Know this: I am not a warrior. I am a disease.
When I was six, my parents died.
When I was sixteen, I was locked away in Rock Point Girls’ Home. Nobody wants to deal with a liar. An addict. A thief.
Nobody except Alle. She is pure, and she’s my friend in spite of all the rotten things I am.
There was once another girl like me — long ago. A cast-off daughter. A lying little beast who left a red stain across the land with her terrible magic. She’s imprisoned now in a maze high up on the cliffs. They say she’s half woman, half bull. They say she dines on human tributes and guards a vast treasure. They say she was born wicked.
But I know her better than the history books or stories do. She and I dream together. Our destinies are twisted up like vines.
Except I’m not going to turn out wicked like she is. I can save myself by destroying her. I’m going to break out of this place, and I’m going to enter the labyrinth and take her heart.
And once I’m redeemed, maybe Alle will love me.
Macabre, dark, and complex along the twisting path of a story structured much like the labyrinth of legend. It was definitely a right person and mood type of story and I happened to be just such a listener for this unique, introspective tale.
Ever have one of those books come along that makes you scratch your head about what to say? Not that it was a bad read/listen, but that it was so far outside the usual and that it crosses so many genre lines that… loss for words. I’ve got just such a one here. But I will try.
First of all, this is YA in age of characters, but not really YA in scope of readership. Secondly, its coming of age and getting past abuse, loss, grief, and anger so it might seem fiction, but then again, there are relationships and romance. Oh and much of the book seems a contemporary setting of a girl’s orphanage home, but then there was the labyrinth and the tumble into Wonderland territory mashed with mythology. And that is just the dilemma of what genre it falls in. I’m going with fantasy romance.
Secondly, I said it was a coming of age and romance and it is, but this girl has some pretty dark, tortured thoughts and she’s not likeable and sort of wears that badge proudly so there are musings of unreliable narration going on for me when it comes to Thera, but really, she’s just seeing things through the lens of her own hard experiences. I enjoy that sort of thing at times- getting inside a disturbed person’s mind, but I will admit that it made it a slower-paced piece because reflection and not a lot of action take up nearly half the book.
I’m still not sure what to make of the last portions. The labyrinth was incredible in its craziness, but for that reason, it was perfectly drawn. The ending was wistful and distant so that I felt I was being pulled back from the intimacy I had felt with the sole narrator, the heroine.
This is a coming of age piece and it was more of an exploration into physical intimacy by the two roommates, Thera and Alle. They become intimate, but it is not a lengthy description. Theirs was something almost sweet and a little innocent mixed in with the budding passion. But because these are mostly disturbed girls in their group of friends, there is some crudeness from others (reference to a BD which I had to look up ‘bull dyke’ and refers to a very masculine lesbian) so the audience for this is probably more adult.
The fun part for me was the surprise that the author, JA Rock, was narrating her own piece. What a fantastic match. I’ve never experienced this before and of course she nailed the timing, tone, and the characters because they are hers. Oh, well okay, she has a really good narration voice, too, and I know bringing a story’s narration to life is not simple and takes skill, but I do wonder if its easier or harder because it was hers. Well done, though, either way.
All in all, this was parts bizarre and parts melancholy, but still a very good piece of story writing that I’ve come to expect since I’ve been reading/listening to her books. I would recommend Minotaur to those who are looking for something a little different, slower paced, and enjoy F/F Fantasy Romance.
My thanks to Riptide Publishing for the opportunity to listen to this book in exchange for an honest review.
Romance Roundabout #175 FR
New Release #118