Review: Minotaur by J.A. Rock

Review: Minotaur by J.A. RockMinotaur by J.A. Rock

Narrator: J.A. Rock
Genres: F/F Romance, Fantasy Romance
Published by Riptide on August 10,2017
Pages: 7 hours 16 minutes
Format: Audiobook
Source: Publisher
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four-stars      three-flames

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.

The Delight

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
Audio #50


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I was born and raised near Sacramento, CA. I have read since I was four years old and developed tastes that run the gamut of literature. I went away to college and have a degree in education, a certificate in family history research, and a certificate in social work. I worked for a non-profit agency with low income families for 20 years which included being responsible for the children’s library and promoting/teaching adult literacy. I have lived in Southeast Michigan for the last 18 years and I am currently a book addicted homemaker with a cat and husband who keep me grounded. Recently, I made it a challenge to review each book that I have read as a favor to author friends who said reviews are important. I have done reviews for Good Reads, Amazon, eBay, and Smashwords, but mostly at Goodreads and Amazon.
  • I think it is great that the author narrated the book. I have listened to an audio like that before and I do think it adds something to the delivery. This sounds like a really interesting read. I like how it doesn’t fit nicely into just one genre.

    • This was my first, but I would definitely enjoy more author-narrated stories. Yeah, the blend of genres did make for a stronger story, I thought.

  • RO

    The cover sort of looks like a throwback, and it’s certainly cool that the author would narrate her own audiobook. Sounds like a lot of interesting things are going on to keep us interested. Hugs…

  • I’m not sure at 100% that it would be for me but nice to see you had a good time with it

    • I wasn’t sure, either, and still felt shaky about it even in the middle. 😉 It was a tricky one.

  • This one definitely sounds unusual. It cane be hard sometimes to know what to say in your review. Sounds like this book is quite the mash of genres, but it seems like it works here. It does sound a touch too dark for me. And sometimes those unlikeable characters can be great to read about. That’s interesting the author narrated her own book and it worked so well. Great review!

    • It was a very curious story and was good because it was so different. I like those once in a while. Loved having the author narrate. She had a great storytelling voice and of course knew her characters well. 🙂

  • Huh. This is a strange-sounding book. Definitely not for me, it sounds too dark and difficult for me. I do like books featuring “young-adult-aged” characters that aren’t quite “YA” books. I’m glad you enjoyed this book overall!

    Have a wonderful week, Sophia. =)

    Alyssa @ The Eater of Books!

    • Yes, it will definitely not be for everyone. It goes a bit into the dark corners of the mind. It was a neat thing that it was a coming of age, but was told from the adult point of view looking back on things.