Review of The Devil's Labyrinth by John Saul
By: Stephanie Bardy

Look at me! Write a book, a few short stories and now I think I can review a book. Well, I can, so there! The book I have chosen is one of my favorites. I love to hate it, and hate that I love it. If you have ready anything by John Saul, you know he is the master of the page turner, and The Devil's Labyrinth is no different. It grips you from the very first page, and holds you. There aren't any boring parts, but, there also aren't very many answers.

The basis of the story is a young boy, Ryan, goes to a Catholic school for problem-kids. In this school is Father Sebastian, someone who is able to conjure the bad or evils spirits from the children, beyond what your basic old fashioned exorcism can do. He uses some old sacred unknown method deep within the bowels of the school, hidden away from everyone else. It almost gives you the feel that it isn't very Catholic.

Each page brings something new, another level to the suspense and over all scariness of the story. But, with each page, it also brings up more and more questions, that, as you read towards the end, seem to loom larger than the creepy thing down in the basement of the school.

If it's a school for problem kids, why aren't there more problems? They all seem well adjusted normal teen aged kids. So that plot line has a few holes.

Then you have this ancient realm of magic that Father Sebastian is using. No where does it every explain where it comes from, or what the actual origin of the texts he is reading, are from. Are they old Catholic missives? Ancient Sumerian? Hebrew? You never find out.

The book does a lot of background on the school, Father Sebastian, and the plot line of the story, but once you reach the end you are left with questions regarding the whole set up.

Speaking of the ending, it doesn't make any sense within the realm of the whole story. It doesn't fit, and as a writer, and an editor, I felt it was rushed. There is this big build up, the whole ritual involving Melody and then bam, it's done, and Ryan is back with his mother and the guide. Was it all a dream? A figment of his imagination? Did he go back in time? Was it a premonition? We know that the crucifix was meant to save him, but from what?

I have to give this book a 2 out of 5 star rating for the simple fact that I was left with more questions then answers and it wasn't a series so I never got the answers. I was left unsatisfied. I hate being left unsatisfied. It's a good read over all, but be warned, the ending feels like it belongs to another much longer story.

Stephanie J Bardy

Editor in Chief and Temporary Book Reviewer