Title: Labyrinths of Time (Song of Ancients Book II)
Author: Jonathan Michael Erickson
Genre: Science Fiction
The second installment in the Song of Ancients series, Labyrinths of Time, continues Anka Aelgon’s journey as a relic carrier. Waking up in an unfamiliar place, Anka realizes she’s jumped back in time. As desperation and illumination collide and overtake her through her time travels, Anka loses her grip on reality. And when Karillion saves her, she makes a decision that changes the course of history.
With unanswered questions about Tamreh’s betrayal, Trevor’s physical state, and her own mental state taking over, Anka feels the weight of the galaxy on her shoulders. Erickson does a great job fleshing out Anka’s vulnerability, allowing for a dramatic launch to a surprising, extreme character development arc.
The opening chapter is powerful; it closes with a scene centering Ouroboris, the snake-like relic Anka has physically and emotionally bonded with. Its intrigue, eeriness, and mystery serve as the perfect way to hook readers back into the Song of Ancients series.
The mood of this book is darker than its predecessor. There is depth, intensity, and emotion woven into the characters, setting, and plot, making everything and everyone feel on edge. The best part of continuing the series is the clearer, deeper look we get of the characters.
There are multiple narrators, creating a variety of voices that add more and more layers to the thick plot, as well as help switch up the pacing throughout. However, narrators that weren’t well-developed characters, in this book or the previous, fell a bit flat in their narration, and readers may find themselves wishing the space was reserved for the characters they are invested in.
We see an interesting transition in this book with Anka, the hero in the first book, becoming the kind of antihero Tamreh was. Tamreh’s character, too, is shown in a different light. Her perspective in the novel gives us more insight on the questionable actions she made in the first book. Her reasons become clearer, and Anka’s perception of her role as a relic carrier becomes muddied.
Both Anka and Tamreh’s narration feature experiences that transcend reality. At times, these scenes are a bit confusing because they are often portrayed as a series of visions, physical/emotional sensations, and external factors happening at one time.
Although the sensory overload may be intentional, since even the characters struggle to fathom the powerful experiences, with a book that is already hefty, the scenes sometimes read as a bit cluttered.
The time traveling featured in this book adds an entirely different layer to the storyline, with an endless number of possibilities for the story’s progression and lots of questions needing answers that will leave readers in constant suspense and excitement.
Erickson continues to amaze with the innovative technology featured in his fantasy world. We get a more personal look at Integrated humans who have wetware injected into their nervous system, and thus have access to an operating system that can replace sensory experiences with virtual sensory experiences. Not only is Integration one of the most detailed, fascinating technologies in the book, but it’s weaved into the storyline cleverly and is used to develop the plot and the Integrated characters.
In Labyrinths of Time, no one is safe from the power of the ancient relics that haunt the Andromeda galaxy. Readers are thrust back into the Song of Ancients series where magic, power, and secrecy dominate the characters they think they know so well and will remind them of why they’re revisiting the story. With time traveling that will give readers an adrenaline rush, Erickson masterfully intertwines magic, dream-like states, and technology to create a fantasy heaven.
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