“The Labyrinth’s Archivist” Review

The side of person's face takes up the top left corner of the cover across the top and down to the bottom. They are dark skinned with gold tones and various shapes and designs on their skin. Their eyes are mostly closed and the face is looking downwards. Rest of the cover is black with circle shapes visible. The title is arranged sideways on the right side of the cover and the authors name is at the bottom. Written by Day Al-Mohamed
Published by Falstaff Books, July 2019
132 pages
Completed September 10, 2023

Walking the Labyrinth and visiting hundreds of other worlds; seeing so many new and wonderful things – that is the provenance of the travelers and traders, the adventurers and heroes. Azalea has never left her home city, let alone the world. Her city, is at the nexus of many worlds with its very own “Hall of Gates” and her family are the Archivists. They are the mapmakers and the tellers of tales. They capture information on all of the byways, passages and secrets of the Labyrinth. Gifted with a perfect memory, Azalea can recall every story she ever heard from the walkers between worlds. She remembers every trick to opening stubborn gates, and the dangers and delights of hundreds of worlds. But Azalea will never be a part of her family’s legacy. She cannot make the fabled maps of the Archivists because she is blind.

The Archivist’s “Residence” is a waystation among worlds. It is safe, comfortable and with all food and amenities provided. In exchange, of course, for stories of their adventures and information about the Labyrinth, which will then be transcribed for posterity and added to the Great Archive. But now, someone has come to the Residence and is killing off Archivists using strange and unusual poisons from unique worlds whose histories are lost in the darkest, dustiest corners of the Great Archive. As Archivists die, one by one, Azalea is in a race to find out who the killer is and why they are killing the Archivists, before they decide she is too big a threat to leave alive.

I really enjoyed this story – the characters were great and I liked how the main character’s disability was used in the story – Azalea is a great character all around. The murder mystery was interesting and I enjoyed how it all played out. It may have been a bit predictable who was the actual killer but it was still fun reading it. I liked the fact that Azalea’s grandmother had the same gift if perfect memory and it wasn’t played as if it was a compensation for her being blind – it was a thing other characters may or may not have regardless of disability or not.