Friday, August 10, 2012

Review: Lost in the Labyrinth - Patrice Kindl

Lost in the Labyrinth by Patrice Kindl
Genre: YA, mythology retelling
Published on August 26, 2002
Published by HMH Books
Pages: 194
Read From: 7.8.12 - 7.8.12

Princess Xenodice is content to spend her days tending to the animals in the royal menagerie, haunting the workshop of a beautiful young man named Icarus, and visiting her brother who lives in the Labyrinth. Her safe and privileged world, however, has ominous cracks underfoot. 
Soon battles for power and revenge threaten everything Xenodice loves. Betrayals from both within and without her family lead to a series of tragedies that Xenodice struggles to avert.


Cover Blurb: It’s so-so. It caught my attention because clearly it dealt with Ancient times. I like how the labyrinth is carved into the face. But other than that, it doesn’t have too much effect either way.

What I Liked: Asterius is probably one of the more likable portrayals of the Minotaur that I’ve read. I found it easy to understand Xenodice’s attachment to him. This made it even easier to really dislike the people who were mean to him and Xenodice - Ariadne especially. It was interesting to for once think of Ariadne as the villain in the story, and the Author pulled it off. Ariadne was a conniving, mean little thing, and I really wanted Xenodice to put her in her place. I loved the portrayal of Theseus as a boastful, hot-headed young man. It’s a common enough portrayal in mythology retellings anymore, but this one was especially good. I also loved how the Author wove in the story of Icarus and his ill-fated wax wings.

What I Disliked: It did frustrate me that Xenodice bowed to Ariadne’s will all the time. I kept wanting to shout at her to just tell Ariadne no, despite the consequences; find a way to get back at her before she can punish Xenodice. One of the character’s betrayals (I won’t say who, that’d be spoiling things) bothered me because I really liked the character, and his betrayal didn’t make absolute sense to me.

Believability: The Author didn’t really have that much magic in the story, and what small incidences of magic that occurred came across as merely how the people might see something, though it is made pretty clear that Asterius really is half bull, half man. Being a mythology retelling, it’s hard to say anything about believability.

Writing Style: It was surprisingly pleasing. It has an old feel to it, not at all movie-ish, and is simple. Though why the Author insisted on describing Xenodice’s breasts is beyond me. It also seems to me that there ought to have been more with Eumenes, considering the revelation of who his father was.

Content: Nothing of consequence.

Conclusion: The ending was very bittersweet. Naturally Asterius dies - I have yet to read a retelling of this particular myth where the Minotaur lives. The appearance of Ariadne’s ghost was rather confusing; what exactly was she trying to tell Xenodice, and why is it even important? But for the most part, it wasn’t disappointing.

Recommended Audience: Anyone who likes mythology retellings and is looking for a short read. Guys and girls would like it.

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