Eye of the Labyrinth – Jennifer Fallon

eye-of-the-labyrinthOn the Cover: Since the Age of Shadows ended, the people of Ranadon have lived under the merciless heat of two suns and the tyranny of Antonov, the Lion of Senet. Consumed by his lust for power and his unshakable belief in the capricious, almighty Goddess, Antonov’s rule is absolute. Only one man has the intelligence and will to break that hold… a man who could be King.

Suddenly widowed, Morna Provin, Duchess of Elcast, has lost her only protector. With her son banished for an unspeakable crime, she faces a horrifying fate at the hands of the Lion of Senet as retribution for her relationship with the heretic Johan Thorn. But it is only part of a cunning scheme to lure her son, Dirk Provin, back into the fold so Antonov can consolidate his power once and for all.

With his mother’s life at stake, Dirk Provin must emerge from hiding in the Baenlands and return to Elcast – setting in motion a rebellion that will expose long-buried secrets and ignite festering hatreds. For a ruler’s fears and a madman’s prophecy will start Dirk on a quest for truth that will spark a fierce battle between two very different men: one who believes only what his five senses tell him, the other obsessed by his faith in the divine. It is a clash that will bring to light a revelation that may shatter them all.

Published: 2004

Other Books in this Series:

Lion of Senet

 


 

The Review:

I totally appreciate Jennifer Fallon’s writing. The depth and vibrancy of the world she has created made it incredibly easy to step into this book despite how long it has been since I read the last one. This novel only serves to expand on what she presented within the first book, and with a wide array of characters, a rich landscape and deeply intriguing religious and political systems, Eye of the Labyrinth delivers on all levels.

The further I read in this book the more excited I got. Dirk Proven reaches the Labyrinth and between him and the Eye lays a path riddled with traps and puzzles. I absolutely loved the archeological feel of the adventure and the mystery of the puzzles, yet the solid foundation of religion and politics lent serious implications to the discoveries made in the Labyrinth.

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While I was disappointed that Dirk’s short time at the Labyrinth – I could have read an entire book that took place there – I was really impressed with this story. The novel does a great job of both expanding on the character story lines from the first novel while also paving the way into the final book. The book really builds up the plot and raises expectations for the conclusion in the third novel. I am looking forward to reading this next novel, and cannot wait for it to come in to the library so I can get my hands on it! Definitely check this one out if you are a fan of fantasy stories rich in political motivations and history told through puzzles.

Rating: 4 / 5

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When In Doubt…

…go to the library.”

when-in-doubt-3How many times have I heard, read, or said those words? And when it comes to reading novels, I absolutely live by it. I will not judge a book without reading it. If I hear gossip about a book, hear that it is wonderful, or terrible, or outright controversial, before I pass judgement I go out and read the book. If people ask me my opinion about a book and I haven’t read it yet, I answer with, “I haven’t read it yet.” I have no problem sharing my opinion on books, I just prefer it to be an informed opinion.

Sadly, not all of us try to emulate Hermione Granger in our daily lives.

mechanicaI bring this up because of a book I read over the summer: Mechanica by Betsy Cornwell. (Cue collective groaning from people who know what I’m going to say.) This book was published in August 2015 and is a re-telling of the fairy tale Cinderella.

CinderThe supposed issue with this book is that people claim it is a copy of Cinder by Marissa Meyer, which was published in January 2012, and also happens to be a re-telling of Cinderella.

If you scroll through Mechanica’s Goodreads page, you see all sorts of passive aggressive posts about how this story is a copy.

mechanica-1I get it. Both book are about Cinderella. Both feature handsome princes. And both feature the twist that the main character is a mechanic.

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No. If they’re both re-telling the same fairy tale, then obviously they would have very similar plot points. Obviously they would both have Cinderellas and Prince Charmings, ’cause you know, that’s kind of how the story goes.

And Cinderella re-tellings are really popular. Check out the New York Public Library’s list of Ten YA Retellings of Cinderella. Oh, and Cinderella as a mechanic? Got that too: Interstellar Cinderella by Deborah Underwood and Meg Hunt. Cornwell and Meyer are not unique in their stories.

And to be fair, I think Cornwell has handled the criticism of her story with a really decent attitude. She answers people’s questions on Goodreads and has explained herself very clearly.

cornwell-responseSo while this issue has been discussed for almost 2 years and there are many reviews on Goodreads that explicitly state that Mechanica and Cinder are not the same story, I felt like I had to bring it up again. Why? Because there are comments as recent as last month that Mechanica was nothing but a copy of Cinder.

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In danger of repeating many other reviewers, I have now read both books and they are not the same. They are stylistically different, the characters are portrayed absolutely different, and I took home a much different message from both of them. I enjoyed both books for very different reasons. And I definitely don’t think it’s fair to penalize Cornwell because her book happened to come out second.

As readers, we are allowed to be critical. We are allowed to say when we don’t like a book. But if we’re going to judge a book, write reviews, and make accusations, shouldn’t we read the book first? If I have questions about a book I’m going to do one thing: go to the library. The best way to know the answers is to read the book.

 

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