Every year, select children from Daedalum are selected to complete the legendary labyrinth and those who are successfully become angels, like their hero and God Icarus. When one young girl and her best friend Clara are selected to enter the labyrinth, Clara is thrilled while her friend is terrified. Shortly after entering, Clara is brutally murdered by two monsters. Her friend survives and takes on Clara's name to protect herself and attempt to escape.
I started reading this book because I've volunteered to read and review the sequel, Children of Daedala. I hate going into sequels with no idea what happened first, and I was able to get this book for free with my Kindle Unlimited membership! I also studied Latin for three years in college, so the integrations of the Roman and Greek mythology really pulled me in.
The setting of this book was intriguing. I really appreciated that the author allowed us to see our narrator and protagonist in her home in the mundane city of Daedalum before she's thrown into the horrors of the labyrinth. Not only did this help us build up some suspense and excitement, but it also let us get to know Clara and our narrator early on. The labyrinth itself is simultaneously vivid and vague. There's a general air of mystery around everything, but eh author does a good job of weaving in familiar concepts, including elements of Greek mythology that help some of the stranger elements of the setting feel familiar.
There is a large cast of characters in this novel, from people from the narrator's past life in the city to new acquaintances, friends, and enemies. Some characters we get to know well and others are only present for a short time. The narrator herself is unnamed, other than taking on her friend's name, Clara, being called Nameless, and sometimes being called nothing at all. She is static through much of the novel, being helpless and somewhat pitiful in the midst of the darkness surrounding her, but she does eventually undergo a large change near the very end that I hope will be more prominent and impactful in the sequel.
This book is quick, compact and intense. By that I mean, it was somewhat exhausting to read. Everything happens quickly. We jump from one event to the next, with little time to breath. Relationships evolve and decline within a few pages. Each chapter has one more terrible thing that has happened to our narrator or some new mystery for the reader to ponder. While this makes for a fun and interesting read, it ultimately left me confused by the end of the book. As I said, a lot happens in a short period of time, but by the end of the novel, not many, if any of my questions, were answered. It really left me wondering why the author decided to make this one small book and then make a sequel. I felt myself really wishing that they were instead one large book that could give me a more complete and fleshed out plot.
If you're a fan of Hunger Games and The Giver , this is a great book for you. There are a number of characters for your fall in love with and mourn. You'll also enjoy a unique setting steeped in Greek mythology. This novel is a quick read that will have your heart pounding, but may leave you with more questions than you started with.