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The Rose Labyrinth

2.92  ·  Rating details ·  3,115 ratings  ·  448 reviews
Before his death in 1609, the brilliant Elizabethan spy and astrologer John Dee hid his most astonishing secrets, trusting his descendants would one day bring them to light. That time has come.

In 2003, Will Stafford inherits a strange legacy from his mother: a key and an ancient script with an enigmatic note. Intrigued, he travels Europe seeking answers to Dee's riddles, u
Paperback, 592 pages
Published 2008 by Headline Review
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Average rating 2.92  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,115 ratings  ·  448 reviews

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3+ stars to Titania Hardie's novel, The Rose Labyrinth. Few have heard of the author or this book, but when I stumbled upon it in the book store, I had to give it a chance for a few reasons:

1. It was a book within a book. It's a normal hardcover book, but in the front cover, there is a second book, a journal of sorts. In the real book, the main character uses a journal and a puzzle to decode the secrets from 400 years ago. And as readers, we get a copy of this journal, so along the way, we can t
30 pages in I realized that sometimes, just sometimes, you have to make a decision about what to waste your life with. This book? Not worth my time. The writing is horrendous and it's a clear DaVinci Code piggy-back. Basically: that's enough of this nonsense.

Also, I detest leaving books unfinished. I can count on one hand the number of books I've done this with. I actually had to create a new Goodreads shelf for this book, of books that are 'Life Wasting Never Finish.' Now I feel weird and uncom
There's a point in The Great Muppet Caper where Lady Holiday goes on and on about her brother Nicky and his rapacious background. Miss Piggy questions here, "Why are you telling me all this?" To which Lady Holiday responds with something like, "It's plot exposition, it must go somewhere." And you're probably wondering why I'm starting a review of The Rose Labyrinth this way...

Hardie is like Lady Holiday. She explains and gives historical background and then explains some more. And I kept thinkin
Josephine (Jo)
15th August 2010
Well, I finished this book because I am not a quitter, but oh dear! What a load of drivel. I have a good imagination, I really enjoy history and a good puzzle, I am not, however, a classical Greek scholar, a mathematician or clairvoyant, all of which would be the minimum requirement to be able to follow the proceedings in this flight of fancy. It is almost as if the author is in on the secret with the characters and their aim is to exclude the reader by keeping the clues to thems
Jan 22, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This is one of the most beautiful books I have ever seen; however, it is one of the dumbest books I have ever read.

It is a Da Vinci Code kind of thing, where a family has sole responsibility to keep the secret of the ages. Through hints and visions and discovered symbols the secret is understood...but not really. The love story part of it made me want to throw up. The girl receives a new heart, falls in love with her doctor and two weeks after the operation she's in bed with him. PLEASE!!! And h
Sep 13, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: horrible
Oh my goodness, do not waste your time.
I was in the market for just a fun fluffy novel and while I could have been pleasently surprised that this had more to offer, I was not.
First of all, it seems like it was written by three different people. You had the romance plot, the intricate puzzle plot which never really got explained unless you took more time to figure them out in the back, and then there was the rant against Ratpturists and really Christianity as a whole. Which was a little extreme.
Aug 22, 2012 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This has to be by far the WORST book I have ever read, and sadly I read the whole thing! It read as if there were at least three different writers and each was worse than the last, the miracle of this book was that it ever got published!
Jun 19, 2008 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
i don't even know why i persisted on this one for so long. it didn't work as a conspiracy novel, romance or historical saga. very tedious stuff.
Dec 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I seem to be in a minority of people who gave this book four stars. I do not mind. My rating is my opinion and no one has to agree.

Maybe some of the imagery went over my head, but it did not bother me nor take completely away from my enjoyment of the story. Honestly, I do not know how much was Historical Fiction, just plain old mystery story, and complete fantasy. Well, I know which parts I think were fantasy, but they were interesting. I do not believe in ghosts, but I think I believe in angles
Apr 04, 2011 marked it as did-not-finish  ·  review of another edition
Did not finish.

