Please Note: I received an ARC copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. This does not influence the opinions in my review in any way.
Synopsis (From GoodReads):
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.
I was excited to read this book when I requested it from NetGalley. But after I was approved, there was a note that said I could only access it as a protected PDF on my computer. So no Kindle! I would have to sit in an uncomfortable chair at my computer to read this. I put it off, I made excuses, but then I finally settled in and opened the file... And was sucked in! This was a very scary, brutal, and yes, enjoyable tale.
I am going to attempt to write this spoiler-free, so here it goes.
What I Liked:
Here is a wonderful case of "show not tell". The novel shows a strange society where everyone lives their entire lives in giant apartment buildings, people worship Icarus, and (once a year) some children are Chosen. They must leave the city to navigate the Icarus Maze in order to get emerge as Angels. Why are they doing this? Is the maze just a quick walk in a garden? Why are these kids never heard from again? The author does a great job of leading us down the primrose path!
Everyone here is very damaged, affected by the daily brutality of survival. The kids appear to be kind, at first, but also scarred from the stress of trying to survive. There is Elle, who befriends Clara (but is clearly mentally disturbed), Ryan who instantly hates Clara for being a liability, and Collin, who thinks Clara is his long lost sister.
There was also a mysterious character called The Executioner who appears and disappears, making you want to know her backstory.
What I Didn't Like:
The main character, Clara, is shy, needy, and selfish. She is often shown as a victim which I found upsetting. She does grow over the story, but I found her lack of motivation to be annoying. It was difficult for me to root for Clara when she didn't really try to be helpful through much of the book. She was so passive that it was driving me crazy! Don't you want to survive, girl?
Given that I found the main character, Clara, irritating, I can only give this book four stars. But this novel did have a really great concept, other fascinating characters, and setting.
Release Date: August 1st, 2016
Format: Protected PDF (Boo!)
Recommendation: If you enjoyed The Hunger Games, you will probably enjoy this violent tale of survival.