Jump to ratings and reviews
Rate this book

The Red Labyrinth

Rate this book
The massive labyrinth was built to protect Zadie Kalver's isolated desert town. Unfortunately, living in the maze's shadow makes her feel anything but safe. Even without its enchanted deathtraps and illusions, a mysterious killer named Dex lurks in its corridors, terrorizing anyone in his path.

But when Zadie's best friend vanishes into the labyrinth—and everyone mysteriously forgets he exists—completing the maze becomes her only hope of saving him. In desperation, Zadie bribes the only person who knows the safe path through—Dex—into forming a tenuous alliance.

Navigating a deadly garden, a lethal blood-filled hourglass, and other traps—with an untrustworthy murderer for her guide—Zadie's one wrong step from certain death. But with time running out before her friend (and secret crush) is lost forever, Zadie must reach the exit and find him. If Dex and the labyrinth don't kill her first.

352 pages, Paperback

First published June 4, 2019

Loading interface...
Loading interface...

About the author

Meredith Tate

6 books233 followers
Meredith Tate grew up in Concord, New Hampshire, where she fell in love with her two passions—writing and traveling. She earned her master’s degree in social work from the University of New Hampshire and worked in Boston for several years before deciding to pursue her true dream of telling stories. After spending three wonderful years in St. Louis, Missouri, and three more amazing years in Zurich, Switzerland, Meredith now lives in Houston with her husband and her spoiled rescue dog. When Meredith’s not writing, she loves photography, playing the piano, trying new recipes, and chasing her goal of seeing every continent (five down, two to go!).

Ratings & Reviews

What do you think?
Rate this book

Friends & Following

Create a free account to discover what your friends think of this book!

Community Reviews

5 stars
92 (27%)
4 stars
142 (42%)
3 stars
70 (20%)
2 stars
29 (8%)
1 star
3 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 176 reviews
Profile Image for jv poore.
609 reviews203 followers
April 2, 2022
In Trinnea, the citizens are Skilled or Blank. Enviable abilities set the Skilled apart and allow them to create their own hierarchy. Almost. Pathetic people possessing only the capabilities of mere human beings are Blanks; good for only hard labor and deplorable jobs.

Wonderfully walled to keep out criminals, the banished and Blanks…along with anyone who has insulted The Leader, the population of Trinnea is a proud one. And eerily of one mind. Except Zadie. Having been stripped of pride at a tender young age, she is one of the few Un-Skilled inside the city, and she certainly stands out.

As if her blatant lacking wasn’t enough to elicit sneers and jibes, Landon, the golden-boy of Skills and Trinneans alike, is inexplicably her best friend. Bitter jealously and undeserved anger permeate the air around her. While this leaves much to be desired, Zadie is soon to see how simple and safe this life is.

It is one thing to be among determinedly ignorant individuals that have banded together to support someone that seems to be a self-absorbed blow-hard; but when said crowd syncs into submission under rebels, simple survival is no longer enough for Zadie. She has others to save and, for once in her life, Landon is nowhere to be found.

Communications down, Zadie’s only option is to actually approach The Leader. She will need to outwit dark riddles and terrible tricks while traversing the terror-inducing twists and turns of the Labyrinth that separates The Leader from Trinnea. Worrisome, but the inevitable encounter with Dex, the psychopath who has made the maze his home, is what truly scares her.

Shoving her fear deep down, Zadie enters the Labyrinth. Challenges and lessons learned along the way show her that, even if she makes it out alive, every single part of her life will be drastically different.

I was immersed in Zadie’s quest, admiring her strength, selflessness, intelligence and inherent need to do the right thing. Quite frankly, if there isn’t a follow-up, Ms. Tate has firmly established herself as one of those ornery authors whom I adore, as I gnash my teeth, just a tiny bit.

This review was written by jv poore for Buried Under Books, with huge thanks to North Star Editions for the Advance Review Copy.
Profile Image for Tammie.
216 reviews55 followers
January 9, 2019
A solid 4 stars. The Red Labyrinth, a young adult/fantasy book, centers around main character Zadie. Zadie is a smart and resourceful teen, unfortunately for her, she was born a “Blank” (meaning no powers/unskilled). In the isolated desert town that she lives in, Blanks are treated as the lowest of the low and Zadie has struggled her entire life just to survive. As difficult as Zadie’s life has been, she has a loving mother and her best friend Landon to help her through the difficult times.
However, things change when the townspeople start acting strange and Landon suddenly disappears into The Red Labyrinth, a maze built for protection on the edge of town-where you’ll either end up dead or go crazy from being inside it. Zadie enters the maze in hopes of finding Landon and saving the town.
The Red Labyrinth was an enjoyable and entertaining book. I’d highly recommend this to fans of YA and fantasy books. Thank you NetGalley for providing me a copy in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Schizanthus Nerd.
1,137 reviews235 followers
June 1, 2019
I am brave. I am strong. And I am not afraid.
I always love the opportunity to cheer for an underdog. Zadie lives in Trinnea and is a Blank in a society dominated by people with Skills. Zadie’s family had to pay for her be allowed to live within the walls of Trinnea but she will never be considered equal to the Skilled, whose abilities range from super-hearing to telekinesis and levitation.
Blanks are considered abominations - genetic mistakes.
Traumatised by years of childhood slavery and abuse, and continually tormented and bullied by the Skilled, Zadie lives her life in fear. She’s loved her best friend and protector, Landon, for years, but then he disappears into the labyrinth and Zadie is the only person who can remember him.
No one who enters the maze comes out the same.
Zadie is determined to save her best friend but to do this she’ll need to team up with the Dex, the Devil of Trinnea, and find a way through the maze of the labyrinth. Zadie doesn’t know which will kill her first.

