Book Review: The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate


Fantasy novel where a girl, at first apparently weak, comes to find her power, survives a nutso labyrinth, and makes a surprising friend.

Full Review

I can still remember the first time I hear of the Minotaur of Crete. A rainy summer day, I was flipping through a book about William Blake in the library. I had waylaid by the cover on the search for a book about Beatrix Potter. The Minotaur, I learned, was trapped in a labyrinth, and eventually killed a heroic Greek or two. The Greek myth had the air of resignation, everyone stuck in an untenable position.

In some ways, Tate’s The Red Labyrinth has the same feeling. It is the story of an apparently powerless girl Zadie and her powerful best friend, Landon. But unlike the Minotaur who fulfills his murderous faith, Zadie bucks the tenets of society.

This YA fantasy novel has many of the tropes of the genre, including seemingly powerless heroine surround by nasty girls. While some of the book has a familiar feel, there is enough different to make this worth the read. The plotting and storyline are excellent. Zadie is somewhat weakly drawn, well, in part because she is struggling with her own perceptions of her lack of strength. The monster in the labyrinth, as it were, Dex is wonderfully drawn, really making the story.

The book ends with a cliffhanger. The last third of the book is by far the best. So if you are a little lost at the beginning, keep going. The book was strong enough that I will definitely put the next book on by TBR.

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