Owen's Reviews > Labyrinth

Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
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's review
Jul 15, 2012

did not like it
bookshelves: cathars, france, historical-fiction

What started out as a promising story was quickly dispelled for me in a couple of pages. When a writer unsettles the reader in various small unprofessional ways in the opening pages, as Kate Mosse did me at the start of this 700-page tome, he or she should never write a sentence like: "Abruptly she does not want to go on." on page 7 of the text (page 9 of the book). This telling phrase stuck out wildly and I could but agree with the author: "Nope. Neither do I." This book was recommended by Diana Gabaldon, a writer in full command of the wordsmith's trade, and I assume she was trying to be kind. Kate Mosse is very much a beginner in comparison and her book simply has too many errors per page. Why these issues are not picked up at the editing stage is beyond me.

Some highlights: "drinking down great gulps of warm water..."; don't buy it and there is no other info to suggest why this is remotely important. Although she is "not a trained archaeologist, just a volunteer..." she nevertheless "knows her instincts are right..." and, just after a runaway boulder has narrowly missed crushing her (and mysteriously come to a halt "further down the mountain...", in spite of its obvious momentum, rather than careering on dangerously towards the other group of diggers below, as one cannot help thinking might have happened), "She can't believe she made such a basic mistake as not securing the boulder." I mean, come on: she's a volunteer. It's obvious why she could make such mistakes. And if the dig is so dangerous, what is she doing digging alone anyway. In fact, why the hell would a volunteer be left alone on a dig in the first place. Perhaps you can see, by my own rambling, just where such a failure to get details right can lead to: complete lack of trust in the author quickly followed by more or less complete disinterest.

Then, all this business about how the area "is a place of secrets...," and "Hopefully her luck's about to change..." and so on, is too obvious a build-up for something. The text lacks subtlety, with the words getting in each other's way. Yes I'm being picky, but only because I feel I've been robbed! I mean, this was potentially a long read and I was ready to enjoy it. What a shame. Mind you, the writing itself is a step up from Dan Brown's The Da Vinci Code, which hovers aimlessly around the old Cathar histories as well and is genuinely poor writing. Kate Mosse's writing has spark, but unfortunately no ignition.
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