I loved facing the dangers of the maze with Zadie and Dex, never knowing what challenge it would send their way next. Zadie’s tenacity despite her fear endeared her to me and her responses to trauma felt authentic. Throughout the book I kept thinking that Zadie had PTSD and although this is never stated, learning the author has a master’s degree in social work has only strengthened this belief. Regardless, Zadie’s determination inspired me.

My favourite character was Dex. His complexity made me want to keep digging beneath the surface to find out more about his history, motivations and character. He did not let me down.

I was engaged and entertained for the duration and enjoyed getting to know the main characters and their backgrounds. I didn’t have any problems navigating the transitions between the past and present, and felt the flashbacks added necessary background and context to the narrative.

I was disappointed by one of Zadie’s decisions near the end of the book, even though I understood the reasons behind it. Her initial damsel in distress mode, where she had a practically pathological need to be saved by a man, made me cringe. I also found the sand guardian annoying at times. Overall though, these were only fairly minor quibbles in a book that pleasantly surprised me.

I was torn between satisfied and frustrated by the way this book ended. While some answers are given, more questions do arise and there are plenty of loose ends, so a sequel feels inevitable. If there’d been a definite resolution for Dex then I probably would have been happy with a standalone. There’s definitely scope for a lot more to happen with Dex and Zadie, and there’s plenty more in this world to discover. I’ll be there for the sequel.

Thank you so much to NetGalley and Flux, an imprint of North Star Editions, for the opportunity to read this book and discover a new (to me) author. I am rounding up from 4.5 stars.
Profile Image for Max.
734 reviews17 followers
June 11, 2019
I love this book, I couldn't stop reading! It's a YA Fantasy adventure and while the idea is not new, I think the author gave a fresh spin to the maze story. Without spoiling too much, the main character is a girl who discovers her strengths after entering a maze that nobody dares to enter. Her world is turned upside down when she finds someone she didn't expect at the end..

The characters are good and realistic. You can really relate to them. I started rooting for the maze Devil Dex right away so I really hope there will be a sequel so I can read more about him! Some pieces were a little confusing for me, in some chapters there was a flashback but I didn't really get that until I was halfway through the flashback. It's not too troublesome, though. I got used to it.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for the ARC! These are my honest opinions!
Profile Image for Leanne.
270 reviews54 followers
December 18, 2018
3.5 stars

Thank you NetGalley and the publisher for the ARC!

This was a fast-paced story which I cleared in one night! I really enjoyed the plot — the isolated setting, the oppressive society, and of course the mystery of the labyrinth, which was resolved in a creative way that I did not expect, but really liked. I found Zadie, the main character, to be likeable and admirable for her bravery and determination. I also became quite fond of Dex, and I like how we got to find out more about his past. Zadie's sister, Chantry, was also quite a well developed character, and I hope we get to see more of her, if this becomes a series — which I'm assuming it will, given how this book ended.

However, this book had its flaws. For me, the biggest issue was with the writing. I'm not sure exactly how to describe it, but I personally thought that the writing felt slightly choppy and abrupt; at times, there was too much dialogue, and the author could have perhaps slowed the pace so that we could fully appreciate the significance of certain moments. The plot was certainly interesting and very intriguing, but I think there also needed to be times where both Zadie and readers could be given time to reflect on what had happened, especially during what should have been emotional moments.

Overall, I enjoyed this book and would recommend it to fellow YA fantasy fans; I honestly wasn't sure whether to give it a 3 or 4 star rating. It was never at any point boring, and I look forward to reading a possible sequel.
Profile Image for Silvia F..
107 reviews17 followers
April 1, 2019
A death-trap filled Labyrinth stands in the way of you, everyone you love and your entire town's salvation. Logically what do you do? Run in and hope that you come out of it alive... I guess.

Gah. I am so torn about how I feel about this book. I think a 3.5 stars is what I'm thinking right now. Reason why I don't feel like its 4 stars? It was sooo slow to start and it was hard get into it at first. I really had to force myself to keep reading it because there was literally no connection to the characters until about half way through the book.
Zadie is pretty cool- other than she doubts herself for 99% of the book(which can get kind of frustrating). You can do it Zzzzssaaaiiidddeeeee!!
Landon of course is always the hero saving his damsel in distress best friend from terrible things all the time. - cliché.
Dex is a disturbed murderous evil monster... he was by far my favourite character in the book- know why??? Read it and you'll find out! (He is the reason why I finished the book).

Overall though, the book was pretty good. The story has some serious potential to be a GREAT book. Once you get past the half way point it becomes a good book, full of twists and turns that are intriguing and make you keep reading. There's also quite a few unanswered questions throughout the book that keep you glued to the pages. If the characters had been more intruguing at the beginning and the story didn't drag on for the first part of the book, it would have definitely been a 4 stars.


