Everything is unfair. No one understands her. She is alone in a friendless world. This is how young Sarah feels when she is left behind yet again by her father and hated step-mother to look after her baby brother Toby. Outside a storm is raging, inside Toby is screaming his head off; in a fit of temper Sarah wishes the goblins would come and take him away. Unfortunately they do.
Suddenly, Sarah is plunged into a whirlwind adventure. She must get Toby back from the centre of the mysterious labyrinth within thirteen hours – or else Jareth, the king of the goblins, will keep him forever. The journey is long and dangerous, and the odds are stacked against her. Can she rise to the first real challenge of her young life?
A.C.H. Smith, author of numerous novels and plays, including THE DARK CRYSTAL, has recreated all the excitement and magic, and has brought to life all the weird and wonderful characters of a brilliant film in this riveting novel.
I reviewed LABYRINTH on my book review website and, well, having re-read it, and not having read the book in a while, I’m just going to reproduce it here. It says everything I know I want to say about the book, including subtext. Lots and lots of subtext. You can find the original post here.
As Hollywood is wont to do now, because, apparently, they’ve smoked their creativity away, and adapt movies from books, it used to be heavily the other way around. I’m not sure how many movie novelizations have been made recently but they used to be very common. Labyrinth was one of them. The person writing the novelization really didn’t have too much creative license with what they were given but if they were given enough information, and had the talent, they could write an amazing adaptation of a movie.
I have The Lost Boys movie novelization and it’s one of the most skeletal, sterile books I own and the only reason I own it is because it’s Lost Boys. The author claims that he was basically given the script and told to turn it into a book. He didn’t have any insight into the characters, nothing, so he had to work with what he was given. I haven’t read any of his other books but, really, that writing doesn’t make me want to, either.
ACH Smith on the other hand wrote an amazing novelization that’s so rich in language that it would have fared just fine had the movie never existed. Not that I’m saying I don’t want the movie to exist. God, why would I do such a stupid thing? I’m just saying, the novelization’s really good.
Usually movie novelizations offer some “deleted scenes” that we don’t get to see in the movie. Labyrinth, however, stuck really closely to the final cut of the film with only minor deviations and much more internal workings. We’re able to get deeper into Sarah’s, Jareth’s and Hoggle’s heads than the movie could provide. Not to mention Smith didn’t hide from the subtext of sexual tension in the film in the book. It was right there for all to see on the pages, never mind Sarah was just 15 and the Goblin King, well, wasn’t. The book never does say how old Jareth is but David Bowie wasn’t even in the realm of legal to a 15 year old. Not that that stops the fanfiction writers any.
What I like about the book that the movie doesn’t touch on as much is the aspect of growing up. Sarah very much lives in a fantasy land and at 15, it can be argued that, maturity-wise, she’s a little behind because of it. But as the story goes on and her quest becomes more and more solid in her head and she carries that burden of responsibility, Sarah grows up. At the end of the movie, Sarah calls all her Labyrinth friends back to her and they come and they have a grand old time. In the book, one of the characters tells her, “Sometimes to need is to let go.” You can’t walk around with that security blanket for the rest of your life, right? Sure, you need it but, eventually, you have to let it go. She tells them she needs them, but they don’t come. She has to stand on her own now. It’s a much more adult ending. Or mature, I should say.
The book is just as rich and vibrant as the movie and Smith does an amazing job of recreating Jim Henson’s and Brian Froud’s world into words. Smith’s a very talented writer and his way around a character’s emotions is just astounding. The way he was able to get into their heads and make them three-dimensional even on the page makes me envious. Sure, it helps that I picture everything as clear as day as it is in the movie, and I’m slightly biased, but it’s a really good read regardless.
If you can find a copy of this book, hold onto it for dear life. It’s out of print and the copies available in various places are not by any means cheap. I was lucky enough to get my copy on eBay back before the website was anywhere near as popular as it is now so the competition was much lower. I don’t remember how much I paid for it but rest assured, I will cut you if you come near it.
