"A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery" review


Title: A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery

Author: Curtis Craddock

Subgenre: Steampunk

2021 Bingo squares: “{Blank} of {Blank}”

Recommend: Yes, if you liked the first one, keep reading the series

Stars: 4.5/5


After a protagonist accomplishes every single one of their goals in book 1, the continuation of a trilogy can either set out to change the stakes completely, or cause a great calamity to occur, resetting the protagonist’s fortunes and place in the world. Generally, I’m not a fan of the second, and so I was somewhat skeptical about the premise of A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery: Isabelle makes a decision that’s a minor (okay, major) political disaster and costs herself her title and reputation.

I shouldn’t have worried. Not only is this setback relatively tangential to the novel’s main plot, but the actual conflict is once again superb, a twisting conspiracy that must be unwound by Isabelle and Jean-Claude - this time with the help of Marie and Bitterlich, a new character introduced in this novel (Isabelle and Jean-Claude remain the only two POV characters).

Unlike An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors, A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery takes place entirely in l’Empire Céleste (definitely not France, as you’ll recall), and while the plot is just as fast-paced as it was in the first novel, the lack of international intrigue made it slightly less compelling of a story for me, so I rated this book half a star lower than the first. Still, the fate of the entirety of l’Empire is at stake, as well as Isabelle and Jean-Claude’s lives (at multiple times).

In addition to Marie now being back in control of her own body, and Bitterlich’s introduction, there are several additional major characters, all of whom are delightful or delightfully villainous, and none of whom I will talk about in specificity for fear of spoilers.

We also get introduced in greater detail to several more types of sorcery. In addition to Glasswalking and Bloodshadows, we meet Shapeshifters (Seelenjägers), Goldentongues, and Windcallers. And of course we’ll learn more about Isabelle’s own l’Étincelle sorcery (so will Isabelle).

In short, A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery is a very satisfying continuation of the trilogy, much more so than I was expecting or hoping for, after such an excellent and well-self-contained book 1. It’s definitely worth continuing the trilogy for more of what An Alchemy of Masques and Mirrors had to offer!

Cover of A Labyrinth of Scions and Sorcery

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River is a MediaWiki developer and admins Leaguepedia. This blog contains her fantasy novel reviews.