It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.
👉 Special thanks to Netgalley and Switch Press for providing an e-copy in exchange for an honest review.
Just so you know, I’m a person who rarely remembers the blurb when I read it. So diving into this book, I didn’t know what to expect. But the fact that this book was greatly inspired by the tale of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun, intrigued me so much that I requested a copy of it on NetGalley. So when my request got approved, I was beyond excited and couldn’t wait to read it.
Unfortunately, I got my hopes up too high. The story didn’t hook me as much as I would’ve wanted it to. Even though it’s only 313 pages long, it took me three days to finish the entire thing, when I can normally finish books like this in one sitting. However, there were also some aspects that I really liked, as I will mention later on.
So first off, here are the things that I DID LIKE:
- An interesting premise. The story is set in a fictional settlement, where every year, children are chosen to enter the labyrinth that surrounds the city. Sounds like a combination of Maze Runner and Hunger Games, don’t you think? But no, the story is entirely its own. So anyway, the children are promised to be protected by angels and will ascend to Alyssia, which is sort of their version of heaven, and become angels themselves. To me, it sounded like they were sending them to die. And sure enough, the stories they were fed turned out to be lies and many of the chosen ones died thanks to the horrors of the labyrinth. So now, the remaining ones needed to find a way to survive.
- The complete lack of romance. I don’t know if anyone who has read this noticed it, but the author did not give the main character a male lead. At first, I kept an eye out for potential male leads, but I was pleasantly disappointed that none of them made a romantic connection with the MC. This is perfect for those who are looking for a fictional read that doesn’t involve any romance.
- Originality. I have to applaud the author for the inspiration she came up with. There aren’t many stories out there that are inspired by Icarus’ tale, and I must say that it is a Greek myth that should be retold more often. (Although it’s not exactly a retelling, and the setting was fashioned after the labyrinth that Icarus’ father, Daedalus, had made.) In this book, Icarus was portrayed differently, more as an angel and a figure of worship.
Now, to my ISSUES:
- The main character herself. Sure, it’s nice how the author deviated from the usual kickass-type heroines we usually encounter. That was fine, even when the MC remained nameless throughout the whole story. However, I did expect some major character development as I went through along the pages. Then again, I was thoroughly disappointed. The MC remained extremely passive, pathetic, mopy and utterly useless which made it so damn difficult to sympathize and root for her. It’s understandable for her to break down considering what she’d gone through and all, but after a considerable amount of time, you’d think she would be able to get past that veil and take action. But no, she continues to mope about things and not doing a single thing about it, not even when others’ lives were at stake. It was incredibly painful to experience her point of view and only in the last chapters did she finally show some backbone, but that did only little to redeem her in my eyes. It wasn’t enough.
- Confusing setup. I don’t understand… I really don’t. We only get a glimpse of their society and lifestyle at the beginning, but they left before we could even learn more. I also don’t understand the MC’s friendship with Clara and how they even became best friends to begin with. I also don’t know what to make of the story’s goal. It seemed at first that it was going to be all about survival, but later on I wasn’t sure anymore. Getting out of the labyrinth was supposed to be their priority at first, but then it was totally set aside as soon as they found refuge.
- The side characters. I appreciate how the author gave them distinct personalities and how she made them all realistic. However, 95% of them were either horrible to the main character or didn’t care at all, while the remaining 5% were sympathetic but can’t be truly considered her allies. It doesn’t even help that one of them is a headcase who is obsessed with her.
- Extremely boring middle. This was the most infuriating part for me. Even though I’m giving the book my whole attention, it does nothing for me. There were some parts where I kept zoning off and some others… I glazed over completely. I even found scenes and sentences that were unnecessary and insignificant. However, the book came alive during the last pages of the story, which made me think twice about giving it up completely.
Seriously, I had a hard time figuring out whether I liked this book or not. Am I going to be amazed at how unpredictable it is or should I be pissed off that it didn’t satisfy my bookish needs? Most of the time, I felt frustrated and lost interest, but that ending! Damn it all! I need to know more. This means I’m definitely not going to surrender this book just yet. Hopefully, Smith would take the series to a whole new level with her next book or else, I’m going to skewer someone.
For those who haven’t read this book yet, I suggest you bring a bundle of patience with you if you want to get through this. There is a lot more I want to say on this but I think I will limit my rants onto Twitter. 😁
Even though Children of Icarus wasn’t that good for me, I can’t say the same for everyone else. To be honest, most people who reviewed it gave positive feedbacks and said that they enjoyed. So please, go ahead and give it a try and don’t let my pessimism get in your way. 😉
– ABOUT THE AUTHOR –
Caighlan Smith was born in St. John’s, Newfoundland & Labrador on June 1st, 1994. She grew up in the scenic coastal community of St. Philip’s, overlooking the dramatic north-west Atlantic. As a kid, she loved to play in the woods around her house, loved to tell stories and believed in magic. When she was four years old and went to Ireland, her goal was to find a leprechaun. A year later in Norway, it was a troll. She has hiked a dormant volcano in Iceland. She has found Easter eggs hidden in a friend’s Emmy Award in California and was an actress in a television show that was screened at the United Nations in New York for International Day of the Child, 2000. …more