Children of Icarus
By: Caighlan Smith
The first section of this review will be spoiler free.
The cover tagline of this book read They promised us paradise. They promised us lies. That sounded mysterious enough to get my attention, and interesting enough for me to add it to my wish list. The story takes place in the mythical town of Daedelum, where every year they send a group of children into the labyrinth surrounding their town, for the honour of becoming angels. The Goodreads synopsis for this book is:
It’s Clara who’s desperate to enter the labyrinth and it’s Clara who’s bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It’s no surprise when she’s 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.
I picked this book up on one of my mass book buying sessions. I hadn’t heard about it before, but the synopsis intrigued me, so I thought why not. I also love Greek mythology, so I was excited by the prospect of a story involving Icarus and the famous labyrinth. However, this book did not live up to any of my expectations. It was confusing, and not in the mysterious kind of way, but in the gaping plot hole kind of way. Things were not satisfactorily explained, and the ending left me with more questions than the beginning. There was also a lot more violence than I was expecting. Something (I won’t say what) happens in the first few chapters which was not at all where I thought the story line was going. I am sure if I had been expecting that kind of book I might have been less shocked, but there was nothing in the synopsis or the first chapters to indicated that gruesome scenery would be heavily featured. I will admit the writing style overall was very good, and the dystopian aspects were well crafted. I just felt that there should have been more explanations at least at the end (since I believe this is a stand alone).
Another problem I had with this book was the main character. She was not a strong female lead, and whether her blandness was intentional or not, it left me feeling disconnected from the story, simply because I didn’t care about her. It was also interesting that the author chose to leave her unnamed throughout the entire book. She does go by another name eventually but we never find out her real name. She also doesn’t talk much so there was a lot of internal dialogue, instead of outright conversations.
After I finished this book I had very mixed emotions. It felt like a mash up of several dystopian and horror novels, many of which (such as the Maze Runner) I much preferred to this book. I do recognize that the detail and imagery was impressive, and having a rather weak protagonist was a gutsy move. If you love horror, and were a big fan of Lord of the Flies, I would say give this book a try. I personally couldn’t get past the sheer amount of unanswered questions and the lack of agreeable characters.
The event that I referred to earlier was the moment right after the protagonist entered the labyrinth with the other children. They are almost immediately all gruesomely murdered by terrifying flying monsters (which I am going to assume are the ‘angles’ the people of Daedelum were referring to). Among the dead is Clara, the protagonist’s best friend. I was a little taken aback that a character that was so heavily featured in the beginning of the story died so quickly. The other characters quickly turned out to be either delusional *cough* *cough* Elle, or just plain nasty (looking at you Collin). The only pleasant surprise in the whole book was the Executioner, who turned out to be a lot more interesting than I originally thought when she was first introduced.
The twist on the Icarus myth was an interesting idea, but I am a big fan of the original so the new take on it didn’t really appeal to me. This was a book I will probably never read again. It was an interesting experience, that ultimately left me disappointed and confused.
Has anyone else read this book? what did you think?
My Rating: 2/5 stars