The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalverstein'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.
I received this book in exchange for an honest review through Netgalley. I love books and movies about labyrinths and mazes, as you can see from some of my other reviews from the last year. The summary added some extra suspense to the book and the cover was absolutely stunning so I was excited to see if this book introduced some exciting and new elements to the labyrinth genre.
The characters in the book were well developed and all had small secrets that added to their interest for me. The main character, Zadie, could be a bit self-defeating at times, but had good reason to feel that way, as she’s had a tough life up until the start of the novel and things only go down from there. Her love interest and best friend, Landon, is missing for most of the novel, so it’s was difficult to say if he was well rounded at first. And, of course, I don’t want to spoil anything, but I can guarantee he is an intriguing and complex character as well. However, my favorite character was probably the murderous and mysterious Dex, it was fun getting to know him and his secrets as the book unfolded.
The setting was a fun and unique twist on the labyrinth genre. Zadie’s home is a town in the dessert, the only one left after a horrible apocalyptic event. And many of the occupants are called “Skilled” for the powers that they have, some have one, and others have five or more. Except Zadie and the other unfortunate “Blanks” that have no powers at all. The extra magic in the setting really sold me on the book and enhanced the plot. However, I wish the author had spent just a bit more time with descriptions, as there were many scenes that I had trouble picturing and would have liked to “see” more of what Zadie and Dex saw.
The plot made this book was quick read. After the first few chapters, I was completely hooked into the story and was able to finish the book in just a weekend. The labyrinth throws lots of obstacles in Zadie’s way that kept the story interesting, in addition to the human drama. There were many twists in the book and I can’t say that they were all surprising, but I still appreciated the switches in the plot. The book doesn’t end perfectly, and sets up the reader for a sequel, but was still surprising and satisfying.
The Red Labyrinth is a fast-paced and exciting novel that adds a lot to the labyrinth genre. I enjoyed the characters, the magic elements and the twists in the plot. While I was hoping for a more conclusive ending, I was still satisfied and will definitely be keeping an eye out for the sequel.