Thrilling and Touching

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ckmcclain Avatar


Diana Urban has woven together a tale, both thrilling and touching, of the experience of navigating the confusing maze of life and relationships, perfectly juxtaposed with literally being trapped in the terrifying labyrinth of the Parisian catacombs.

Ruby Hale is an incredibly relatable character. We see her struggle with her relationships and her thoughts on relationships—both platonic and romantic, as well as her internal relationship with herself.

I also must say I loved Julien as a character. I had so much internal back and forth about his intentions and whether or not he was a "good guy" or "bad guy." I loved that suspense, and was held in that suspense throughout the entire story, right up until the point of the final, definitive reveal.

Urban's writing style also works perfectly for this story. Obviously, there are references and concepts that will be more relatable to younger readers, but there are also so many concepts that are relatable to all, regardless of age. For example, after we see Ruby repeatedly wrestle with thoughts on the futility of life, brought on by the constant, oppressive presence of death that surrounds her in the catacombs, we get this gem of an inner monologue:

"We're this moment. And the last. And every memory we've ever made. Every recording. Every note. Everything we've created and the lives we've touched. We're our choices, our bravery, our sacrifices. We're forgiveness and strength and the tears we've shed. We're the friendships we've built and the love we've shared. Time might go on without us and our cells might wither to dust, but that doesn't diminish our existence. We all leave a mark on this world."*

As someone who has struggled with many of the same struggles Ruby faces (catacomb adventures not included), I found her journey to be touching and, quite frankly, beautiful.

*NOTE: This review is based on uncorrected text from the Advance Readers Copy.