Look, I saw the cover for Children of Icarus and read the cryptic summary and I seriously thought about passing on it. What a mistake that would have been! This is one of my favorite reads of 2016. I found myself racing through this compelling book, and I ended it questioning how far I would go to get my hands on the second. The answer would shock you, unless you’ve read it, too. Reviews have been mixed, but it is interesting to note that even those who didn’t love it acknowledged that it would appeal to fans of the big dystopian hits like The Maze Runner and The Hunger Games. I gave it five stars, and it will be the first book I purchase for my classroom library this year.
It is Clara who is desperate to enter the labyrinth and it is Clara who is bright, strong, and fearless enough to take on any challenge. It is no surprise when she is chosen. But so is the girl who has always lived in her shadow. Together they enter. Within minutes, they are torn apart forever. Now the girl who has never left the city walls must fight to survive in a living nightmare, where one false turn with who to trust means a certain dead end.
Look, that summary doesn’t give you much. So . . . In a future society, Icarus is worshipped. Special children between the ages of ten and sixteen are chosen on the day Icarus fell to go into the labyrinth of Icarus and to ascend as angels. Except, the labyrinth is definitely not a holy place, and all those kids? Well, some of them might be angels, but it had nothing to do with Icarus and a lot to do with the nasty truth about what really happens in the labyrinth.
While it reminded me in part of The Maze Runner (mysterious labyrinth with horrifying depths) and it reminded me a bit of Ann Aguire’s Enclave (a primitive society born operating in confusion and fear), it was something all its own and that something was rich and engaging. The narrator is not the fierce warrior woman, as a matter of fact, she is the forgettable sidekick, and that leaves a lot of room for growth. The mystery and palpable danger of her situation make it hard to leave her side, even when you need a bathroom break. The twist at the end left me stunned, and the questions I’m still pondering have me itching to talk about it to anyone who will listen. I can’t wait to share it with my high school readers. The fast-paced action and the unique brand of mystery make for a winning combination that I know my students will embrace. Language and situations are appropriate for high school readers.
I received an ARC from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.