Maze: Daughter of Darkness Part Two by Katya Mills Book Review

Maze, available at Amazon, is Part 2 in The Daughter of Darkness book series by Katya Mills. Your need to read the first is mitigated by a number of factors, not least that we learn about the origins of two of the main characters in the series here.

There’s a conceit in superhero movies and comics related to how the hero is created by the villain, or perhaps by some huge adversity. In versions of these tales:
-Spiderman gets his powers from a genetically enhanced spider bred by a nefarious corporation run by the Green Goblin’s alter ego
-Tony Stark becomes Iron Man when he’s kidnapped by terrorists and compelled to build the very suit which helps destroy them
-and Batman’s origins stem from the death of his parents at the hands of the Joker.
Maze by Katya Mills is available at Amazon
Maze by Katya Mills

Katya Mill’s Maze features the origin stories for Kell and Maze, both of whom are main characters in Mills’ books about DeLux ("Of Light") creatures who live among us, masquerading as human. These beings feed off human fear. Like vampires, they can choose to simply take what they need, they can leave their victims fearless, or they can suckle on their human victims until they die.

Kell discovers her essence as DeLux through what she sees of her uncles; like a pack of dogs who are fully domesticated in the house, once they leave family life, they go hunting at night for their human prey. Kell flees her borderland Texas home in horror.

Maze – the heroine’s love interest – is somewhat more self-created, discovering his true nature in his pubescence, in a less affluent area of Los Angeles. But he too has been forced to flee an oppressive father, once his mother determines that he has inherited her recessive gifts.

There are touches of the epic in these events. They feature incidents that could fit into modern-day versions of the heroic flight of Aeneas, or Odysseus’ efforts to return to Ithaca. 

There’s a Tom Bombadil type choral character in Kell’s backstory, an old man with a clubfoot, who brings insight to her about her family. I’d like to see more of him.

Indeed, the writing is such well-crafted, literary stuff that if the novel has a failing, it’s that Mills seems to throw away some fine details in a single line. But when there’s so much going on, it’s irrelevant which aspects are focused on and which aren’t.

There are wonderful dynamics developed between the characters; the jealousy over who gives a massage, shared love of ice cream, and establishment of how characters dislike and distrust each other.
But this novel ends on a climactically powerful low note with a snake motif. There is friction in Ame’s tight little group, and - as villainy becomes apparent - Maze may be considered the Empire Strikes Back of the series so far.
You are likely to never read anything quite like this.
You can buy Maze at Amazon UK and Amazon US.
Katya Mills is on Twitter. Much of her incandescent web presence is curated by this great scribe here and here.