maze of worldsBrian Lumley
Tor
1998

Maze Of Worlds is the sequel to 1990’s The House Of Doors; in the UK, it was under the title The House Of Doors: The Second Visit…which, I’m rather glad they went with Maze of Worlds for the release here in the States. Even though that title is a bit of a misnomer than the more accurate UK title. Lemme explain.

With a title like Maze of Worlds, you might be thinking that the concept of the first book would be expounded upon, going through various different dimensions and various other alien “houses” and having to dodge new enemies that were hinted at in the first novel, rather than rehash virtually the same plot of the first, with many of the same characters with only a couple of new ones, in the same circumstances, with massive amounts of deja-vu hitting your head like so much rotten produce. And this is exactly what Maze Of Worlds is: A rehash of The House of Doors, with the same characters (and archetypes), only a small handful of new characters substituting for the original ones that weren’t written into the story, the same villain, and while the newer antagonists that were hinted at in the ending of the first novel do show up at the beginning, putting three different Houses of Doors, the majority of the adventure is spent in the original re-activated castle from the first novel, going through the same scenarios as the last time, and even going so far as having the characters talk at length about the last time they were there. In other words, Maze of Worlds was a massively wasted opportunity, with a reheated plot with just a bit of different kind of garnishing to make things seem different.

Look, I enjoy me some Lumely. I really do. And the first novel was enjoyable. It’s just that, after reading Maze of Worlds, I got the sense that I could have just skipped it, because I had already read the first one. Not a total waste, but could have been something more than just warmed-up leftovers.

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