Book Reviews
Labyrinth: Kate Mosse
16th Mar 2010Posted in: Book Reviews Comments Off on Labyrinth: Kate Mosse
Labyrinth: Kate Mosse

Rave reviews from The Guardian, Val McDermid, Nikki Gerard, The Times and Sunday Times, Myslexia Magazine, The Daily Mail, The Independent and others, not to mention Richard and Judy, coupled with the fact that Kate Mosse invented the Orange Prize for Fiction, must have prompted thousands to buy this book. And all the ingredients to make this a magical and memorable read are between its covers: an archaeological dig, female protagonists, mystery, adventure, historical fiction set in medieval France with the Cathars, a supernatural element, and as if all this weren’t enough a quest for the true grail.

I should have loved it. Yet I have to be honest – the best part about this book is the cover itself. The story opens with Alice, an amateur archaeologist, following some inexplicable urge to do some illicit digging away from the others. She pulls a buckle from the earth beneath a large boulder and Lo! The boulder rolls away to reveal the mouth of a cave. At this point I wondered whether I’d mistaken Kate Mosse for Enid Blyton, although Kate Mosse doesn’t write so well.

From the clichéd beginning things only get worse. I can read a book simply for its beautiful prose, but Labyrinth is at best poorly written, loaded with cliché and reminiscent of the worst of chick-lit. The characters are poorly drawn, and the verb ‘to be’ worked to death. I cared so little for the characters and the plot that the book fell from my hand three times before I reached page 154 and decided that life was too short to struggle on.

Forget the grail: the only mystery I’m interested in solving is how this book was accepted for publication and whether any of the reviewers actually opened it.

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