Thanks to NetGalley and Switch Press for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
Synopsis: It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.
Sigh. I truly thought I was going to love this book. After all, the premise is a combination of The Maze Runner and the Greek myth of Icarus, the boy who flew too close to the sun. Unfortunately, I wound up having so many issues, that this ended up being a huge disappointment. The story begins on a high note, with an intriguing dystopian setting and what looks to be some compelling characters. The pace is fast and I was captivated until about the middle of the book. My first problem is that the labyrinth scenes come up too quickly. After the promising introduction to where this society lives, and how the myth of Icarus rules their lives, it’s basically dropped and never brought up again. I wanted to know more about these people and their beliefs, but was frustrated over the lack of detail. The next problem for me is the sixteen-year-old unnamed main character. I realize the author was trying to make her sympathetic by having her crippled by some sort of anxiety disorder, but I think this backfired. For the majority of the book she won’t defend herself, or anyone else, and gets by with other people taking care of her. I kept trying to put myself in her place–having everything she’s ever been taught turn out to be a lie, while being put in this frightening and deadly place, surrounded by strangers. I kept expecting her to have some sort of inner strength that just needed to be tapped into, but this didn’t really happen until the latter portion of the story, and even then, it occurs too quickly to be believable. As far as the other characters are concerned, except for one, who should have been fleshed out more, they’re for the most part absolutely horrible. I would even go so far as to say that they’re every bit as monstrous as the creatures they’re fighting. While I appreciated that they all had distinct personalities that had a major effect on the way the story unfolded, the fact that I detested most of them definitely helped ruin the story for me. And finally, while I accept that this is obviously the first book in a series, I expected some sort of clue as to why this society is sending their children into the labyrinth where they face an almost certain death. The majority of the populace are true believers and fervently buy into the lies they’ve been told, but the guards know the truth and obviously there has to be some Machiavellian figure(s) behind everything. But the author gives away absolutely nothing, and when I came to the last few pages and realized there wasn’t even going to be a hint of why all this was happening, I was left feeling both extremely annoyed and frustrated. While Children of Icarus wound up not being for me, my negative opinion seems to be in the minority, as there are plenty of positive reviews on Goodreads. So, if you’re a fan of Greek mythology and dystopian fiction, please don’t let my feelings prevent you from checking it out.