It has come to my attention that as I’m growing older my reading tastes are becoming more and more varied. This diversification has lead me to pick up books in genres that I haven’t really explored before and most I’ve recently found myself growing increasingly interested in historical fiction. For a first foray Labyrinth was pretty good, but by no means was it perfect.
Labyrinth is an amalgamation of genres, and this blend of supernatural and historical fiction proved highly successful in drawing me in. There was something comforting about the inclusion of the more fantastical elements as I was used to them having read fantasy books before, which softened the blow of the fact-heavy historical side which could easily have become overwhelming otherwise, especially since the history is French history and so not something I’ve come across before.
One other thing that I found fun was spotting the parallels between the two converging story lines 800 years apart. These similarities often caught my interest once I figured out they were there and made for some interesting ideas about fate and history repeating itself, although it did become tedious after a while as it became ridiculously easy to predict the fates of a number of the characters.
While I am glad that I read Labyrinth, I must confess that while the premise of the story was good I was left feeling somewhat disappointed by the execution. Personally I found the writing style to be a little to ‘fanfiction-y’ in places; by which I mean that there was a lot of telling and not a great deal of showing going on. While I can understand the difficulty in getting the balance right in a historical fiction novel where the main characters are separated by 800 years, I still think it could have been pulled off better than it was.
Also, I, the reader, do not need to know how shapely/pale/smooth/slender/insert-other-adjective-here every woman’s legs are. Once or twice, fine, but not every time someone new is introduced! In fact, as a sort of general observation I noticed there were a lot of unnecessarily detailed descriptions of people and places in this book. Combine with the fact that it was super slow to get going and I feel as though the entire story could have been cut down by a good 100 pages.
An average score of 2.5/5 for Labyrinth. Having watched the two part miniseries as well I can safely say that it’s a faithful adaptation which does a good job of condensing the story down into its best bits, so perhaps consider watching that if you’re undecided about whether to read the book.