ARC received in exchange for an honest review.
Profile Image for Glen.
148 reviews87 followers
February 22, 2019
Who is Dex? And the secret of the Labyrinth?

The town Zadie lives in has very little love for her. She was born a Blank, a person who has no Skills. The laws in Trinnean requires that Blanks be exiled to the wastelands, and to survive most sign their life away to work in the Bunks, to receive food, a place to stay, and back breaking work. The Bunk is where she meets Landon, who becomes her closest friend. Somehow her ma pays the fee for reentry into Trinnean.

Trinnean is surrounded by desert and the only way out seems to be to the home of The Great Leader, protected by the Red Labyrinth. And the labyrinth is haunted by Dex.

I love this book! There is so many different things to touch upon, that this review can go into many of the rich details. This story is well crafted with a plot that hooks you from the beginning and a great twist in the ending. Meredith Tate is now on my favorite author list and this is my new favorite book!

I did receive an ARC in exchange for a review.
Profile Image for Cassie.
338 reviews65 followers
May 13, 2019
Thanks to Netgalley for providing me with a digital ARC in exchange for an honest review!

I was intrigued with this story because of the maze and the mysterious and dangerous character named Dex. However, at the end of it, I feel like this was somewhat forgettable. And for my Dystopian loving heart, it hurts a bit to say that.

This world reminds me of The Hunger Games mixed with HP and the Goblet of Fire because of there being a maze with obstacles. Trinnea was very corrupt and the maze was creepy. Hence the HG and HP vibes.

The writing wasn’t bad, it was just average to me. Zadie got on my nerves a lot, she didn’t listen to Dex much and it got annoying for me to read. Speaking of Dex, he was very much my favorite character in the book. If I happen to continue with the sequel, it’ll be for him. My heart bleeds for him and I felt for him the entire time. I was curious about him in the beginning but I fell in love with him in the end. I want to see how his story continues.

I appreciate what the author did at the end of the story because it’ll set up for an intriguing sequel.

Overall, I still do recommend this book! Especially if you’re looking for a fun and mysterious Dystopian story.

Set to publish on June 4th, 2019.
Profile Image for Jenna Bookish.
181 reviews96 followers
May 24, 2019
My thanks to NetGalley and Flux for sending me an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own and are not influenced by the publisher.

“People are more than the worst things they’ve ever done.”

Oh, gosh, this book had so much potential. There’s something so terribly frustrating about a fantasy novel with an interesting concept but paper-thin world-building. The world Zadie inhabits is intriguing, but seriously lacking in development. Zadie lives in a small town surrounded by a massive and ominous labyrinth. The town’s Leader lives in a remote mansion inside the labyrinth, seriously isolated from the people he’s meant to be leading and protecting, which doesn’t seem ominous at all to anyone, for some reason. Also, there’s Absolutely Nothing beyond the labyrinth beyond a total wasteland (according to Dear Leader), and no one really questions this much, either.

I’m not necessarily opposed to stories about brainwashed populations revering an undeserving leader; certainly this can be portrayed convincingly… but the dynamic here feels very odd. The Leader’s characterization of the outside world is accepted at face value despite the dismal conditions in Trinnea, but it doesn’t seem like there’s a cult-like level of devotion to the Leader which would make sense of this wholesale acceptance. Particularly among the “blanks” like Zadie, who are treated as second class citizens in every possible regard, one would expect more skepticism and resentment than is really seen in the story.

And, goodness, the character arcs. The two major male characters have painfully predictable developments from start to finish. (Minor spoilers ahead, I guess, but really it’s painfully obvious very early on that this is how things will develop.) Zadie has a huge crush on her best friend, Landon, and it’s obvious to everyone except the two of them that the feeling is mutual. (This is the friend the blurb mentions disappearing into the labyrinth.) Zadie has to rely on Dex, a ruthless killer and “devil of Trinnea,” to lead her to the center of the labyrinth if she has any hope of helping Landon.

Dex, of course, turns out to be a bad boy with a heart of gold who obviously just needed Zadie to bring out the good in him. (Ugh.) This leaves Landon on the outs, and since the good guy always has to get the girl, it turns out that Landon was a secret villain all along. Because of course he was.

The whole concept of the journey through the labyrinth was fun, but I wanted more from it. The trials felt a bit underwhelming and it always felt like the stakes could be a lot higher than they were. In one stage of the labyrinth, for example, Zadie has to give up her most treasured memory in order to get through. This could have been such a poignant moment were it not for the fact that Zadie feels rather under-developed as a protagonist.

Finally, the ending feels very rushed and abrupt, and the main focus there is clearly trying to set up a sequel. Unfortunately, given the lackluster opening of this story, I don’t think I’ll be able to stick around long enough to get a real conclusion.

You can read all of my reviews on my blog, Jenna Bookish!
Facebook | Instagram | Tumblr
Profile Image for Debbie Gascoyne.
577 reviews22 followers
January 7, 2019
I was given an ARC of this book by NetGalley and the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

Sadly, this is just not very good. It is cliched, poorly written and with world building that just doesn't make any sense at all. I think that's its worst failing: it's trying to be too many things and ends up just being a mess. Also, the main character behaves so stupidly so many times that you want to clonk her on the head. AND it's in the present tense. And the pov character bursts into long interior monologues while she's being strangled by sentient plants. I kid you not.
Profile Image for Queen Cronut.
183 reviews36 followers
March 15, 2019
At first glance, this book sounds similar to The Maze Runner (which I was not very fond of) but Red Labyrinth is much more and exceeded all of my expectations.

