Labyrinth’s Heart – M.A. Carrick

Labyrinth's Heart by M.A. Carrick
Also by this author: The Mask of Mirrors, The Liar’s Knot
Series: Rook & Rose #3
Published by Orbit on August 15, 2023
Genres: Fiction, Fantasy
Buy on Amazon

“Lush, engrossing and full of mystery and dark magic" (BookPage), Labyrinth's Heart is the thrilling conclusion to M. A. Carrick's Rook & Rose trilogy, in which a con artist, a vigilante, and a crime lord become reluctant allies in the quest to save their city from a dangerous ancient magic.
May you see the face and not the mask.
Ren came to Nadežra with a plan. She would pose as the long-lost daughter of the noble house Traementis. She would secure a fortune for herself and her sister. And she would vanish without a backward glance. She ought to have known that in the city of dreams, nothing is ever so simple.
Now, she is Ren, con-artist and thief. But she is also Renata, the celebrated Traementis heir. She is Arenza, the mysterious pattern-reader and political rebel. And she is the Black Rose, a vigilante who fights alongside the legendary Rook.
Even with the help of Grey Serrado and Derossi Vargo, it is too many masks for one person to wear. And as the dark magic the three of them helped unleash builds to storm that could tear the very fabric of the city apart, it's only a matter of time before one of the masks slips—and everything comes crashing down around them.

When I saw Labyrinth’s Heart by M.A. Carrick was FINALLY available on NetGalley, I squealed like an excited puppy with a new toy. I read The Liar’s Knot in 2021. Since the day I finished it, I have been waiting for the trilogy’s final book. M.A. Carrick did not disappoint. Labyrinth’s Heart was everything I could have hoped for. This day should be recorded in history, though. Because perhaps for the first time since I started reading fantasy novels as a child, MY FAVORITE CHARACTER DID NOT DIE. I could hardly believe it. Labyrinth’s Heart is an inimitable, thought-out, and incredibly dense addition to anyone’s fantasy library.

I reread the other two books of the “Rook & Rose” trilogy prior to beginning Labyrinth’s Heart, as I have read…many novels since 2021. If I hadn’t, I probably would have been okay with the summary the authors’ provided. But I am so glad I dove back into Carrick’s world, as it reminded me why I loved it in the first place. When reading the series, I wasn’t just reading. I was experiencing, transported into Nadežra through Carrick’s words. The authors succeed again with Labyrinth’s Heart. It has the same personality, same thrill, same humor, and same effects on my heart. Each character continues to grow—even Alsius!—and each one leaves me feeling all sorts of emotions. Warmth. Affection. Disbelief. Anticipation. Worry. Few authors pull reactions out of me, but Carrick does it. To the point I literally shook, pacing back and forth from one side of my kitchen to the other because I couldn’t read.

Labyrinth’s Heart wraps up every piece of “Rook & Rose.” Every question answered and every conclusion reached. After the epilogue, Carrick had me smiling because I was content. No furrowed brows from confusion. I didn’t ask myself, “Really?” or “Wait, what about this?” If I had my choice, I wouldn’t leave these characters behind, as I loved all of them, and I adored their stories—their pasts and their presents. I wish I could know their futures, but I guess I’ll have to let my imagination do its work!

This was probably my least favorite of the trilogy. Instead of having one or two climaxes, Labyrinth’s Heart had ten. My heart never got a break. What I thought would be the “BIG FINALE” happened 70-75% through the book, and I asked, “What more could there be?” For me, Labyrinth’s Heart had too much. It could have been two books. I still LOVED Labyrinth’s Heart by M.A. Carrick. It is a beautiful work of fantasy, and I’d still recommend the “Rook & Rose” trilogy to anyone who loves the genre. The final novel, however, was too full. Overflowing with plot points and questions answered to the point everything almost overwhelmed me.

I still want a Derossi Vargo in my life, please. And a Ren, Tess, Sedge, and Grey Serrado. Labyrinth’s Heart exemplifies that you don’t need “good” characters to be the main characters or the heroes. The morally gray ones may be even better!

*Disclaimer: The series does feature some crude language and LGBTQ+ themes.