I'm thrilled to share my review for Keepers of the Labyrinth today, a new series about Greek mythology and girl power, from debut author Erin E. Moulton.
I thought this adventerous, inventive book was the perfect way to celebrate the end of summer, and I have a feeling that many younger readers will agree!
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published August 25th 2015 by Philomel Books
Author Erin E. Moulton's debut is entertaining and exciting, and a perfect way to close out summer reading.
Lilith Bennette runs at midnight. She scales walls in the dark and climbs without a harness. She hopes that if she follows exactly in the steps of her strong air force pilot mother, she’ll somehow figure out the mystery of her mother’s death—and the reason why her necklace of Greek symbols has been missing ever since.
So when Lil is invited to Crete for a Future Leaders International conference, the same conference her mom attended years ago, she jumps at the chance to find some answers. But things in Melios Manor are not what they seem. Lil finds herself ensnared in an adventure of mythological proportions that leads her and her friends through the very labyrinth in which the real Minotaur was imprisoned. And they’re not in there alone. What secrets does the labyrinth hold, and will they help Lil find the truth about her mother?
This book is perfect for older fans of Percy Jackson and the Olympians and the Heroes of Olympus--and anyone who wants to find out the true story behind the magic of the Greek gods.
And I'm glad I did. While there are a number of Greek-inspired books currently in YA, Erin E. Moulton has written a novel that's both entertaining, ad focuses on unique female friendships as four friends try to get to the bottom of a mystery in Crete.
Things that worked:
When readers first meet sixteen-year-old Lilith "Lil" Bennett, she's clearly struggling. Her mother has just passed away, and Lil is trying to reconcile the idea that her mother possibly committed suicide, leaving LIl alone with her father.
While single-parent teens aren't an uncommon occurence in YA, Moulton gives Lil the type of personality that will immediately draw readers into the story. We can empathize with Lil's pain, but we also recognize the innate spark that's inside of her, and we can't help but hope that the spark will be reignited as she travels to the Future Leaders International conference to begin to look for answers.
Readers will undoubtedly also admire Lil's tenacity, and her willingness to try and take on unexpected challenges, as she begins the learn the depth of the legacy left by her mother.
Moulton's book benefits from two things: being set on the beautiful island of Crete, and having a foundation of familiar Greek mythology to drawn upon.
However, that's also one of the biggest challenges of the book; Moulton needs to be able to take familiar settings - especially in YA - and make it stand out. She does so successfully, emphasizing the idea that Lil and her friends have become caught up in an organization with a legacy and history that exceeds far beyond Lil and her family.
On a related note...
Strong female role models
One of the most notable aspects of ...Labyrinth, is Moulton's ability to write stronge female relationships for both the younger and the older generations.
As Lil and her friends begin to learn more about the secrets behind her mother's legacy, we see how the women in the organization stand their own against their male colleague, and how Lil and her friends are able to hold their own against an older band of villains - even when their legacy is influenced from more mythical origins.
Moulton really emphasizes the idea that young women are able to do anything, as long as they put their mind to it. However, she also gently stresses the idea that all of these young women are able to accomplish more when they work together, which is a great reminder on the importance of teamwork, and friendship.
Moulton's ending does a perfect job of wrapping up some of Lil's preliminary questions about her mother and her heritage, while also setting up the girls for further adventure and discovery.
It's the type of ending that will make readers eager for future installments, and I should know - I'm definitely one of them!
Things that didn't work/Things to consider:
However, I suspect that younger readers will likely be too enthralled with the Lilith's story to notice, and I also have every confidence that the action will get even better in the next installment.
Lillith, Sydney, Charlie and Kate are only beginning their journey, but Moulton has already proven that they are destined for friendship, adventure and a destiny sure to keep readers enthralled for books to come. I also have no doubt that this foursome, will also inspire many young readers to seek out their own destinies along their way.
I strongly recommend this book for readers of urban fantasy, who are looking for a great adventure story full of admirable characters, and likable friends.
About the author:
Erin E. Moulton (www.erinemoulton.com) holds an MFA from the Vermont College of Fine Arts. She’s the author of Flutter, Tracing Stars and Chasing the Milky Way. She lives in New Hampshire with her family. @erinemoulton