Trinnea, a town surrounded by a mysterious and magical labyrinth in which the Skilled (people with extraordinary powers) are elites while Blanks (people with no extraordinary powers) are oppressed and isolated to the outskirts of society. Meanwhile, the menacing and elusive Dex haunts the labyrinth keeping Trinnea's citizens from leaving.

I was hooked from the first few pages. Meredith Tate does an excellent job developing this post-apocalyptic world and weaving it into the plot without info-dumping everything. I enjoyed the fast-paced plot and the intrigue of the character's backgrounds- it kept me engaged in the story.

I liked that Zadie was an ordinary girl. She's a Blank in a society full of Skilled and combined with her abusive past, she doesn't have much self-worth or confidence. But by no means is she a weak character- she's determined and is trying to do her best with the skills she does have.

I also really liked Chantry and hope for some more character development from her. She came across as a compelling character especially with her complicated relationship with her sister, Zadie and I can't wait to read more about her.

Dex and Landon... even though they are part of a love triangle I liked how they enhanced Zadie rather than taking away from her character. Their clashing perspectives and motives were interesting and I liked that there was no "right" answer to the overarching conflict.

I didn't really like the ending though. The plot is building up to this major climax but it felt so rushed that it feels as if the climax is cut short. I did like the plot twist- didn't see it coming but I didn't like that the "villain" just info-dumped his evil scheme (I wanted it to be more of a suspenseful discovery and not the villain revealing everything).

Overall, this book was way better than I expected it to be. Cannot wait for the sequel because I need a resolution after that abrupt cliffhanger ending.

*Thank you to NetGalley and its publishers for providing a free ARC*
January 25, 2019
I did enjoy this but I found it quite slow to start, some of the characters weren’t padded out enough and you couldn’t connect because of it. Once I was halfway through I did enjoy it more and it picked up pace. I loved Zadie and the fact she is ordinary, no skills, no super strength etc. A good read but could be better.

Thanks to netgalley and the publisher for a free copy for an honest opinion
Profile Image for Lauren Stoolfire.
3,474 reviews259 followers
May 31, 2019
I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate has so much potential. I loved the sound of the premise, but the actual execution just didn't quite cut it for me. Primarily, the world-building was lacking. There's so much more we should have known. As for the characters, they seemed pretty predictable and our lead didn't make the brightest decisions to top it off. Thanks anyway, NetGalley.

Profile Image for Melissa Overby.
142 reviews3 followers
October 4, 2019
Sequel sequel I NEED A SEQUEL! I was expecting this to be good, but not THAT good. Anyone know when /if a sequel is coming out anytime soon? Comment on this review!
Profile Image for Autumn.
908 reviews10 followers
June 4, 2019
Zadie Kalver is used to being an outcast. She’s a “Blank” in a world full of those who are “Skilled.” From a very early age, she’s forced to toil in the mines outside the walls of Trinnea until her mother sacrifices everything to buy her freedom. But all along, she dreams of the boy that always looked at her as if she really mattered.

Landon Everhart is a hero. Known as “Limitless Landon” for his ability to endlessly gather new skills, he’s the one person that Zadie would lay down her life for. So when he’s unexpectedly dragged into the midst of the Labyrinth, she’s determined to save him or do exactly that.

The silence makes me uncomfortable. With every passing second I’m more likely to blurt out something I can’t take back.
I know what I want to say. I’ve rehearsed it a million times in my head. Hey, Landon, I know you’re the hero of Trinnea, and most of the girls and probably some of the guys would do anything to be with you, and I know you could have your pick, and I know I’m a Blank and you’re you, but you’ve always been here for me, and I think I’m in love with you.

Zadie has come face to face with Dex more than once. “The Devil of Trinnea” is said to lure citizens into Labyrinth to steal their minds – or even worse. But she soon discovers that Dex is not the horror that he’s rumored to be. He too is trying to navigate the labyrinth to save someone. And the closer that they get to finding all of the answers, the more diabolical the questions become.

Up is down and black is white. The world as they know it is about to change – forever.

Maybe we’re all a little broken. We’re all a little bit selfish and evil and good and dark and light.

The Red Labyrinth is a fast-paced odyssey into a realm where nothing is as it seems. Meredith Tate once again taps into her world building savvy to create a landscape that is both bleak and imaginative. Her characters are daring – regardless of their secret motives – (I might have a thing for Dex!) and the story has more twists and turns than a wild carnival ride.

It’s everything that’s smart in YA fantasy. And I can’t wait to see where the labyrinth will lead from here…
Profile Image for explorerofbooks.
198 reviews51 followers
February 11, 2020
The Red Labyrinth sets a unique twist of the labyrinth aspect in literature. The reader might recognize aspects from The Maze Runner or The Darkest Minds, but overall, it was a fresh take that constantly tackled expectations and raised new theories to keep it riveting.

