Review: Labyrinth of Lies and Sacrifice

Well, folks, this is it. Labyrinth of Lies and Sacrifice by C.F.E. Black is the final book in the Sacrificed Hearts series about maidens' hearts being sacrificed to monsters. What sets this book apart from the other five is that the monster here is not a creature of legend but a mythical place of madness and nightmares controlled by mind magic. The book reads as a cross between Labyrinth and Alice in Wonderland with a supplemental love story built in. Due to the nature of the labyrinth, which is powered by mental and emotional trauma, this book is one of the darker ones in the series. It serves as a strong conclusion that allows readers to explore alternate possibilities of what it means to be sacrificed aside from being thrown into a pit with a monster.

Vera hoped to live a quiet life away from the magic that corrupted her bloodline, especially if she had inherited her grandmother's mind magic, which was gravely feared throughout the kingdom. Hoping she would harness her latent abilities as a fire mage, her mother entered her into an arranged marriage in which she would need to cast a simple fire spell to pass her future husband's test. Sadly, her paltry spellcasting ability fails, forcing her to reveal the horrifying possibility that she has mind magic. She is immediately plunged into the nefarious labyrinth as punishment. Wandering around aimlessly, Vera encounters and handsome stranger named Ash who insists that she is interfering with the labyrinth's powers even though she is certain she isn't doing anything out of the ordinary.

Though this book is a fascinating psychological journey into the unknown, the lack of information lessens the impact of many important plot details throughout the story. For instance, after getting to know Ash, Vera discovers his identity as a well-known historical figure from her world. However, that historical figure was never referenced at any point before in the book, rendering the impact of her discovery meaningless for the reader. There is a lot of talk about people losing their minds and dying in the labyrinth, but we don't experience this in the book aside from a close call near the climax that is quickly resolved. Though I appreciate that the author spared readers triggering language to avoid making the book too dark to enjoy, it made the already mysterious labyrinth feel even more abstract than it needed to.

As far as romance, the biggest connection factor between all six books in the Sacrificed Hearts series, there is a strong connection between Vera and Ash from the onset. Though Ash is initially angry with Vera for disrupting the flow of the labyrinth's powers, he could never bring himself to hurt her. Over the time Vera spends warding off monsters and fleeing for her life, she comes to recognize Ash as a source of comfort and protection and eventually gains an even more powerful understanding of him and the labyrinth than he has himself. He is not the only person for her to cling to as Vera makes other friends within the labyrinth and even finds someone she thought had been lost to her long ago. The ending is particularly touching and proves Vera's devotion to Ash beyond a shadow of a doubt.

Labyrinth of Lies and Sacrifice is a thought-provoking and emotionally charged finale to the Sacrificed Hearts series. While it falls short in providing crucial context and emotional impact, the book's unique exploration of mental and emotional trauma, mind magic, and the metaphorical labyrinth of the mind makes for a compelling and darkly captivating read. The romance between Vera and Ash shines bright, offering a beacon of hope and comfort amidst the chaos. Ultimately, this book serves as a fitting conclusion to the Sacrificed Hearts series, encouraging readers to ponder the complexities of sacrifice, trauma, and the power of the human mind.


Sugar said…
I recently found another book by this author: The Starlit Prince.
I'll try it to see how it goes.

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