Any good fantasy adventure involves a quest – and a good young adult fantasy is no exception. Such a journey, when fueled with strong characterization and injected with a sense of urgency, can also translate to a powerful read for adult audiences as well – but in order to do so, the tale needs to present the ‘bigger picture’ above and beyond the usual teen perspective of her/his world – and The Labyrinth of Time achieves this goal with satisfying twists of plot that keep all ages involved.
It all began in 2008 (the origins of this story, not the saga itself) when T.W. Fendley toured Peru and absorbed much of its culture and exotic atmosphere. No ordinary sojourn, this journey was promoted as “a tour like no other”, and indeed, a survey of the lesser-known Library of Stone Books of Ica inspired much of the events of The Labyrinth of Time.
One intriguing preface note, before delving into the novel inspired by Fendley’s Peruvian trip: “If you Google “Stones of Ica,” you will find many people in the Wiki-universe consider them a hoax. If that’s the case, kudos to the enterprising farmer who shared his fiction by engraving the story on more than eleven thousand stones.”
Teen Jade is spending spring break with her grandmother in Peru: not exactly her idea of a great time, until she hooks up with a museum director’s son and discovers they share telepathic abilities that allow them access to a past world. Summer just got a whole lot more interesting – but wait, there’s more!
The message they uncover from an ancient Earth leads them on an unexpected journey through the Labyrinth of Time in search of a mysterious red crystal that could change the world. Jade’s mission is to rescue and restore the Firestone before it’s too late.
All this is narrated in the first person, which allows readers to absorb, from a personal perspective, the events which transpire; from Jade’s revelations about her grandmother’s spiritual beliefs and their unusual origins in heritage and circumstance to her own newfound task to bring enlightenment into the world before the second Light returns to correct the growing imbalance between Earth and the heavens.
Mind you: this isn’t a task involving all humans. Jade learns that in such a scenario even one can make all the difference: “If even one person’s vibration is sufficient to join us, all will be spared. Otherwise, this world must be destroyed.”
Readers will admire Jade’s ability to persevere and overcome against all odds, and in the process the girl that Jade was at the beginning of summer is tasked with changing, also. New bonds are formed, new goals are created, and Jade ultimately finds newfound purpose in life as a result of the choices she must make.
To call The Labyrinth of Time a ‘young adult read’ may be accurate – but to limit its audience to such would be a shame. Many an adult will find Jade’s feisty personality and perseverance in the face of much adversity just the ticket for a rainy day, and will realize that Jade’s evolution embraces all the facets of a life well lived: spiritual concerns, a touch of romance, family connections, and struggles with outside forces beyond one’s control.
Readers with a touch of New Age spiritual inclination will especially find that the story reaches out and touches them, and while Christian-based readers may struggle with some of the concepts, ultimately it’s a thought-provoking, enlightening, and entertaining read all in one package, tailored for teens but holding the ability to reach through time, space and age groups for much wider audience. The Labyrinth of Time keeps its eye firmly on the bigger pictures of life – and that’s what makes it a stand out.