For years, a gigantic labyrinth has protected Zadie’s village. Trinnea accommodates the last hope for humanity. Yet, with its dangerous mind tricks and sneaky traps, she feels anything but safe. When her village is forced into submission by a strange troop, no one seems to remember Landon, except for Zadie. To find him and get help from the palace, she’ll have to be the rescuing hero now. She’ll have to master the labyrinth, with the flagrant killer Dex as her guide. The maze’s monster and its lurking manipulative obstacles constantly remind her of the drowning time, for her, and Landon. Death is lurking closer than ever, and one wrong step can mean a fatal end.

The strict, corrupt village of Trinnea strongly resembles the districts of The Hunger Games. Citizens are heavily controlled by a high-tech technology system, and monogamy doesn’t exist anymore. Tate created a sci-fi dystopian world that is dominated by powers as telekinesis and levitation, used by the Skilled. After numerous plagues and droughts, only those people remained, and therefore, their Leader has contained them behind a massive wall. Outside of the wall lie the Wastes, where the Blanks live. Those people don’t deserve resources. As genetic mistakes, they are only a threat to the perfect humanity the Leader is striving for. All they’re good for is disgraceful labor work and entertainment. Tate chose one of those Blanks as a main character, to illustrate the temptation of power and never being satisfied enough. Unfortunately, the power system turned out to be rather vague. It was never clear how those abilities came to be, or how many varieties there existed. The same goes for the complexity of the world. While I felt like we got loads of information, it also seemed like some parts went fleeted over, or ended up unexplained. The concept surely had potential, but required more details that should have been communicated in another way.

While comical, all of the characters were pretty predictable. Their conclusive choices were painfully clear from the beginning, and as someone who prefers character-driven tales, this was highly off-putting.
Zadie is a Blank who bought her way into the city, and is ultimately resented for it by the others. In a society where social class is based on competences, she is completely powerless. She can never defend herself and hasn’t learned how. She longs for freedom and justice. People are always forced to save her, and while she hates it, she has grown used to it. It has turned her into a selfish coward who likes to choose the easy way out, something her sister always likes to remind her off. Even though this is what made her different from the nowadays ‘strong heroine” trope, it also made her an unlikeable heroine, combined with her naïve tendencies. It did get interesting when she revealed her internal doubt came from PTSD, but the action scenes still looked rather dull.
Landon is Trinnea’s hero, someone whose abilities are without limits. He was always ready to protect his people from the labyrinth, answering the praise with a humble nod. He also seems to be the only inhabitant that desires equality for the Blanks, which is how Zadie’s feelings for him started. Dex is a monster of the shadows, with mysterious Skills that no one has ever been able to pass on. His victims either die by his own doing, or end up insane in the asylum. But his double agenda might not be so bad after all. Zadie will finally get the answers to his hidden secrets. He was a rather intriguing, resourceful character that made me curious to read more, and I never expected the information that got revealed about him. His role really showed how thin the line between motivations can be.

While the last 70 pages definitely kept me on my toes, I wasn’t as surprised as I should have been with the outcome. It wasn’t an awful plot, but for sure forgettable for my part. The pacing could change from either abrupt to too slow. This was obvious in the writing, when important parts of the dialogue were deemed insignificant. The first 100 pages were torturing, and I predicted her to go into the maze much earlier instead of bursting out more information. The romantic relationships didn’t really have a deep foundation either, compared to the engaging family dynamics. My favorite chapters included the maze, with its foul tricks that demanded wits and sacrifice. It even seemed like some of the ruses were based on Greek mythology. For 3.5 stars, it was a well-enough read, with a mystifying cover.
Profile Image for JM.
203 reviews8 followers
September 4, 2019
This book was a disappointment for me. While I did enjoy the adventure aspect that took place inside the Labyrinth, the main character got too whiny and troublesome for me as it progressed on. I also felt that there are still so many aspects of the book that felt lacking. The book is quite predictable and cliche. I'm not sure if this book will have a sequel, but the way the ending was written, it seems like it's going to have one; and it'll be like every other dystopian novels released; heroine trying to save her 'world' or 'city' from a new kind of trouble or 'dictator'.

This book also reminded me of every dystopian book written about overthrowing an unfair system, combined with The Darkest Minds (Skilled and Unskilled people), and a villainous Goblet of Fire vibes (the Labyrinth).

The world building in this book (aside from the Labyrinth) felt empty, and like what I mentioned, predictable and cliche. Aspects like a world outside their known world exists, and to be honest, it's a bit dumb to believe that a 'world' would be a small city... I mean where does your food come from if you live in a dessert? Hell, where does water come from? All those things aren't even explained... Honestly, the story tried to put in too many aspects into the world that it ended up being a directionless mess.

As for the characters, most of the citizens of Trinnea, are demeaning and cruel from the start until the end; as predicted, they demean and hate Blanks, though it is without any explanation.

The main character, Zadie is a hypocrite damsel in distress- from the first chapter up to the last. She has no skill/power, but she demeans people with two skills, calling theirs a useless skill, she also wishes to take revenge on most them. She says she loves her mother, but through all her times with her she's just been a disrespectful and whiny daughter. She judges and vindicates a lot of people without proper knowledge. Most of her actions call upon trouble, and she expects someone to save her or take pity on her when trouble comes.

The supposed villain isn't a villain, but could've been a better main character with a better story background. Heck, we didn't even get a real name aside from the nickname, Dex; and he was the most intriguing part of the book, mind you.