This is one of those books I wanted to love (and frankly should have loved). But for whatever reason, Hardie's writing was so difficult for me to read - like trying to swim through a pool of caramel. I got mentally exhausted reading a few paragraphs (put it down for a few hours and tried again - with same results).

Can't explain it, but this one just wasn't for me, and it makes me sad :(

5 stars for a beautiful cover, though.
May 22, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2019, owned
1 star--I didn't like it. I skimmed the last 20%.

This book has terrible reviews, but foolishly I thought I might like it anyway. In this case, I've got to agree with the majority. Mediocre writing, a ridiculous plot, and flat characters made for a dull read. It's not even worth pointing out all the things I disliked.

I feel bad for the publisher--printing this book, with its hardcover box complete with extra material--must have been expensive.
Jan 15, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Before sitting down to read The Rose Labyrinth, do yourself a favor and buy a strong-scented rose. By the time you've read the first 50 pages, you'll crave the smell. Is Rose Labyrinth a good book? It is a very pretty book, with hardback novel and cryptic clues combined in a lovely box, covered in (you guessed it) roses. The characters are also very pretty -- not one isn't attractive, eloquent, and clever. Their effortless ability to call up everything from Shakespeare sonnets to Rumi's verses, ...more
Jul 27, 2011 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY!
Of all the books I've read/own, this one has the worst Goodreads rating. I wanted to like it. I really did want to. It's so poorly written. Sometimes she has two characters speaking in the same paragraph and refers to them each as he and you have to re-read three or four times to figure out who is saying what. Then she starts the characters saying each other's names each time they say something in a conversation.

Hi, how are you, Harry?
I'm well, Bob, how are you?
I'm great, Harry.
What did you eat
Dec 28, 2008 rated it it was ok
Recommends it for: fans of woo-woo romance what we have here is part Da Vinci Code-style puzzle-solving, part FATE FATE FATE ROMANCE FATE FATE!!1!!, part jarring combination of "it was all just smoke and mirrors" with honest-to-goodness rips in the fabric of space-time, and part woo-woo about heart transplants and cellular memory, all tied up in a big bow of "what the hell was the point anyway?" at the end.

And for those of you who are sick of Catholic conspiracy books, here's an Evangelical consipiracy instead.

And, of course, e
Bought this on a whim at Murder by the Book, and it seemed pretty interesting in a da Vinci Code kind of way. After reading some of the reviews I am a little leery of it though.

I didn't help that before the book even starts the author invites you to go to the end of the novel to try and solve all the clues yourself, and then tells you that even that characters don't figure it out. I like closure, and she just basically told me there won't be any...

*** Update 11.24.09 About 100 pages in and its
This didn't really work. There were too many things going on that just didn't make sense together. A couple of the recurring themes seemed contradictory and the ending was flat.

The cover is really pretty and the presentation with the "parchments" is cool, but the story didn't motivate me to work through the puzzles.
As a spider weaves its web and as a soul (personified as Ariadne) figuratively weaves its body, Titania Hardie has woven a complex story in her inventive novel "The Rose Labyrinth."

Like the "two natures" (physical and psychic) of alchemy, this quest story overlays the lives of modern-day characters Alex and Lucy on a wide-ranging, interlocking web of esoteric philosophy and practice. Alex Sterling's family has been the keeper of the along-ago buried secrets of the Elizabethan astrologer and alch
Laura Floyd
I really wanted to like this book. As a rule, I'm fond of anything that has to do with conspiracy theories, history, grails, Shakespeare, and labyrinths. I tried really hard to like it. I gave it every benefit of the doubt, but... I just couldn't like it. The characters were very shallow. None of them had any personality, other than being "very good people." Even their flaws were written off as aspects of their goodness, like saying "I pay too much attention to detail" when asked to talk about y ...more
I picked this up because it mentioned Chartres Cathedral in the plot description. Unfortunately, I think that is going to be Chartres Cathedral in the Da Vinci Code sense. I'm not sure that I'll be able to get through this one; the writing is decidedly of the bad.

