Book: Labyrinth by Kate Mosse

Pages: 515; Hardcover; Published by Berkley Trade

Labyrinth is about Alice Tanner, a volunteer at an archaeological dig, stumbles on a cave, where she discovers 2 skeletons, strange writing on the wall, and the pattern of a labyrinth. 

800 years earlier, Alais is given a ring and a book for safekeeping.  According to her father, the book contains the secret of the Holy Grail, while the ring will identify a guardian of the Grail.  It takes a tremendous sacrifice on the part of Alais to keep the Grail safe.

I didn’t like it.  I was bored, and had to fight the urge to skim the book.  It alternated between the present time and the past, but it didn’t flow very well for me.  Just when I was getting used to the present day, we’d be jolted back to the 1200’s.  It jumped around to several different people and places, and it was frustrating and annoying to figure who was who and what they were doing.   

I thought the main characters were pretty weak- for a book that’s just over 500 pages, you’d think we’d learn something about the characters and get to know them.  But with such a focus on how they looked, it was hard to care about them or even like them.  All of the women were beautiful, but there was more variance among the men. 

And in the end, the present day just mirrored the past.  I get why Mosse wrote the book the way she did, but it was obvious after a while that there was a connection between past and present.  The Alice/Alais thing gave it away, and while I hoped that it wouldn’t go in that direction, unfortunately, it did. 

It felt like Mosse was telling me what happened, and I didn’t feel like I was there, experiencing what was going on.  There was a lot of description of things I didn’t care about.  Plus, there were times when the characters spoke in French and there was no translation…I know the book takes place in France, but it just didn’t work for me.

I give it a 1 out of 5.  I didn’t care about the mystery of the Grail at all.

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