Friday, February 14, 2014

Maze - by J. M. McDermott -What a long strage trip...

4 of 5 Stars    Review copy

Having just finished J. M. Mcdermott's epic novel Maze the only thought that comes to mind is the line from the Grateful Dead's classic Truckin' "What a long strange trip it's been."  Some questions come mind that beg to be answered.  "Did I enjoy it?" "Yes."  "Did I understand it?"  "No.  Not at all."

Here's the italicized opening...

My name is Jenny.
  I was in a city inside of a city inside of a city. 
  In the shadows there, I slept.  I knew only my name--nothing else--and nothing, and nothing else for  a very long time.  
  I slid from behind a shadow and a shadow.  I saw you sleeping here. 
  Put me in your lung.
  Breathe deep.

And from there it got weird.

Maze  is a set of four separate, yet interconnected, stories set in a complex world the inhabitants refer to as the Maze.  A place where some people stumble in and never find a way out, yet others are born and live their entire lives there never knowing any other existence.

The Maze is full of monsters.  Gargoyles, minotaurs, trolls, harpies, dogmen, and that's just scratching the surface.  It's a dangerous place with a focus on survival, while living a primitive, tribal existence.

the experience of reading this novel was at times surreal .  In fact there were moments when I thought this must be what it's like to be on a hallucinogenic drug.

The people who live in the Maze were constantly looking for food and a fresh supply of water, but even that wasn't always available.  "Then, before I could talk myself out of it, I drank the water from the sewer.  It tasted like rotten eggs, dirt, and something else indescribably awful.  I choked down the urge to puke.  I expected that this water was going to make me horribly ill--possibly kill me.  I did not drink enough to quench my thirst.  I couldn't."

Bizarre doesn't even begin to describe Maze, but despite the overall strangeness and leaving me with more questions than answers, when I finished the book, I actually found myself wanting more.

Maze is available now in both trade paperback, and various ebook formats, through Apex books and

If you count yourself among the adventurous in your reading selections then I can definitely recommend J. M. McDermottt's Maze.

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