The Labyrinth House | Mark Rollins
Genre(s): Fantasy, Suspense
Published: October 2014 | Luthando Coeur
* I received this book in exchange for an honest review *
Hey fANGIRL Readers,
Here is another review, where my feelings and thoughts are probably going to be a bit conflicted. I was completely intrigued by the concept of the story, so much that I couldn't put the book down. However, the ending left me feeling so disappointed, that I actually lowered my original rating. * Sigh * let's get started.
The Labyrinth House follows our main character Bradley Jensen. He's an architect, who designs buildings for a firm in Seattle Washington. We kick the story off with Bradley and Jessica, as the two are on their honeymoon. The newlyweds decided to spend their vacation visiting the Sequioa National Park in California. Being that Bradley isn't much of an outdoorsy type of individual, I was really surprised when he agreed to go for a hike deep into the woods of the Bear Paw High Sierra Camp.
Question: What do you do when you're newlywed, you're camping, you're young, and you're fun, and your wife is adventurous?
Answer: You play hide & seek in the woods of course!
So we follow the anxious Bradley, as he ventures deeper and deeper into the woods, searching for his playful wife. He can hear her running, cracking branches, crunching leaves, until he no longer hears anything. He then stumbles across something that piques his interest enough for him to further investigate.
" I then turned again and saw a wooden door, which was embedded in the wide trunk of a tree. This door was as straight as any found in any house, and the tree seemed to be made to fit it. The golden metallic doorknob was oval-shaped, and there was a light emanating from the key-hole. "
Wrong move Bradley, wrong move.
This very door led him to what I would call " hell on earth ". He ended up being trapped in some sort of Labyrinth house, that had long maze-like hallways that led to nothing but rooms and dead ends. The door he stumbled upon in the woods can't be opened from inside, leaving him basically imprisoned with three other people. Here is where things get very, very creepy.
Once you enter the house, there is literally no way of getting out. As I stated above, the hallways only lead to dead ends, and other rooms within the house. There are no windows, no clocks, nothing that will indicate whether it's day or night, or even what time it is. But even that isn't what's so strange about this place. When Bradley first entered, he ended up encountering three other "prisoners" in the house, Harvey, Joshua, and Miriam. What was so weird, but intriguing at the same time, was that they're all from different centuries. Harvey stumbled upon the "door embedded in the tree" in Jackson Hole back in 1970, Joshua was a runaway slave in Mississippi when he ran into the door back in 1835, and Miriam was a woman from Massachusetts who fled and found shelter within in the house when she was accused of being a witch in 1678.
Now, Harvey should atleast be well into his 70's or 80's, especially if he entered the home when he was in his 30's or 40's. (Who has time for math anyway lol) Miriam and Joshua should be deceased. I mean that makes Miriam over 300 years old, and Joshua just a little over 100.
How is this even possible ?!!
Well, when you're living in this hell hole, you don't age. If you were to find this door say . . . when you were 25, then you'd be 25 forever. Which if you think about it, isn't such a bad thing. Strange, yes. Bad, no.
Witnessing Bradley as he interacted with these complete strangers was quite enjoyable. His temperament was alot calmer than what I figured it would be, and I loved how he thought things through, as well as handled situations realistically. The story eventually begins to pick up as Brad, (we're giving this guy a nickname) began solving puzzles to make his escape from the Labyrinth. He drew a map of the entire house, solving different puzzles room by room. He eventually makes a discovery that there is actually someone else living on the other end of the house, far from where he and the others reside. This mystery man's name is Robert and there's only one word to describe him . . . batshit crazy. Wait that's two. Sorry lol.
Robert entered the house at the same time as Miriam. He was chasing the young woman, in hopes of capturing her because he believed like everyone else that she was a witch. He tortured her at first, but when realizing that she must not be who he believed, sent her to the second part of the house. After Joshua found his way to the Labyrinth, he was attacked by this madman, which led to Robert being locked on his opposite side of the home.
As you can see, I thought this concept was pretty dope. I haven't read any type of book similar to the idea, especially one that included puzzles, so you could imagine how engrossed in this story I became. I think the biggest down side to The Labyrinth house for me atleast, was the writing. Nothing made any sense! Bradley would solve a puzzle, and you'd think, "That's it, he's going to discover something!" and it would end up being nothing at all. Just when you thought he was making a lead, he'll end up back at square one. I'm not sure if this was intentional, you know to screw with our heads, but it left me extremely frustrated. I also wish that the house itself was better explained. I still have no idea what the Labyrinth House actually is. Is it a prison, created to teach humans a lesson? If so, what lesson? What did these group of individuals do to end up in such of a mind-ef-you-see-kay of a place? You're basically reading some sort of journal that Bradley kept to keep is thoughts together and to keep track of information and things he discovered.
In the beginning of this review, I mentioned that I had to lower my original rating because of the ending. Which is completely true. The concept alone rendered this book a 3.8, but because of the lack of any type of explanation, or reasoning to why this house was built or why situations happened, I bought it down to a 3.5. I then dropped the rating again because the ending had me so angry, that I chucked my poor Nook at my closet door. All of this anticipation to witness Bradley's escape, and nothing happens. Nothing. Nada. Zip. I wanted to cry. I felt Brad's pain because I just knew something was going to come of this. That someone was going to come, maybe some weird Dumbledore looking wizard, and explain this whole shit-show. Nothing. * Sigh *
I will admit that this will work for someone. That a reader would think this was amazing that we didn't receive the ending that we were expecting. I have to admire that not one thing about this story was predictable, but, I'm still reeling over the fact that I want more.
There better be a sequel.