reviews

Book Review – Het Stille Labyrint

Book: Het Stille Labyrint (De Verborgen Universiteit/ Untracable University 2) by Natalie Koch
Release Date: September 25th 2012
Genre: Urban Fantasy
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

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Goodreads // Erfenis van Richard Grenville (book 1)

Beware of  possible spoilers for the first book.

Dutch Synopsis

In Het levende labyrint vermoedt Alexa dat er meer aan de hand is met de manier waarop haar vader om het leven kwam. Terwijl ze aan een nieuw semester op Untreaceable University begint en de intrigerende Marty ontmoet, probeert ze te achterhalen wat haar vader in de laatste maanden van zijn leven heeft gedaan. Als ze ontdekt dat hij en zijn zus betrokken waren bij een topgeheim onderzoek naar een zeventiende-eeuws manuscript over destructieve magische muziek, roept ze het onheil over zichzelf af; ze moet opboksen tegen krachten die uit alle macht willen voorkomen dat de waarheid uitkomt. Die waarheid zal gruwelijker zijn dan ze zich kan voorstellen. Uiteindelijk komt ze voor een keuze te staan die niet alleen haar eigen leven in gevaar brengt, maar ook de levens van haar beste vrienden kan verwoesten.

English Synopsis (loosely translated)

Alexa suspects that there is more to the way that her father died. While she starts a new semester at Untracable University, she tries to find out what her father did in the last months of his life. When she discovers that his sister and he participated in a top secret research to a 17th cenury manuscript about destructive magical magic, she brings danger to herself. Others don’t want the truth to come out. A truth that is gruesomer than she can imagine. Eventually she will have to make  a choice that will not only put her own life in danger , but can also destroy the lives of her best friends.

Review

Het Stille Labyrint is the sequel to De Erfenis van Richard Grenville from the Dutch urban fantasy series Untracable University. I really enjoyed the first installment to this trilogy. While I had meant to read this sooner the length of the book (600+ pages) kept me from picking it up. It shouldn’t have. I read most of this in one afternoon.

One of the things that I love about this series is the amount of detail that goes into this world. And I’m not talking about the descriptions of London or of the university. There is a lot of detail that has gone into incorporating the magic into our history and explaining the theory of magic from various subject matters like ethic, history, music and so on. At moments it can feel like too much information though it’s not really info dumping. It is more that it sometimes goes so deep into the matter in the shortest way possible that I need to read it a few times to let it sink in completely.

The length of the book gives plenty of opportunity to explore the various characters even though we mostly follow Alexa. In this book we learn more about her father, her aunt, her two professors Rafiel and Matthews, and Daniel Fenrick. A big portion we spend in the past through journal entries. Something I don’t often like. But the build up to learning what happened to these characters has been so long, I wanted to know what happened and eagerly read these entries.  I enjoyed learning more about these characters.

Alexa had a hard time in this book. Physially and emotionally. She feels alone when Sander finds a romantic interest, she gets her own heart broken, and learns the even harder lesson that no world is perfect. Certainly not this magic world. And not all can be trusted. I don’t agree with all of her decisions, but in part I can understand them.

I don’t think there is a character in this series that I truly dislike. There is something interesting and something to deepen about all the characters in this book, including characters like Lester and Colin. (insert my internal weeping about Colin)

The writing, like in the first book, was great. Everything is woven together beautifully. Once you get past the first 60 pages or so everything starts to flow. Perhaps it can be considered slow, but I like the build-up in this book because there is always something that happens or new that we learn. I can’t wait to get the third and final book.

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