“The Labyrinth Quest” by Yvonne Hertzberg

A new novel launching this week:

This story chronicles the unintentional quest of M’rain, a character who exemplifies the qualities of a traditional hero in her own small way: questioning, pushing boundaries, determination. She also exhibits the qualities of a modern hero, a sort of “What have I got myself into?” attitude that gives her personality a realistic touch.

In the usual manner of heroes, her questing personality gets her into trouble. Trapped by a rabid madman in a labyrinth, helped by a powerful but obnoxious lizard-magician called Glick, she fights the dangers of her environment and the nagging of her self-doubt to overcome the physical and societal gap between her village and the one on the other end of the cave.

This novel is imbued with a tone of delightful childlike naiveté that ignores practicalities – time and distance and the necessity of sleeping and eating – with the sweep of a magic wand. In spite of this simple presentation, the story deals with basic aspects of the human experience: the nature of trust, the abuse of power, the many elements of leadership. This gives it a depth beyond that of most children’s stories.

One point that should concern the author. I have made a point about the delightful child-like quality of the tale. However, the mildly (for adults) explicit sexual scenes are hardly appropriate for 12-year-olds, who I think would otherwise really enjoy and benefit from the story. Or maybe I’m just an old fogey.

A minor point potential readers should be aware of; I have always thought that “magical realism” attempts to bridge the gap between the metaphysical and the modern world. This book is advertised as “magical realism/fantasy,” but I don’t see the theology as applicable to our world, especially with such an infuriating lizard as a deity! I’d prefer to call it fantasy with a touch of humour.

Last complaint; in the cover image, Glick, in his usual infuriating way, sits right on top of the maze, and I can’t figure out the way to the centre!

Recommended for Young Adult readers, and for all who enjoy an unsophisticated approach to Fantasy.

4 out of 5 stars (4 / 5)

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