23 October 2013

Indie Review: The Maze by Jason Brannon

Christian Allegory in the style of Pilgrim's Progress

Jamie Burroughs is a family man, happily married with a young son. But one day he is faced with temptation in the form of a very attractive ex-girlfriend, and he somehow finds himself in a supernatural maze that’s a manifestation of his life, complete with monsters and a dawning realisation that he’s not going to get out of this alive.

It is significant (although not stated) that Jamie’s life is symbolised by a maze, not a labyrinth. A labyrinth has only one path (unlike in the movie) and can be seen as symbolic of some spiritual journey. A maze has multiple paths, many of which lead to dead ends. Jamie is most definitely in a maze, one that he may never escape.

Jamie is a man who has made many mistakes in his life (so he’s pretty normal) and The Maze is designed so he can see the consequences of these sins and iniquities. He wasn’t a likeable or sympathetic character, which made it hard to care about his predicament. This wasn’t helped by a plot that moved from the realm of fantasy into the downright unbelievable and meant I was never able to forget that this was just a story.

While there was good use of language, the writing could have been stronger. Jamie talks to himself (which I found annoying), there was a lot of redundant language, I wasn’t comfortable with the reference to karma in a story from a Christian publisher, and I found the shifts between first person and third person took me out of the story. This made it difficult to believe The Maze was real (I suspected it might have been a dream), and meant I wasn’t convinced Jamie was in real peril.

The Maze was full of Christian symbolism and allegory in the same way as classic novels such as The Pilgrim's Progress and Hinds Feet on High Places. But neither of those novels attracted me as stories, and I had the same problem with The Maze. In addition, I never engaged with Jamie as a character, and that made it hard to empathise with his situation.

Thanks to the author for providing a free ebook for review. You can find out more about Jason Brannon at his website.

No comments:

Post a Comment