Rating: 4 stars
Buy Link:
Amazon | iBooks | Amazon UK
Length: Novel


Theseus is a bounty hunter with a broken heart. Some part of him will probably always love Phae, which is why it has been so hard for him to let her go, despite knowing they’ll never be more than friends. It’s especially hard because they’re still friendly, still have some chemistry. When Theseus bumps into Phae after celebrating a particularly well-paying hunt, he has a choice: wallow in knowing what he’s missing or take on yet another big job. When Theseus checks what’s currently on offer, he is drawn to an obscenely high-paying job with an exceedingly odd target—a man named Taur, who is at once extremely dangerous, but also listed as being three years old. Intrigued, Theseus takes the job.

Thanks to the intense training he and his siblings received, Taur knows as much as any other fully grown adult and quite possibly more. Taur’s earliest memories may have been mostly positive, but for him and his siblings, the most formative parts of their lives were devastatingly punishing. Pushed beyond their limits, all twelve siblings made a daring escape that left them scattered to the winds. Knowing that his handlers will hunt him down, Taur is only interested in making it to a predetermined rendezvous point to regroup with his siblings. Too bad he meets a hunter named Theseus who is determined to cash in on an outlandishly rich reward Taur’s handlers are offering for his return. All too soon, however, Theseus and Taur realize that the shadowy organization that created Taur isn’t interested in paying a bounty hunter to retrieve Taur, as they are desperate to keep this top secret project secret…by any means necessary. As Theseus and Taur both run for their lives, they find help and solace in the most unlikely of places, all while coming to realize there is a strangely strong bond growing between them. But can that bond withstand the stress of truly freeing Taur from his past?

Labyrinthian is a semi-dystopian space opera set in a fictional world full of space travel, bounty hunting, and alien species. The “semi” in “semi-dystopian” comes from the idea that there is a semblance of intergalactic order and travel, but over the course of the book, Theseus and Taur realize that if an organization is powerful enough to chase Taur and his siblings around the known universe, then it’s at least got the backing of the intergalactic government. The story focuses on Taur’s ordeal, the relationship that develops between Taur and Theseus, and Theseus learning to let go of his old flame, who also happens to be along for much of the ride in the story.

I first read Labyrinthian years ago and was interested in seeing how this revised and republished version stacks up. The plot flows very smoothly for most of the story and it felt like there was more attention to the development of Taur and Theseus’ relationship. I really liked how Theseus is still mourning his defunct romance with Phae and that I was able to follow him as he goes through the process of letting go of that chapter of his life (while Phae is still very much present in the story). There are a few angsty moments where Taur feels like he’ll never mean as much to Theseus as Phae did. To balance that out, Theseus learns that the connection Taur has to his siblings is incredibly strong. I didn’t get the impression that Theseus feels threatened or jealous over Taur’s closeness to his siblings, but there were moments where the narrative made me wonder if Taur was capable of forming an emotionally intimate connection with someone who wasn’t family. That specific sentiment didn’t really get addressed head on, but I didn’t mind too much for two reasons. One, the connection Taur has with his siblings is obviously not the same kind of connection he has with Theseus. Two, there is a scene where Taur’s actions speak to the depth of his feelings for Theseus.

Another interesting aspect of the story is that Taur is literally three years old chronologically. To be clear, he thinks, acts, and appears to be a twenty- or thirty-something adult, but he was literally created in a lab three years prior to the events in this story starting. The details are conveyed in about two sentences, but basically the team that created Taur and his siblings were able to control their physical and mental development. Theseus and Taur still have to contend with the fact that Taur is completely inexperienced and sex ed wasn’t really a priority for a team of scientists training 12 siblings to be elite fighting machines. For Taur, he’s not sure what love is and what it feels like. As he begins to realize he is attracted to Taur and they being to explore a physical relationship, the people chasing him and Taur’s self-assigned mission to find is siblings means that the romance between him and Theseus ends up taking a back seat often.

Overall, this was an exciting romance that explored different kinds of emotional intimacy and really focused on how the MCs grow over the course of the story. The shadow organization is a constant threat, but sparingly described, so the action and emotion stays centered on Theseus and Taur. If you like space operas, opposites-attract, and a bit of a physical age gap, then I think you’ll enjoy what Labyrinthian has to offer.