The real villain is someone readers would be able to call upon early on.

Lastly, 80% of the book is about the Labyrinth. The half baked answers to some of the questions and mysteries are thrown right at the end of the book, without proper explanation or background. There is a SPECK of character growth on the main character and an admirable one on the supposed villain. And... The magic system of the world and the world itself is very confusing.
Profile Image for Tina.
Author 1 book13 followers
May 4, 2019
Thanks to NetGalley and the publisher/author for the ARC.

4.5 stars. I really, really, REALLY like this book. Zadie is our required super special, save the world MC, but with a twist: she's not special at all. She has PTSD, no special powers, and is pretty much despised by everyone except her best friend and her mother. I did question her judgement, on occasion, but for the most part she did/thought/said what someone who is ridiculously insecure (due to past and current abuse) would.

The Labyrinth has been there all her life, and for the life of even the oldest living Trinnean. The Labyrinth is dangerous. The Labyrinth is home to the Devil of Trinnea, an evil monster that kidnaps/destroys Blanks (the unskilled) and Skilled if they happen to wander too close the opening. Nobody can survive in there, and if they do come out alive...it might be worse than death. Who knows what goes on in the minds of those with the Labyrinth Stare? Only Zadie's best friend, Limitless Landon (so called because there seems to be no limit to the number of skills he has) can survive long enough to sometimes save those unfortunate enough to enter the Labyrinth.

After Zadie wakes up one day and nobody remembers Landon, and everyone is suddenly nice to her, she decides she will have to brave the Labyrinth, and the Devil, to save her best friend and her town. There are some similarities between this and other dystopian books (which I won't mention due to spoilers), and there are quite a few things that stand on their own. I absolutely love that the MC is a heroine with no real powers, except the drive to face her fears and not be a damsel in distress the rest of her life. I cannot wait for the next one. Getting an ARC is a blessing and a curse, lol. I've gotten to read this amazing book before most others, but now I have to wait even longer for the sequel.
Profile Image for Teri.
Author 5 books143 followers
May 10, 2019
This book description reminded me of The Maze Runner, a novel I fell head over heels for and kept me guessing, and the cover really grabbed me.

The world-building is creative, detailed, and pulled me in almost immediately.  The Skilled, the Blanks, and the labyrinth housing the monster, Dex, and separating the town folk from the Creator held me spellbound.  The author does a magnificent job explaining Zadie's world without an info dump.  Zadie is also very likable, and has survived tragic circumstances in her past.  I cringed more than once when reading about her interactions with the Warden.  Landon is the stereotypical hero, and plays the role of rescuer and town hero very well.  But by far, Dex is the most compelling, and multi-layered character.  Honestly, if the author wrote a spin-off focusing on Dex's backstory, I'd snatch it up immediately.  The story is well-paced, and the obstacles Zadie and Dex face in the labyrinth are dangerous, challenging, and, at times, heart-breaking.

Everything was going smoothly - awesome world-building, life and death circumstances, intense action - until it became very obvious that one character isn't what the reader is led to believe.  That's nothing new - it goes along with good storytelling.  But the revelation is meant to be a twist towards the end, and some things just didn't ring true for me with this character early in the story.  In scanning other reviewer comments, it didn't seem to come as a shock to them, either.

If you're looking for an original YA dystopian/fantasy, The Red Labyrinth fits the bill nicely.  Although the ending includes a cliffhanger, it wraps rather suddenly, and I'll definitely be adding the next book to my TBR.  

I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.
Profile Image for Haley Renee The Caffeinated Reader.
699 reviews57 followers
July 1, 2019
The Labyrinth rests on territory that is still infused with magic and not even the residents of Zadie’s town who all have amazing skills, except for Zadie and the others known as ‘Blanks,’ stand a chance. But more than that, in the labyrinth lives Dex, the monster that everyone knows of, he kidnaps people into the labyrinth and when they come back, they’re never the same.

So why does Zadie as a blank venture forth? Her best friend (and secret crush, as stated) is missing and she dares to brave the maze to get him back and help her family because something isn’t quite right, the Skilled aren’t acting normal and communication to their leader has been cut off.

Tate gives us a story where the one without the skills is rare, and weak. There’s no doubt that Zadie knows she’s no match for a person with skills, whether it’s just one skill or more. But this is kind of a nice approach, she’s not special in the sense that she’s overpowered, but in that she isn’t. So her strength will have to come from somewhere else and it will have to show up along the way or she’ll never survive the maze.

**I received this book from the Publishers via Netgalley in exchange for my honest review.**
Profile Image for Julie.
Author 8 books389 followers
December 28, 2018
I was feeling under the weather when Flux approved my request for an e-ARC of The Red Labyrinth by Meredith Tate. And it was so perfect: I curled up under my covers and let the dystopian world of The Red Labyrinth help me escape. I'd read the first few chapters of it a while back, so I was READY to pick up where I left off.
Without spoilers... It was aMAZEing!
My absolute favorite scene was the chair scene. It was such an enthralling way to learn about the main character and have fun. Pick it up when it comes out on June 4, 2019 and you'll see what I mean!!

Thank you to Flux for the ARC!
Profile Image for Rachel.
1,406 reviews146 followers
October 7, 2019
*thank you to Netgalley, Meredith Tate and North Star Editions for a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review*

2.5 stars rounded up to 3 stars.

