Molly's Reviews

The Secret of the LabyrinthThe Secret of the Labyrinth
CJ Lewis
Publish America

Engaging Read ... Highly Recommended ... 5 stars

Twelve year old Edward Forrest lives in a meager home with mom Olive and two sisters; Amy 14, Crystal 16. There is little money for lights, heat or food. The local library where it is warm and filled with friendly faces and books to carry him far from his bleak existence is a refuge for the lonely youngster. Edward's life changes when he awakens at 6AM as usual only to discover neither Olive nor his sisters are in the house. Two weeks later Edward is becoming desperate, bills are due, there is no food in the house, and his attempt to pawn the family TV goes awry. Finding a map in a hidden compartment near the fireplace sets in place adventures Edward never thought he might face.

Brynnfeld where Edward is one of the first-year students attending the Academy of the Oracle is a spot where the kids learn how to unleash the wonderful powers they hold within themselves. It is a place where powers for good are honed. Evil waiting those who venture away from the light is never far away. The Dark Lord's realm is found in the shadows cast by the Academy walls. Edward Forrest finds he always walks on the verge of disaster. Edward wonders whether he can stand up to the Dark Lord's plan of destruction. Most momentous for the worried youngster; can he pass the final test that awaits him in the cryptic passageways of The Great Labyrinth? "The Secret of the Labyrinth" is a gripping narrative of valiancy, not giving in to enticement, understanding how to forgive others and at length learning to 'be in the light' and out of darkness. The latter portion of the book is meant to be
inspirational.

"The Secret of the Labyrinth" is the initial work offered in the Forrest Tales series by talented writer Lewis. Featuring Edward Forrest, a young fellow who is abandoned by his family and must make it on his own, Lewis crafts a keenly focused tale presented as a middle grades/Young Adult fantasy. The first book deals with peer pressure, making both appropriate and inappropriate choices, and coming to realize that mistakes can be rectified and used as a learning experience. As with a labyrinth, Life is filled with dead-ends and open paths. "The Secret of the Labyrinth" helps the young reader appreciate their own mistakes as opportunities for growth. The easily read, fast paced tale is satisfactory, writing style is commendable and characterization is excellent. Writer Lewis paints an intense portrayal in the mind of the reader. The story is gripping as the characters find mystery and adventure while attending the Academy of the Oracle. Each book in this fantasy series has a value theme designed to help
young people as they face struggles in a troubled world.

From the opening page when the reader meets Twelve year old Edward awakening to the sounds of the 6AM train, down to the last pages of "The Secret of the Labyrinth" when Edward really understands what true treasure is reader interest is held fast.

"The Secret of the Labyrinth" is a good addition to both the home and school library where it is certain to be reached for often for pleasure reading.

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2005 by Molly Martin