Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth Review

November 23, 2011 by  
Filed under Reviews & Features, Novels, Other

Author: Christopher Golden

Publisher: Titan Books  

Genre: Science Fiction, Thriller

Release Date: 4th Oct 2011  

RRP: £6.99

The Uncharted series is well known for its strong cast of characters, its explosive set-pieces and its sense of adventure. For a novel to combine all of these elements and introduce a completely original Uncharted story, well let me just say that the rise of video game novels has been a welcome one.

Uncharted: The fourth Labyrinth, penned by Christopher Golden, takes popular characters such as Nathan “Nate” Drake and Victor “Sully” Sullivan and places them into the written form. Golden’s skill has captured the father and son-like relationship and often amusing banter between the two characters, and I literally could almost hear Nolan North’s (Drake’s voice actor) sarcastic tones as each witty remark is delivered deftly across the pages.

The story sees a friend of Sully, a famous archaeologist, murdered. And Nate and Sully want to get to the bottom of it, with Nate agreeing to help his old friend out. Also dragged into the story is the grieving Jada Hzujak, the daughter of the murdered man, and goddaughter to Sully. Uncharted is known for its strong female characters, and Jada fits the bill. True, it becomes a little annoying constantly hearing that her hair is magenta, although you do soon come to realise that this is one of the defining things of her appearance. As a character she’s likeable enough, and fits well with the other humorous characters, with each playing off another well.

There are also some decent villains in there, but obviously, being Uncharted, they’re as clichéd as they come. Speaking of Uncharted, this is one book that will definitely more appeal to the fan than anyone else. It’s self contained enough, although when you don’t even have a clear description of the main character’s appearance, you just know who the target audience are. Sadly, those expecting a more thorough fleshing out of Drake’s background will be disappointed.

As it should be, The Fourth Labyrinth is an adventure story. There’s action and mystery as Drake and company attempt to find out why Hzujak was murdered, uncovering a puzzle involving labyrinths, with the action taking place in cities such as Egypt and Greece. There’s assassins and more for the characters to contend with, and the action is described well enough, if a little lacking in big, overblown, film-like set-pieces. This is something that the games have done so well.

But there’s much to like in this novel, with mystery, history, action, adventure, humour and story twists – all ingredients that Uncharted fans have come to expect. Christopher Golden has done a tremendous job with capturing the feeling as to what makes an Uncharted game, but in the written form. I would be overjoyed to hear of the announcement of more Uncharted novels from this author.