While I didn't love this, it was an alright read. I love YA SciFi stories so I thought this was just right for me. I also really like the cover and with the synopsis, it sounded so good. Unfortunately my interest in it lacked a little. It wasn't quite what I was expecting but, yeah it wasn't bad. I wouldn't recommend it but I would suggest you give it a go for yourself if it sounds like something you would enjoy. Hopefully others like this more than I did.
Profile Image for Tasha Leigh.
570 reviews9 followers
August 10, 2019
Let me start by saying I really love the premise of this novel. It feels a little Maze Runner, a little Wizard of Oz with a big handful of Labyrinth Lost thrown in. Early on we meet the protagonist Zadie, a Blank who has been condemned by polite society for her complete lack of Skills - In a community that reveres those with more skills, those without are treated as less and I have to say within Red Labyrinth, the prejudice is real. She is downtrodden and belittled and honestly I feel like she should have had some fight in her other than when she has to go on her quest. But she didn’t and that’s all I’m going to say about Zadie.

We also meet Landon who is Zadie’s best friend and an absolute charmer. They met when they were both in care at a young age and have been practically inseparable. He is fondly know by everyone around town as ‘Limitless Landon’ and as per his name, the number of Skills he possesses is limitless – the stopped counting at fourteen. Basically he is the heartthrob of the piece and you know his type.

Together they are kind of cute in the way that your childhood best friend is cute but you would never actually ship yourselves together because that’s gross. Or is it? Anyway Landon is super protective of his unskilled little friend and is all happiness and smiles while his best friend gets trampled all over by everyone because she is basically trash. But then he disappears and finally we have a story as her trek begins to save his in the big bad maze… Which she doesn’t enter until around 1/3 of the way through – it sits and stares at the residents of the city tempting them to enter if they dare but no one actually does except for the big baddie, Dex.

I freaking loved Dex. I wish this whole novel had been about him. He is cold and prickly and determined to let no one get in the way of him finding a Blank of his own. Also he turns into a giant black cloud and travels wherever he wants because air can get in anywhere. He’s the Big Baddie but also not and I wasn’t sure whether I wanted to squeeze him and tell him it would all be ok or pledge my sword because the people in the town are kind of terrible.

Everyone else involved in the narrative is honestly kind of forgettable except for a random chick named Nadine who has been afflicted with the blank stare of those who have entered the labyrinth. But I’ll stop there because saying much else about her is spoilers.

Now the storyline is kind of enjoyable but thoroughly predictable. I found myself comparing it to a grey-ish coloured version of Labyrinth Lost (which I absolutely love and endeavour to read once a year). Zadie is tested by various manners of beast inside the labyrinth and its actually kind of like if Labyrinth started Molly Ringwald and Ben Affleck instead of Jennifer Connelly and David Bowie – they could do the job but its just no damn fun.
I read this super quickly, clocking in at 2 hours and 5 minutes for its 352 pages because it was very superficial. Nothing seemed to have real consequence or pulled the heart strings (except for the chick who died and I flailed because her brother was broken). I’m sure there will be people out there who sing the glory of this novel but I’m fairly sure they probably don’t read much outside of The Bible and the Oxford Dictionary.

I also feel like I need to mention the ending. The ending that is like if Harry was being chased by the maze in Goblet of Fire and Cedric was about to help but then Rowling just stopped it there. Or if Sauron had gathered his army and the Hobbits were in a field having elevensies in a field and then Tolkien just left it there. It ends on such an epic cliffhanger that I wondered where the hell the rest of the novel was. This is not a regular cliffhanger either, this is a ABSOLUTELY NO THREADS ARE TIED UP WHATSOEVER type cliffhanger. I understand she may have another instalment in the works but don’t just chop a book in half and be all ‘meh. Maybe it will get published’.

So it pretty much comes down to this. Red Labyrinth is an easy and superficial read with elements similar to so many other stories, it will feel like home. The Big Baddie is the best character because he actually HAS character, Zadie and Landon – not so much. The ending was predictable (I told a friend who I thought the villain was less than ¼ of the way in. It’s both a gift and a curse) but not actually an ending whatsoever. It has its ups and downs and while not a complete train wreck, it is also not an epic fantasy. Its that middle ground which is so middling that one can only feel meh.
Profile Image for Alyson Kent.
Author 5 books28 followers
February 3, 2019
Thank you, Netgalley, for the ARC.

Really fast read with some interesting twists near the end. Was a little annoyed that there wasn’t much character growth from Zadie until nearer the end of the novel, but if there’s a sequel (please tell me there’s going to be a sequel, because that ending, I just can’t) then I’m looking forward to seeing her build on what was started here.
Profile Image for Keri.
113 reviews23 followers
April 26, 2019
Zadie is a Blank living in a world made only for Skilled. Blanks have no special abilities. The Skilled, however, are born with abilities. Sometimes more than one. Zadie was taken away from her mother at only six years old and sent to the wastes to work for her place. She signed a contract with the Warden to work in exchange for meals and shelter.
Years later, her mother, sister, and best friend had saved up enough money to buy her way into the city. Zadie has a special ID card that lets her into the city of Trinnea but she still doesn't feel she belongs. The skilled torture the Blanks. Luckily, Landon, Zadie's best friend and the most skilled boy in the city, comes to her aid when trouble presents itself. Until one day, Landon disappears into the labyrinth and the townsfolk forget he ever existed.
Zadie's only option is to go into the labyrinth, find her best friend, and find the Great Leader who lives in a palace on the other side of the Labyrinth. She hopes the Great Leader will see reason and make changes to Trinnea for the greater good. But an evil lurks within the labyrinth. It's full of traps and inhabited by the legendary Dex who steals Blanks into the labyrinth. Sometimes they never come back but when they do wander back to town, they're not the same. But Dex is the only one who knows the labyrinth, so Zadie must make an alliance with the murderous monster to save her family, her best friend, and all of Trinnea.

