Thursday, November 9, 2023

Review: Labyrinth's Heart (Rook & Rose #3) by M.A. Carrick

          

Labyrinth's Heart (Rook & Rose #3) by M.A. Carrick
Orbit
Publication Date: August 15th, 2023
Paperback. 639 pages.

About Labyrinth's Heart:

"'Lush, engrossing and full of mystery and dark magic' (BookPage), Labyrinth's Heart is the thrilling conclusion to M. A. Carrick's Rook & Rose trilogy, in which a con artist, a vigilante, and a crime lord become reluctant allies in the quest to save their city from a dangerous ancient magic.

May you see the face and not the mask.

Ren came to NadeÅūra with a plan. She would pose as the long-lost daughter of the noble house Traementis. She would secure a fortune for herself and her sister. And she would vanish without a backward glance. She ought to have known that in the city of dreams, nothing is ever so simple.

Now, she is Ren, con-artist and thief. But she is also Renata, the celebrated Traementis heir. She is Arenza, the mysterious pattern-reader and political rebel. And she is the Black Rose, a vigilante who fights alongside the legendary Rook.

Even with the help of Grey Serrado and Derossi Vargo, it is too many masks for one person to wear. And as the dark magic the three of them helped unleash builds to storm that could tear the very fabric of the city apart, it's only a matter of time before one of the masks slips—and everything comes crashing down around them."

You can find my reviews for books one and two in the Rook & Rose trilogy here:
Book 1: Mask of Mirrors
Book 2: The Liar's Knot

Labyrinth's Heart, the concluding book in the Rook & Rose trilogy, has proven itself to be a highly entertaining and satisfying ending to what has been a stunning series. Since this is the final book in a series, I will be keeping this review a bit sparse on the details in order to avoid any major spoilers. 

Once again, I loved diving back into this world and reuniting with all the wonderful characters created by Carrick. These characters have been through so much throughout this trilogy and I've appreciated following along everyone's resilience amidst their many respective journeys. The characters really stole the show in this book–as they often did in the previous books as well–with their compelling arcs that showcased some remarkable development. Their individual journeys were filled with so many obstacles and allowed each character to understand the importance of trust, empathy, and understanding, and it was very fulfilling to watch them all work through some of the biggest issues. Trust has been a huge component of this series as a whole and I think watching how different characters managed to overcome their doubts or uncertainties and learn to trust one another was truly compelling to follow. 

I don't mind the addition of new characters in a series, but  I didn't love some of the newer characters that were included more in this, such as more 'villain'-type characters that didn't really seem to bring all that much to the table. It was almost as if some of them were brought in more to fill a role than to really have a meaningful purpose. 

Labyrinth's Heart also does not let up on the political machinations and intrigue that have been such a core part of this trilogy, and there were plenty more to explore in this book as well. I found it immensely satisfying to watch all of the previous open plot threads finally come together and actually get so many different questions answered. It's been a long journey full of what seemed like endless secrets, deceit, and uncertainties, and I was often impressed with how Carrick managed to wrap everything up. Because there was so much to cover in this book, I found the pacing fairly consistent through, with a strong mix of action and calmer moments to enjoy. 

At the same time, however, this conclusion did at times feel a little bit as though it was written to fulfill a lot of readers' wishes. While I don't necessarily mind a little wish fulfillment meant to please readers and leave us all feeling satisfied (I mean, does anyone really dislike when a book goes how they want it??), it did sometimes feel like things were a bit too easy, if that makes sense. There were a lot of coincidences or things that just sort of seemed to magically work themselves out in ways that felt a bit too rushed or as though they were just trying to get to an ending. Again, this makes sense because there was a lot that needed to be wrapped up in this book, but I definitely still had that sense of wish fulfillment. 

Laslty, I'd like to briefly touch on how much I've enjoyed learning about this magic system and seeing it develop as our characters also learn more and more about it. There is so much history and lore associated with all the magic and the ways in which this world works that it really makes for a rich and intriguing world and experience. It's a little hard for me to keep track of all the details sometimes, but when I am able to remember everything and keep up and everything clicks into place, it's a wonderful experience and really allows me to enjoy the story to its fullest extent. 

Overall, I've given Labyrinth's Heart 4.5 stars! This has been a phenomenal fantasy series that I believe is severely underrated and I cannot recommend it enough to any fantasy fans that love strong characters and plenty of secrets and intrigue and multiple plot threads. 


*I received a copy of Labyrinth's Heart courtesy of the publisher in exchange for an honest review.*

Buy the book: Amazon | Bookshop.org

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