OK, I finished it, and it is bad. So so so bad. Not a terrible idea, perhaps, but such appalling writing. My favourite use of imagery was this gem, discussing a French character called Guy (in French, pronounced "Gee") - "The way Calvin
Miss Ginny Tea
Nov 02, 2008 marked it as dnf_2009  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Miss Ginny Tea by: Ysabet
Oh, book, you are so fired. Gah. It's obviously a da Vinci Code ripoff. Sorry, Siân's midnight-blue eyes and copper-coloured hair? Wut? Will's distracting beauty? Wut? Just ugh.

Also, I just glanced at the riddle cards, but hello incomprehensible mish-mash jumble of just about every kind of mysticism imaginable. yuck.
I started this book so long ago but didn't to really understand it, so I put it down and picked it up early last month and managed to finish it. Most of the time I still had no clue what was going on, but I feel if I had started it in a couple of years time, it might have been a good read!
Brenda A
Nov 15, 2018 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: borrowed
The Rose Labyrinth is a fanciful romance novel disguised as a treasure hunt a la The Da Vinci Code or National Treasure. There’s a crap ton of flowery language, all kinds of references to poetry and classical writings, and not much of a plot.

In fact, it’s almost all exposition. Forever. Lots and lots of it. And then when you think you’re done, there’s more.

There’s also crap romance lines that had me snorting out loud while reading. “You kisses my soul awake, Alex.” Because that’s a thing. We ca
Mar 28, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Review soon
This is at least the third book I have read in the past decade that deals with something to do with Dr. John Dee, advisor to Queen Elizabeth I and believed to be the original 007. Ms. Hardie is obviously fascinated by this renaissance man and attributes much more to him than has been previously alluded in other texts and histories.

She has an interesting premise, that of a familial legacy passed down over 400 years through a female line. She also touches on the subject of organ memory in a trans
Aug 30, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Reading any of the other comments made by others would have been good before I started this book...because then I wouldn't have even bothered reading it. It wasn't the worst book I've ever read...but that isn't high praise is it?
The clues to the mystery in the book could have been so much more interesting if they would have been something that I could relate to. Or if the characters had experienced their "aha" moment with us. Instead we are left to find out things as they are summarizing things
Gerald Sinstadt
Jan 01, 2010 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I dislike abandoning a book half-read. Having recently done that with The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, I was doubly reluctant in this case. Perhaps I should have read a few more pages in the bookshop. I might then have become aware of cardboard characters acting improbably, and dialogue contrived to deliver the results of research but unlike like speech that ever issued from a human mouth. Research is one thing, creative writing is another.

It would be unfair on those who enjoy this kind of thin
Alayne Bushey
I don't even know where to begin with this one. A woman named Lucy needs a heart transplant, which she gets. She then becomes involved with her doctor, Alex. Somewhere along the way they're pulled into a mystery that involves Alex's brother, Will, John Dee (circa the original Queen Elizabeth's time), riddles, roses, labyrinths in churches, angels, Shakespeare, and the Rapture. If you can make sense of the plot and it's circumnavigations, then by all means, have at it, my friends. For me, it was ...more
Kathleen Moss
Jan 18, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I hate the phrase, but anyway, have you ever been "earwormed" by a book? It has happened to me this week, since reading a godawful piece of trash called The Rose Labyrinth. It has plagued my dreams and my waking hours. I keep being reminded of a sickly description of the heroine's attributes or a sentence or two from one implausible conversation or other and I can't get it out of my head.
This book is dangerous. Please don't go there.
Aug 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition

I stuck with it hoping for some redemption, but it never came.
Oct 14, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
So much potential - but after plodding through the book I was disappointed when the end just didn't make any sense to me.
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