Monday, August 16, 2010

Labyrinth by Kat Richardson

Labyrinth (a Greywalker novel) by Kat Richardson. Piatkus £7.99
Reviewed by Jan Edwards

Harper Blaine, PI, has died – several times; and on each occasion she comes a little closer to her potential, and a little deeper into the carefully laid trap of Wygan, the Pharaoh-ankh-astet (Egyptian god/vampire). Then there are Edward, Carlos and Goodall to deal with. All are uber-vamps, and all vie for possession of Harper and/or her Greywalker gifts.

So, this is Harper’s dilemma: to defeat Wygan she must reach her potential. But to reach her potential it looks like she’ll end up falling in with his plans. Status quo, it seems. But she has some cards to play: the ghost of her father, Quinton; her techno-geek boyfriend; Mara, her best friend who happens to be a witch; and, last but not least, her feisty pet ferret, Chaos. All are rooting for Harper to succeed.

I have read some of the previous books in the series. That does help because, though previous history is explained here and there, I am not sure that the uninitiated would follow all of the nuances without some prior knowledge of Harper’s world. That’s not a bad thing in itself as it keeps things fresh. It is possible to catch-up if you pay attention: there are a few sections on Harper’s dealings in the spirit world which are described in minute detail that I must own up to skipping over as they spiral away. But it’s not a real problem when considered as a whole.

This book moves along at a furious pace, with villains at every turn. Sub-plots are a tangled web of deceit and dual-alliances, where “my enemy’s enemy is my friend” seems to be the major weapon in Harper’s armoury as she pulls in deals and favours right and left to achieve her aims. Nothing and no one could be taken for granted in this battle against, what is to all intents and purposes, a demi-god. Plenty of action and a body count that I lost tally of very early on, but a lot of fun. This is a page-turner that sweeps you inexorably to a desperate and explosive end of Harper Blaine’s travails. A kick-ass urban fantasy world to enjoyably lose yourself in for a few hours.

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