Children of Icarus

I’m a huge fan of myths. I studied Latin at school, right up to A Level and I devoured stories of the Minotaur, Daedalus and Icarus and Hercules (yes, the Disney version). So when Georgia mentioned this book from Curious Fox, I knew it would be right up my street.

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“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.”

Think Maze Runner meets Gladiator when it comes to this book. A group of teenagers, thrown into a maze to become Icarii, though we never really know if that’s actually a goal they should be striving for. The creatures and dangers of the maze are horrendous, we are closed in, just like the narrator to its narrow walls and we are equally nauseated by watching what happens to the other teens around her.

I’ve got to say – at times I found the narrator a little too… pathetic? She freezes whenever faced with danger, she is silent to the point that it ruins her future and she doesn’t seem to get over this at all. But then, if I was shoved into a maze like this, I think I’d be pretty useless too. Plus, it’s a little refreshing to read someone who isn’t automatically the reluctant hero (Katniss, Harry Potter etc.)

I don’t want to give anything away, but as we watch the narrator in the maze, navigating through the various people she meets, we realise how much of an impact family, friends and emotional ties have in this incomprehensible maze. Everyone has a role, everyone has a story and they are fighting just to survive which must be exhausting when there is no hope of anything more. I actually enjoyed these quieter moments more, when you saw the effect their situation could have on their personality and mental state. Yet these moments were matched with throes of action.

I loved the rumours of the maze – the stories of what might happen to you and the mysterious creatures and possibly, people, who roam it. When our narrator is out on her own, we learn so much more and the tension towards the end of the book is palpable. You know, just like the narrator, that we are close to finding out the truth, to finding out what’s at the end of this trail of clues. And then the book ends – infuriating but brilliant because all I want to do is pick up the next in the series to find out what is happening.

At moments, I hated that we never knew who the narrator was. But mostly, I loved her elusiveness – a characteristic that lends herself to a new role by the end of the book. The excitement that builds as you realise what she might become, and the chances she might have in the maze is great.

This novel mixes the classic labyrinth and its monsters with new trials, relatable characters and an intriguing plot. Though at times I was frustrated with our narrator, I’m desperate to find out the truth behind the Icarri and what secrets the maze holds.

Children of Icarus by Caighlan Smith is out now from Curious Fox.

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