Now one can’t mention the novelization without mentioning the official manga sequels. I don’t think I can accurately explain how ravenous I was to get these books in my hands. And I don’t even read manga. But LABYRINTH? I’m there.
The Goblin King has kept a watchful eye on Toby: his minions secretly guiding and protecting the child . . .
Legions of goblins work behind the scenes to ensure that Toby has whatever his heart desires . . .
Preparing him for the day when he will return to the Labyrinth and take his rightful place beside Jareth as the heir to the Goblin Kingdom . . .
That day has come . . .
. . . but no one has told Toby.
Secrets are revealed as the reign of power passes from one heir to another…Toby has been named the next Goblin King and Lord of the Labyrinth, and the goblins are in an uproar. As heir to Jareth’s throne, Toby hopes he can be more successful than he was in the human world, but first he must earn the respect of his subjects and learn to control the Labyrinth. His tutor in leadership and magic is Mizumi, the icy Queen of Moraine, but with each lesson, the young king finds himself drifting further away from his friends. Toby may have what it takes to rule this unruly kingdom, but at what cost?
For Toby, as it is for all who enter the Labyrinth, the way forward is sometimes the way back . . .Through danger untold and hardships unnumbered, Toby has finally arrived at the day of his coronation. But he is still unable to control the Labyrinth, treachery and deceit surround him, and worse yet – it’s become clear that some of his soon-to-be subjects are less than happy about his recent appointment. Toby will have to keep his wits about him and his friends by his side if he’s going to survive his first day as king!
Can Toby, the new Goblin King, find his way in an aimless Labyrinth before everything he cares about disappears like the shadows of a dream?All Toby Williams ever wanted was a purpose in life, which he thought he’d found when Jareth, the Goblin King, made him heir to the Labyrinth. But one should always be careful about what they wish for, as powerful forces still consider Toby a mere pawn. And he’s not the only one – Jareth hasn’t given up on his quest to dominate Toby’s sister, Sarah. Her dreams live on within the Labyrinth in the form of a masked girl named Moppet, who may very well hold the key to everything . . .
Original posting for my review of book one.
The only reason I had to read this book was because it’s the sanctioned sequel to the movie Labyrinth (dear god, may Hollywood be smart enough to NEVER touch that one). Yeah, it’s manga. Not my favorite thing. Angular people freak me out. But it’s Labyrinth so try it I must. Please keep in mind this is only the second manga I’ve read. The first being James Patterson’sMaximum Ride which I wasn’t fond of at all.But this one? This one I liked. A lot. The drawings weren’t so crazy angular, there wasn’t any of that weird movement-as-words thing going on like there was in Maximum Ride. Basically this didn’t come off as a rushed, scribbled piece of work. What was an already established world looked a lot like it did in the movie, which I really liked. It makes me think that Labyrinth is still alive.I’m not sure what they did with Sarah because she’s a bit mannish. Maybe she’s gone mousy. But from what I understand she plays a bigger role in the rest of the books so we’ll wait and see. Jareth was a bit too feminine. I get he was a little effeminate in the movie (he wore way too much blue eye shadow not to be) but in here he just looked like a chick, period. Especially when he was in his principal’s uniform. It was a little weird.I wasn’t too fond of the way Toby got into the Labyrinth. I felt it was a little too young for his character. He’s supposed to be something like 16 and he chased a goblin because it stole his homework? Weird. But overall I liked where the plot was going and I want to know more about Moppet. It’s nice that I can actually get all of the story from a manga; that I get what’s going on, the pictures compliment the plot instead of override it and it all works together.Ultimately I like being able to see what’s beyond the Labyrinth and Jareth’s throne room. There’s a greater world here and this book delves into that, which is awesome. If you’re a fan of Labyrinth, then you’re definitely going to want to add these to your collection. I liked this first one so much that I immediately bought the other three. I can’t wait to get to them! I still wish it was in a novelization because I would have liked it to have been more in depth but I’ll take this. The visuals work, the story works and I like where it’s going. What more do I need?
