Every year for the past fifty-four years, the residents of Pinsbury Port receive a mysterious letter inviting all eligible-aged boys to compete for an esteemed scholarship to the all-male Stemwick University. Every year, the poorer residents look to see that their names are on the list. The wealthier look to see how likely their sons are to survive. And Rhen Tellur opens it to see if she can derive which substances the ink and parchment are created from, using her father’s microscope.
In the province of Caldon, where women are trained in wifely duties and men are encouraged into collegiate education, sixteen-year-old Rhen Tellur wants nothing more than to become a scientist. As the poor of her seaside town fall prey to a deadly disease, she and her father work desperately to find a cure. But when her Mum succumbs to it as well? Rhen decides to take the future into her own hands—through the annual all-male scholarship competition.
With her cousin, Seleni, by her side, the girls don disguises and enter Mr. Holm’s labyrinth, to best the boys and claim the scholarship prize. Except not everyone’s ready for a girl who doesn’t know her place. And not everyone survives the maze.
The premise for this book sounded very interesting and I absolutely love the cover so I was very excited to pick it up. Unfortunately, this was a big disappointment to me.
The first half of the book was just leading up to the labyrinth and felt like a lot of setup and it seemed to drag. The writing was choppy at times and a bit hard to follow. The labyrinth scenes were enjoyable but sometimes felt a bit rushed. I would have liked more of the book to be focused on that.
My biggest issue with this book is that it’s published by a Christian publisher but there is absolutely no faith content whatsoever. It felt very much like a mainstream, secular book. From the extreme kisses to the black magic and ghouls, I was wondering where the author was going to bring in the “Christian” element. (She didn’t). I don’t need or like an author to “shove the Christian message down my throat,” but if it’s published by a Christian publisher, I do expect there to be some kind of faith content included, whether it be a character praying, going to church, referencing God, or a reference to Him in some way. I was extremely disappointed to see that this did not happen. There was also something disturbing about one of the characters that didn’t belong in a “Christian” novel, in my opinion.
I attempted to read another of this author’s books in the past and DNF’d it because of the content so I think I’m done with her books unfortunately.
I received this book from the publisher to review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.