I actually received an eARC for Children of Daedala and was going to start reading it … when I found out that it was book 2 in a series. Now, I checked reviews and it seemed like everyone was saying it was imperative to read book 1 or else book 2 would make no sense. So … I searched and searched for Children of Icarus and finally managed to procure a copy. Here is my review of this book:
Summary (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.
Review: I honestly don’t even know where to start with my review for this book.
One of the things that I noticed right away when I received my copy of this book – and this is quite unusual for me to comment about – is that the cover and page quality is really really nice. The cover illustration is very dark but when you remove the dust cover, the same image is underneath and it has a very nice finish to it. I also loved the paper quality; it was thick and glossy and I felt really happy flipping the pages. Yes, I know, this is a weird way to start my review but I really couldn’t get over how awesome the book printing was … but now, let me get into the content itself.
Our protagonist in this story has no name. It is never mentioned. I actually really like this because it is an idea I myself had for a story that I wanted to write. The author overcomes the difficulty of having to reference a character with no name by telling the story in the first person narrative, which is quite smart since most readers also want to get to know the way the MC thinks and feels and this way you get two birds with one stone.
I really liked the idea of introducing mythological creatures to the story. I just wish there was more to them. There was also a maze runner vibe, what with the setting taking place in a labyrinth, which I really quite liked.
However, I didn’t like the story or the main character … or any of the characters, for that matter.
Let’s start with the story: nothing happens. Our protagonist, after surviving a harrowing attack, finds herself in the company of other survivors. And then nothing happens. All we read about is her observations of others and how daily life is among the survivors. Even when the story takes a turn towards something more interesting, it becomes bland as well. Literally, the ending is the most exciting part of the story, and the use of the word exciting is a bit of a stretch; I read it and felt absolutely nothing. I think my problem with the story is that I was expecting it to be heavily infused with mythology and for there to be tons of action. However, there really wasn’t much of that. I also think that the story had a lot of gore and violence to it, and a lot of it was unnecessary and quite sickening. And when I mean sickening, I’m referring to the behaviour of the characters.
Which brings me to the characters. Now, I really didn’t like the protagonist, and I found myself feeling both pity and anger towards her. She has no spine, no bravery, no strength whatsoever. She just sits there and lets things happen to her. On the one hand, I’m always saying that I want realistic character portrayal; if I were in her shoes, I would probably also be petrified and unable to do anything. But nobody wants to read about a character like that. There is a reason that authors write stories with main characters that have personalities; they attract readers and make the story interesting. In this case, our protagonist is the most boring and cowardly character I have ever read about. Literally, almost all of the problems could have been avoided if she had just spoken one sentence. But she didn’t. However, she suffered way too much for just that one mistake.
This is where the story really made me upset. The behaviour of the other characters towards the protagonist made me sick. I found myself getting really worked up and unable to read at times. In the beginning, I was just annoyed with how rude a few of the characters were towards our MC … but after the truth is revealed, I was just shocked at the way things escalated. There was no need for it to become that brutal and it was seriously messed up. I was not okay with it. I have no idea how I managed to push through that part of the book, and I’m glad it didn’t come up again. Consider this a warning about the seriously intense violence and brutality that the characters exhibit against each other.
All in all, I was not very pleased with the book. I didn’t think the story was nearly as interesting as it could be and I hated all of the characters. To top it off, the scenes of cruelty and violence left me feeling very disturbed. I’m giving this a 1.5/5 stars. Since I went through all of the effort to get a copy of this book and read it just to read the sequel, I will be reading Children of Daedala. Let’s hope the story improves from here on out.