Sunday, 15 May 2011

Review: Into the Labyrinth, by Margaret Weis and Tracy Hickman

This is the sixth of the seven Death Gate Cycle books, and is very much a book of two halves.

The first half was not as good as I’d hoped it would be. The pace was a little slow, but, unlike earlier books, there was no brand new world to enliven the story with new and interesting distractions. Similarly, in the first half, there was just one new character and she was a little two-dimensional.

Despite the title, it takes about half the book for the Labyrinth to be entered, which is a great shame. The story becomes a lot livelier and more engaging as we finally see the infernal prison that was so often referred to in earlier books. Haplo and Alfred continue to develop as characters, and there’s a substantial surprise waiting for them in the Labyrinth.

Every single world that was explored in the first four novels is visited at least briefly, and we learn some more about the lore of the Sundering. Unfortunately, a lot of the book takes place on Pryan, and rather plods.

Into the Labyrinth is somewhat similar to Hand of Chaos (book 5) in that it’s less focused on exploration of new worlds and more about the devious machinations of Xar and Sang-drax. This works reasonably well, but it’s not in the league of Tyrion Lannister or Sand dan Glokta.

Strangely, despite not being all that fond of the first half of the book, I absolutely devoured it (a habit with the Deathgate books). In fact, I read the whole thing in under 24 hours. There’s just one more in the series for me to read (The Seventh Gate). I’m looking forward to seeing how the series is resolved and the ultimate fate of the protagonists.


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