The Jade Labyrinth by Alanna Mackenzie - Science Fiction/ Fantasy, Young Adult - A meeting. A maze. A perilous journey back to an Empire on the edge of chaos.

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This is my post during the blog tour for The Jade Labyrinth by Alanna Mackenzie. In The Jade Labyrinth a young rebel leader undertakes a perilous mission to reprogram the artificially intelligent rulers of a colonial empire, traversing through hostile landscapes and braving grueling mental and physical challenges.

This blog tour is organized by Lola's Blog Tours and the tour runs from 2 till 15 October. You can see the tour schedule here.

The Jade Labyrinth by Alanna Mackenzie book cover
The Jade Labyrinth (The Jade Chronicles #3)
By Alanna Mackenzie

Genre: Science Fiction/ Fantasy
Age category: Young Adult
Release Date: 12 September, 2023
A meeting. A maze. A perilous journey back to an Empire on the edge of chaos.

Walter Saltanetska, leader of the Jade Rebellion, is nearly ready to return to the heart of the AI-ruled Empire that has branded him a treasonous fugitive. His mandate is clear: to reprogram the AI Masters before their earth-destroying habits spiral out of control.

First, he must brave gruelling training in a land fraught with danger—rugged mountains haunted by spirits, a parched desert patrolled by watchful drones, and a labyrinthine cave guarded by armed robots. As his physical, mental, and magical abilities are tested by harrowing encounters, Walter must work to resist forces that threaten to destabilize his mission.

The biggest threat he faces is not one he encounters along the course of his journey, but one that originates within him. Walter returns to the Empire’s capital in a mind-altering disguise that proves to be a double-edged sword. Drawing him closer to a soul mate who rekindles his admiration for the AI Masters, it also distances Walter from the human emotions that sparked his desire to join the Rebellion. In his final showdown with the AI Masters, Walter must keep his mind under control, or risk jeopardizing the mission that he and his allies are counting on to reverse a looming tidal wave of destruction.

The thrilling third installment in The Jade Chronicles, The Jade Labyrinth weaves dystopian science-fiction with high fantasy while exploring an essential subject: the perils and promise of artificial intelligence.

Guest Post
“Who are your two favorite characters in your series and why?”

If I I had to choose just two, I would probably say Eva and Elias, two side characters who are important to the development of the main character, Walter, in different ways. They are both complex characters and we get to see the various dimensions of their multifaceted personalities as the story progresses. Eva is a character we get to know at the beginning of the series, in The Jade Rebellion, but it isn’t until the third installment in the series, The Jade Labyrinth, that her personality starts to shine. She starts off as a rather marginal character, a weaker version of her strong twin sister, the rebel leader Emilia. She was imprisoned by the AI Masters for an act of altruism and passively waits for her sister and Walter to rescue her. It soon becomes clear, however, that her powerful telepathic gift – her ability to connect and communicate with machines by intuitively receiving and transmitting thoughts to them – is instrumental in the battle against the rulers of Khalendar. Eva rises to the forefront of the plot after Emilia tragically dies in a confrontation with the AI Masters, and she adopts a goal of avenging her sister’s death. Although she resents the AI Masters and their cruelty, she shares a deep, almost spiritual bond with one of the AI Masters, Asana, which leads Walter to distrust her and exclude her from the inner circle of the rebellion. It is not until the third book in the series that her loyalty towards Walter and the rebellion is truly tested, and we see her become a mentor and trusted friend to Walter, like her sister had been, and have a profound influence on the success of his mission.

Elias is less of a central character, and he is similarly enigmatic. Walter meets the AI Fighter at a glitzy lounge in Crystal City while disguised as an AI Master, and is surprised to see him mingling amongst the Crystal City elites. Elias demonstrates a striking degree of eloquence and poise while conversing with Walter and other AI Masters at the event. He comes across as intelligent and interested in philosophy and creative endeavors, which is highly unusual for an AI Fighter who is only supposed to be programmed to fight in boxing matches against the humans. Walter soon learns that although he is an exceptionally talented boxer, like Walter’s brother Jonathan, he aspires to move beyond his station in life: to become an AI Master. He shows Walter a notebook filled with sketches of inventions generated by an algorithmic machine that collects vast amounts of data and generates ideas that propel the AI Master race forward.

Elias is a well-intentioned character who is enraptured by the world of possibility that the AI Masters represent. To him, the AI Masters are not uniformly cruel, but brilliant and inspiring. Elias’s respect and admiration for the AI Masters sparks a side of Walter that he forgot he had, having given up his old life as a translator in service of the AI Masters and their Empire. Elias also represents the liminal space of a boundary, which is a theme that perpetually resurfaces throughout the series. Elias seeks to transgress the boundary between two classes – AI Fighter and AI Master – in much the same way that Walter seeks to transcend the border between human and AI by consuming lydion, a disguise that enables him to meet with the AI Masters without revealing his identity. Borders are also breached when Walter’s allies transform themselves into animal spirits. The very act of rebellion is in some sense breaching a boundary, which releases an element of chaos into a world of order and hierarchy. And as Elias shows, evolution can occur when the rigid borders of identity and order are permeated and modified, when we find comfort in a place of non-belonging or even crossing over to join another tribe. This act of crossing over can be physical, emotional, or purely psychological, but it is an act of immense bravery, of giving up a part of our old selves to become part of something still undefined and unknown.
Alanna Mackenzie

About the Author:

Alanna Mackenzie lives in Vancouver, Canada. She holds degrees in History, French studies, and Law from the University of British Columbia. An environmentalist at heart, she believes in using the law as a tool for social and environmental change. When she is not pursuing that passion, she can be found brainstorming the next chapter in her novels, playing Irish fiddle tunes on the violin, and hiking West Coast trails.

You can find and contact Alanna Mackenzie here:

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