Book Review: The Labyrinthians (The Labyrinthian Trilogy Book 1) by J.A. Armitage

When Kim's little brother, Elliott, goes missing during their first night in a creepy, new house, Kim and her friend Nate find a secret passage into an underground labyrinth while looking for him. With the door locked behind them, Elliott lost somewhere inside the maze, and the room soundproofed, the two of them have no option but to go forward and solve the puzzle of each room they encounter if they're going to find Elliott and get out alive.

Book Review: The Labyrinthians (The Labyrinthian Trilogy Book 1) by J.A. Armitage | books, reading, book covers, book reviews, action & adventure, horror, suspense, young adult
Title: The Labyrinthians
Book Number: Book 1 of 3
Pages: 279
My Rating: 3.5 Stars
More Info: Goodreads, Amazon


*I received a free ecopy of this book via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.*

This book was pretty different from my normal preference, which is making it difficult for me to rate, but I was in the mood for something with a kind of twisty, adventure-ish, interesting plot, and this one satisfied my craving nicely.

This was a premise and plot-driven book; the focus on the labyrinth and all its crazy rooms and deadly puzzles. And though I normally prefer character-driven novels, the suspense, the mystery, and creepiness of the maze and the things the characters had to do to survive each difficult and sometimes horrifying (well, relatively horrifying, since it was YA) obstacle kept me turning pages until I was done.

But oddly enough, even though the characters weren’t super developed, I feel like they’re the main reason I want to continue the series. They were likeable, especially Kim with her loyalty and sarcasm and the way she had her priorities straight. (For example, when she embarrassed herself in one scene, she just told herself that it she could survive nearly dying in the maze, she could survive some embarrassment, and then she moved on and went back to focusing on finding her brother). Plus, both main characters had a good level of maturity, so I never got annoyed with them as I often do with YA characters. Also, there was at least some development, even if it wasn’t the focus, so I feel like there’s potential there for more in the next books.

Surprisingly, since it wasn’t in the blurb, there was also even a tiny smidge of romance. Not only that, this one didn’t have a love interest who was Mr. Perfect Hottie-Pants McPerfect—he was somewhat attractive but by no means the hottest, most ripped guy in school and was even described as having a little extra weight on him. And the way they looked out for each other, even in a non-romantic way, was sweet.

The only way the book didn’t live up to my expectation was in the genre. I was expecting paranormal/magical type obstacles, but everything was plausible. I mean, it was out-there and not entirely realistic, but it was all things like moving platforms, snow machines, trapdoors—things based on mechanics and technology. But I actually didn’t realize that until after, so it wasn’t a problem.

So this may not have been my usual type of read, but it was an interesting, gripping premise and plot with likeable characters that carried the story well. I enjoyed reading this book and look forward to the next one!


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  1. Ashley G.

    Oh, this sounds really interesting! The labyrinth part makes me think of The Maze Runner, but it sounds a lot different and probably less complicated/confusing. I usually like character driven books better too, but I kind of like the sound of this plot. I might have to give it a try.

    Awesome reivew!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Actually, since it wasn’t so much a normal maze but rather a bunch of interconnecting rooms with puzzles, it made me think of the end of the first HP books when they have to play chess, choose a potion, etc. Or The Westing Game since it was all puzzles and games. It was good though! At least I thought it was lol. Let me know if you read it so I can see what you thought πŸ™‚

  2. Greg

    This sounds like it might be kinda good, I like the whole trapped in a maze thing. Like you I think I would prefer a paranormal element, rather than just mundane traps, but whatever. Since it’s part of a trilogy I imagine there aren’t a lot of answers at the end, but I’m curious why the labyrinth is there and what the point is. May have to give this one a try.

    Nice that the characters have some development, anyway. And Perfect Hottie Pants McPerfect- lol.

    1. Kristen Burns

      I do think you’d like this one since it’s got the mystery/suspense thing and is not romance-heavy. And actually no, it doesn’t leave you with a bunch of unanswered question. It ended in a way that was very clearly like, ok this isn’t over yet and made me suspicious, but you find out right away why the maze is there and you’re not left hanging on a cliffhanger or anything. I think paranormal would’ve been fun, but, had they been paranormal, it might’ve just gotten out of control with randomness and nothing having explanations, you know? It worked how it was since they were still weird and a little bit crazy.

  3. Lola

    This one sounds pretty different and unique with the puzzles and the labyrinth. I can enjoy a good plot driven book and with the mystery and suspense elements this one does sound like a good one. And sounds like Kim definitely has her priorities straight by focusing on her brother and not as much on her embarrassment. And a bit of romance is always a nice touch in a book in my opinion, when done well. I was wondering about that if there was a paranormal or magic aspect or if it was set in the real world, as that didn’t seem obvious. I like both tough as long as the book is well written. I am curious why the Labyrinth is there as that is a bit weird there is a labyrinth under a house. Great review!

    1. Kristen Burns

      I hate when characters have their priorities all wrong, so that definitely made her likeable. And I agree, I was happy there was a touch of romance. As for the paranormal, I figured if I thought it would be paranormal, other people might have the same confusion lol, so it seemed good to mention. But it did end up being enjoyable even though I normally stick to paranormal stuff. They let you know right in the beginning why the labyrinth is there though, so that was another plus, that the author doesn’t try to manipulate by withholding things and forcing mystery where there is none. Thanks!

  4. Annika @ Hiding Books

    This sounds really cool, actually! Not like something I’d usually read either, but I’m really interested now. It sounds so creepy! I’ll definitely be on the lookout for this one! Thanks for bringing it to my attention, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      It’s always nice when reading outside of your norm turns out well! What’s also good is that the next two books are coming out fairly soon too πŸ™‚

  5. Bookworm Brandee

    You know I’m not much of a plot-driven story lover, but I like the sound of this one – especially the characters! *ha* I love the example you shared about Kim and embarrassment…that’s fantastic and a good model for teens to follow. πŸ™‚ I’m glad your foray into something a little twisty and adventurous was a good experience, Kristen!

    1. Kristen Burns

      Haha it is kind of ironic that it was plot-driven yet I’m planning to continue because I liked the characters, so what you said makes perfect sense to me! I didn’t even think of it that way though—she would be a great role model for teens! Thanks πŸ™‚