eARC Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

eARC Review: Children of Daedala by Caighlan Smith

Six months alone in the labyrinth has made her strong. But the search for the exit means gambling on an old ‘friend’ and going against everything she’s been taught to survive.

Partial synopsis provided by Goodreads.

Children of Daedala

Series: Children of Icarus #2
Author: Caighlan Smith
Publication Date: April 1, 2018
Publisher: Capstone
Page Count: 336
Format: eARC
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy, Horror, Dystopia
Cover Artist: ---
My Rating: ★★

Finding one’s way through a maze can feel like an eternity. For the Icarii, eternity is a probability with their trek through the labyrinth surrounding Daedala. 

“Fey Bell” as the nameless main character has been nicknamed, has existed on her own in the labyrinth for six months now. Now that she has the journal explaining how to get out of the dismal place, she needs only one thing: to translate it into her language. In order to do so, she must seek out help from her former group, the Fates. 

However, she left Fates on bad terms. Collin, the group’s leader, has had it out for her since he discovered that she was faking to be his little sister, Clara. With her best friend gone, the Executioner no longer around to teacher her, and no one to help her, she much depend on herself for everything–and for getting the answers she needs to unravel the journal’s secrets. Little does she know that Fates are the least of her worries. 

Children of DaedalaChildren of Daedala by Caighlan Smith
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

1) Children of Icarus: ★★

All included quotes have been taken from an ARC and may not match the finished publication.

”Six months is a long time in the labyrinth.”

There’s always a lot riding on sequels in a series. If certain aspects aren’t delivered in the first installment of a series, I hope that the sequel will shed some light on those areas that I think are important to touch on as the reader. Unfortunately, Children of Daedala simply didn’t deliver as much as I had hoped for. While some aspects were much more tolerable, the plot did not develop as much as it needed to the really engage the reader.

World Building

The entire plot of Children of Daedala takes place in the labyrinth. Little information of the labyrinth itself is given and it is difficult to get a good sense of where the characters are. I constantly felt lost, which is ideally the point (since everyone is lost), but it’s also difficult to tell a story not really understanding the surroundings.

The society within the labyrinth itself takes on a different form. The Icarii literally enter a new world when they entered the labyrinth and they must learn how to survive. The best way to survive is by strength in numbers. Several pods of Icarii are developed, where the groups’ members look after and protect one another.

But where there are people, there is treachery. Supplies are limited in the labyrinth, including hunting grounds, freshwater, medical supplies, and weapons. It isn’t uncommon for fighting to happen between the groups for these resources. These fights, however, aren’t always provision-related. Bad blood exists between Kleos and Harmonia, two groups with a long and dark history. When the main character finds herself being shoved between the two groups after Fates is ransacked, she must dig to the bottom of the mystery in order to discover who is at fault.

Within these groups exists hierarchy. Being out on her own for six months had made “nameless” a sought out legend among the other Icarii. Nicknamed “Fey Bell” (after the silent bell she wears around her neck) she tries to remain elusive as she searches for the labyrinth’s exit. However, she can only make it so far without help. She must take measures into her own hands to have the mysterious journal the Executioner left her translated. The leaders of the groups have their own agendas and are constantly taunting her when they cross paths. Wanting to remain out of the drama, she tries to limit her interactions with them, but can only succeed for so long.

Pacing & Readability

The pacing mimics Children of Icarus. It is slow, slow, slow. In three hundred plus pages, not a lot happens. Even during the climax in the final pages, nothing grabbed me. Without having many variations in the pacing, it made this a difficult read to get through because it was slow and unengaging.

Point-Of-View & Characters

The point of view is again from the perspective of the main character, who again remains nameless throughout the entire story. “Nameless'”–I’ll refer to by her nickname of Fey Bell–character grows tremendously from Children of Icarus–but only in her capabilities. In many ways, she still acts quite immature for her age, which becomes tiresome to read. Honestly, I think I stuck it out through this book just because I want to find out what her name is! Otherwise, I don’t think I would have made it this far.

There are several characters in this series, and it is difficult to keep them all straight. With little distinction between them physically, many of these minor characters blended together.

For me, Ryan was one of the more interesting characters in this series. Sadly, his character became rather flat in this sequel. I felt he could have been utilized in more effective ways to keep that initial intrigue going, but that simply didn’t happen.

Theo becomes a more prominent character in this sequel. Becoming a “sort of” love interest, he’s constantly riding the fence of being trustworthy. Because his character also suffers from flatness, I found him and his motivations to be transparent and without surprise.

Elle’s character blossomed before my very eyes. I think I didn’t recognize her in Children of Icarus because I was so distracted with all of the gore and overall treachery. While she doesn’t have a massive role in the plot, what she represents makes her all-the-more important to bring up.

The main antagonist against is the labyrinth itself, but later on shifts to other characters as well.

Major Themes

⇒ Survival

It’s easy not to take chances when the price is someone else’s secrets.

Survival is the entire point of this series. Survival in the labyrinth, survival from one another, and survival from oneself in specific instances is constantly on the characters’ and readers minds.

⇒ Mental illness

”Elle is the beautiful one. I always knew it, but at first I thought it was just her exterior. I thought what was inside Elle was cruel. And it is. Elle has a cruel side, an inhumane side, a manipulative side, but that like her physical beauty, is just something else in the way of the beauty inside. A part of Elle, deep down, is still the child she was when she entered the labyrinth. That child is inside all Icarii, but most Icarii kill that child to survive. Instead, Elle killed her sanity, and used its corpse to shelter the child. Because of that, a part of Elle will always have her innocence. A part of her will always have Prosper.”

Represented by Elle’s character, mental illness becomes a large theme throughout this installment. This theme also exists in the first book, but I think I was too distracted by everything else to really notice it. While I believe this adds an interesting addition to the plot, I’m not sure if I actually like the way Elle’s character is represented. Perhaps it is because I feel that her (and everyone else’s) character is left incomplete. In a positive way, however, I feel that Elle’s able to bring opponents together.

“But thank you. For looking out for Elle.”
“It’s easy to look out for Elle,” Risa says, then gestures to the gauze in my hand. Maybe not always easy, but it’s easy to want to, you know?”

Overall Feelings

Things that I liked:
⇒ The main character’s growth from the first book.
⇒ We finally get a little more explanation behind the Icarii.

Things that I didn’t like:
⇒ Still not having a good sense of the world or where the characters are at. Scenes blend into one another.
⇒ The slow pacing and anticlimactic end which was supposed to be a massive “cliffhanger” for the next book.
⇒ While we get a better idea as to how the Icarii started, the entire backstory needed a lot more explanation.

Overall, I wasn’t thrilled with this sequel, and found it to be without much purpose. I really was hoping for more progression, but this entire book felt like a “time filler” until the next book in the series is published.

Vulgarity: Minimal. Only five words were counted.
Sexual content: Minimal – kissing scenes only. However, there are some references to more going on between some characters.
Violence: Quite a lot. While this installment isn’t as gory as it’s predecessor, there’s still a decent amount.

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