart): by James Horner
Another epic movie score. Adventure is truly calling in this chapter as we’re introduced to the Bellatorio and told a bit more about the chaos that’s descending on Loren. But will they answer the call?
Chapter 7 - Lorenzo the Magnificent: by Paolo Buonvino
This one’s actually from a tv series, called “Medici” which has an awesome soundtrack. But I just love this song for this chapter: epic, fearful, and with a real sense that the adventure is just getting started . . .
Chapter 8 - Bare: by WILDES
At the beginning of this chapter, loss has left Keira and Danny battered and broken, buried under feelings of loss and grief. But as they lean on each other to take the action needed, we’re left with the sense that they can handle anything as long as they’re together.
Chapter 9 - Smokestacks: by Layla
There’s a pressured feeling to this chapter with so many emotions swirling throughout. Fear, anger, pain, heartbreak, it’s all there. I think this song really captures that millieu.
Chapter 10 - E Lucevan Le Stelle (Instrumental): by Mělník Philharmonic Orchestra
The adventure continues, but absent one key person. Keira experiences a torrent of emotion throughout this entire chapter, and I found the melodic nature of this track incredibly helpful in guiding my writing.
Chapter 11 - March, Hills to Climb: by Tim Myers
There’s a joyful determination in this song that I really felt as I wrote this chapter. By coming back, Danny’s shown that he’ll always be there for Keira, but they’ve hurt each other and there’s a real question if their relationship will ever be what it was.
Chapter 12 - Woman King: by Iron & Wine
I love both this chapter and this song. We finally meet Landry and find that he is not quite what Keira expected . . . The battle of wills between them was so much fun to write and I thought this song really captures the atmosphere I was going for.
Chapter 13 - Deception: by Paolo Buonvino
Without giving too many spoilers, this chapter’s all about betrayal and this song really captures the mood of that. Dark and gritty, I basically had this one on repeat throughout this chapter.
Chapter 14 - Flaws: by Vancouver Sleep Clinic
There’s so much pain in this chapter and saying goodbye to one of my favorite characters was just devastating. I think this song really captures the sadness but also the essence of who that character was: far from perfect but strong to the core and with an absolute devotion to duty and honor.
Chapter 15 - The Fire: by Kina Grannis
More fun scenes between Keira and Landry in this chapter, all culminating in an epic fight (no more spoilers than that!). I love this song for the playfulness merging into intensity throughout the track.
Chapter 16 - Lost It All: by Jill Andrews
When the worst occurs, Keira refuses to lose anyone else that she cares about.
Chapter 17 - War of Hearts: by Ruelle
Caught in the viper den of Ulgáris, Keira and Danny must rely on each other in order to escape, or risk losing everything they hoped to gain.
Chapter 18 - Don't You Give Up On Me: by Milo Greene
Keira and Danny are once again separated, and the two of them have to come to terms with what they really mean to each other. Can they still rely on the bond they once shared?
Chapter 19 - Light a Fire: by Rachel Taylor
The harsh realities of their world can no longer be kept at bay. The trio must rely on each other if they hope to survive the chaos that comes more quickly than they ever realized.
Chapter 20 - Kings and Queens and Vagabonds: by Ellem
In this chapter we finally make it to Crîd Eálas and meet the Regio and the Lady Junia. There’s an air of expectancy but Keira quickly becomes suspicious that all may not be as it seems.
Chapter 21 - Steady: by Act As If
Things with Danny have spun wildly out of Keira’s control. Will she ever be able to put them to right?
Chapter 22 - Castle: by Halsey
The pace is starting to pick up in this chapter and the stakes continue to be raised. There’s no way Keira’s about to let Landry regress into the pouting princeling he once was. So she’s determined to take the lead once more . . .
Chapter 23 - A Narnia Lullaby: by Harry Gregson-Williams
Keira and Danny once again find themselves in a whole heap of trouble, and they’ll need each other to get out of it. Another song from a movie score, but I just love the slow build of the pulse in this song!
Chapter 24 - All the King's Horses: by Karmina
As the world around her begins to crumble, Keira is still determined to find a way out and save those she cares about most.
Chapter 25 - Never Let You Down: by Woodkid, Lykke Li
Some may recognize this song from the soundtrack of “Insurgent,” but I listened to this song on repeat as I wrote chapter 25. Without too many spoilers, I really heard both Landry and Keira’s desperation in the lyrics and tone of this song, their sense of defeat, and feelings of failure after all they’ve gone through. It painted the exact atmosphere I was going for in my writing of arguably the lowest point of the book.
Chapter 26 - Can't Pretend: by Tom Odell
Keira is once again betrayed by someone she once trusted more than anything.
Chapter 27 - Renaissance: by Paolo Buonvino, Skin
Rush to the rescue as revolution brews around them . . .
Chapter 28 - Wolves Without Teeth: by Of Monsters and Men
What comes next? Retreat? Surrender? Never.
Chapter 29 - Jungle: by Emma Louise
The epic climax where all will be decided, for better or worse.
Chapter 30 - Hurts Like Hell: by Furie
This is a beautiful song and I thought it was the perfect companion to the bittersweet and yet ultimately hopeful ending of Chaos Looming.