I read the first volume of this Labyrinth sequel while I was on vacation and pretty much as soon as I was done, I had to order the rest because I needed to see where these writers took the story and the world and I have to say, as a hardcore Labyrinth fan, I wasn’t disappointed.First a comment on the artwork. The covers are gorgeous. I don’t think there’s much denying that. The artwork within the pages itself, the one that tells the story, isn’t as beautiful (I just don’t think there was the room and I think it would have rocketed the cost of the book itself) but it really portrayed the world without being too angular anime-looking. The only characters that looked even remotely close to that angular look that kind of freaks me out was Toby, Jareth and that’s pretty much it. The rest of the humans had some slight angles but nothing serious and the rest of the creatures, the goblins and faeries and whatnot, looked like they did in the movie which was all sorts of awesome. I liked how the artist didn’t stray from that look too far.As far as the story goes, considering the interest Jareth took in Toby and Sarah in the movie, I felt that it was an almost natural progression to go where it ultimately went. I could have lived without the Ice Queen spurned by the Goblin King but what fantasy story would be anything without some good romantic conflict? Actually, it wasn’t all that great. It was okay and it served its purpose in the plot but really, I could have lived without it. I think the Queen consigned a little too easily at the end there, relinquishing her hold that she held so steadfastly to for so long. Maybe when she realized that she’ll never have him she felt why bother anymore. Hey, at least she realized it. It’s more than what a lot of chicks do in that situation.I loved the tie-in between Moppet and Sarah. I don’t want to spoil it because I was pretty shocked to find out just what Jareth did (I’ll give you a hint, it’s along the lines of Spike’s Buffy-bot, but not quite) but it suits his persona and the world as a whole. Yeah, as the Goblin King who totally doesn’t like getting pwned by a 15 year old girl, I could see him holding a grudge and taking it out on her like he did. I wish Sarah was a stronger character within the series, though. I kind of get why she wasn’t up until the end, but the correlation between the why there and her personality originally, they don’t match up. She was such a strong character that barely even considered taking the King’s offerings in the movie (she barely paused a second when he offered her his balls . . . er . . .). But in the story, she damn near concedes. I found that out of character for her even outside of her character transformation.As I said above, I could have lived without the Queen being there, especially her two daughters, although I liked what they ended up being. And associated to that, how they were their own individuals despite the circumstances (read the books, you’ll know what I’m talking about, I’m trying not to spoil). The chubby one was just obnoxious and I was kind of glad when she was taken out of the picture. The emo one, I kind of like the 180 she did but ultimately, I didn’t feel her being there all that important to the story as a whole except functioning more as a guide. And there are plenty of other creatures in the Labyrinth that could have done that. I did like how the story branched out beyond the Labyrinth and created other kingdoms but I think it could have been melded together differently.At the end of the day, Toby’s story was the one I kept pushing to the side because I wanted to know more about Sarah and Moppet. All of the teasers that centered around them were just too juicy to resist. I mean, it’s not that I didn’t like Toby’s tale, but it’s a pretty standard one. A hint of Chosen One Syndrome with a bit of coming of age mixed in. His surroundings were kind of cool but other than that, I wasn’t too interested. Let’s face it: I wanted more Jareth and Sarah. So I kept reading for that.While I think I would have liked to have seen actual novelizations over manga, I still liked the visuals and I was able to follow along with the story just fine. These books are a definite keeper if you’re a Labyrinth fan. And you’d better hurry up. Pretty soon they’ll be nothing but a dream (or a costly keepsake) soon enough. No, really. BN doesn’t list them at all and Borders only has the last two in the series. So snag them while they’re cheap. You’ll be kicking yourself if you wait and end up paying $200 a pop like the movie novelization is.