I received a copy of this title from Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.
Page Count 352
Publication date June 2019/ Publisher Flux
Scrolling through Netgalley recently my eyes immediately zeroed in on the word Labyrinth. I am an enormous fan of the old Bowie fantasy film from Jim Henson, in fact I’d only watched it the week before. I only needed to skim the blurb of The Red Labyrinth to see the similarities…
The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalver’s isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze’s shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a mysterious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.
But when Zadie’s best friend vanishes into the labyrinth-and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists- completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through-Dex-into forming a tenuous alliance.
…Did you see them too?
-A young girl enters the labyrinth to save her best friend (instead of her brother).
-The journey is time sensitive (a week rather than 13 hours).
-A dangerous enemy is bribed into helping her reach the palace, (he’s scarier than Hoggle was though that’s for sure!)
Being a lover of magical tricksters I knew I had to read this. Whilst the premise can be compared as above to my beloved childhood movie, the book itself is very much it’s own unique tale.
Additionally, unlike my beloved movie, the reason for and origin of the Labyrinth is given in this tale.
I found Tate to be very clever in creating enemies and obstacles encountered throughout the labyrinth that were fun to read and simultaneously poignant to the characters.
Each trap or distraction provides further insight into the characters as well as action packed entertainment.
Told in present tense from the POV of our main character Zadie, Tate gives us excellent character development for both Zadie and the protagonist Dex via their backstories.
Zadie’s continuous internal battle between what she truly wants and what is morally just is wonderfully written. I connected with this MC and could hear her hope, desperation and pain in Tate’s words.
One of the noticeable things I discovered in this book was the perfection of character diversity. Race and sexuality were varied throughout characters in the most natural way I’ve seen for a while. There was no beating you about the head to prove the inclusion, it just belonged – which is exactly how this should be approached IMO. The relationship between Chantry and Nadine especially was a beautiful touch.
The Red Labyrinth appears to end with intentions of a sequel, however I enjoyed this book as a stand alone.