This book was SO GOOD. Seriously. I couldn't put it down. And when I did put it down, all I thought about was picking it back up for wanting to know what was going to happen.

Now, full disclosure, Labyrinth starring David Bowie and Jennifer Connelly is my favorite movie. Of all time. Ever. So I discussed with my best friend the possibility that this book was only amazing to me because I was imagining THAT world. Once you get into the labyrinth part of the story, there are "dangers untold and hardships unnumbered"... BUT... they're different. AND THEY ARE SO GOOD. Oh my goodness. I don't want to give any of the obstacles away but they're so clever and so dangerous and so... elaborate.

As for the characters, I was kind of annoyed with Zadie at first as she was so helpless allll the timeeee. Someone would start picking on her and she would mentally wish for Landon to swoop in and save her. But I soon learned there was a reason we were taken through that part of her character. She had to grow. She had to learn. Being a Blank scum who was considered worthless around her town was all she knew and it came to be how she saw herself. I love where the author took her character and I enjoyed her journey up to that point.

I've been known to love the dark characters in books and this book was no exception, Dex was my favorite. The mystery and the way he does what he has to do no matter the cost... Maybe he's evil but I LIKE IT. 😈 Let's just go ahead and add him to my fictional boyfriend list.

This is a YA novel... BUT, that didn't stop the author from making some brutal decisions throughout the story. I loved that aspect. Given the situation of the book and the setting, there's no room for romanticized words or actions and the author sure doesn't try to force them in. We get some pretty heart wrenching scenes in this book. The author really doesn't show any mercy. For ANY character. So, prepare yourself for that. I wasn't ready.

This was honestly such a good book but I NEED THE SECOND ONE. There's going to be a second one... right? Meredith???

Profile Image for Shay.
387 reviews15 followers
February 5, 2019
I want to thank Netgalley and Flux for letting me read an advanced copy of this novel.

So, I joined Netgalley to read and review lesser known titles. I can pick these titles based off the synopsis and not pressure from other readers. I don't feel guilty if I'm not reading the most popular book in other words.

I have never read anything by Meredith Tate. This is a dystopian fantasy novel set in a world where humans have died out. There is this small isolated town that is left called Trinnea. The world has been laid to waste and is nothing but desert. This town that has survived is comprised of mostly people that have abilities (levitate, good eyesight, good hearing, strength, etc.). The thinking behind this is that these people survived because of their abilities and that humans are inferior beings. The individuals that have abilities are called "Skilled." There are people that are born with no abilities in this society. These people are called "Blanks". Blanks are treated terribly. Most of them are cast out into society to fend for themselves. Some of them are used as slave labor. As a blank, you can buy your way back into Trinnea, but it costs a lot of money and most people cannot afford this.

Zadie, our main character, is a Blank. She spent years in slave labor and finally her family has been able to afford for her to come back into Trinnea. Because she's a Blank, she is still looked down on. Her best friend is Landon. Landon is known as Limitless Landon because he has infinite abilities. Skilled are classified by how many abilities they have. She has been friends with Landon since they were very young, and Landon is the only person who doesn't look down on her and treat her like she is nothing. One day, Landon goes missing.

There is a labyrinth. It separates the people from the leader's housing/mansion. This maze was built as the leader's defense so that nobody would be able to cross into his domain. This maze is occupied by several bad things, but one of those things is Dex. He is known as a ruthless killer. He comes and grabs people from the town, pulls them into the maze, and wipes their brains. He does not discriminate, he takes blanks or skilled. Zadie is sure he has taken Landon, and she must save him.

So, this book sounded AWESOME. The whole thing intrigued me. So, this book was very fast paced. This was a good thing at some points and a bad thing in others. It was slow when describing the world, etc. Then when it got interesting, it got so fast you couldn't even process what had happened before it zipped us into something else. Because of this, Zadie's feelings did not come across well, especially when she is faced with death. It was like "oh great, I am staring death in the face. No biggie. I got this." It didn't capture her fear well at all. It was almost was like it was just another day in the neighborhood.

Also, there were several discrepancies in the world building. I can't tell you what these were without giving this away. But these were major discrepancies. I thought to myself "did she forget she said it was this way in the beginning?" So it made it confusing because of that. I think Tate ultimately made the world too complicated that even she couldn't keep up with it.

That's not to say that this book wasn't entertaining. It was, and I could not put it down. This is the first book I haven't been able to put down in awhile. Because of this, I gave it a 3.75. But, I think this book would have been so much better with better pacing. This comes out in June!
Displaying 1 - 30 of 176 reviews

Can't find what you're looking for?

Get help and learn more about the design.