Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth Review

I’m about halfway done with Naughty Dog’s newest masterpiece, The Last of Us, so I figured I’d post a review of the Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth novel that I read. For anyone finishing up Last of Us, or simply missing some Nate Drake, this book might be for you:

340xPeople are often nervous when it comes to novels based on video games. In the past, they’ve never really been fantastic. However, Del Ray Publishing seems to have figured out a way to be successful. Their Gears of War books are quality reads that add a great deal to the Gears of War background. In lieu of that, I was hopeful for Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth. I wasn’t disappointed.

Christopher Golden clearly has a good sense of what makes an Uncharted game work. We’re introduced to Nate and Sully right away and are immediately thrust into the action. In U:tFL Nate and Sully are tasked with helping Sully’s goddaughter Jada after her father is found murdered and stuffed in a steamer trunk. Their investigation takes them to Egypt, where they are confronted with the mysteries of Daedelus and his famous labyrinths. There’s more to the labyrinths than first meets the eye, and like any good Uncharted story, there’s a bit of the supernatural thrown in for good measure.

Golden’s narrative is really solid, and the story just “feels” like Uncharted. Nate Drake has always been a bit Indiana Jones, a bit Dirk Pitt, and that flavor is maintained here. Nate isn’t the intellectual that Jones is, but maintains his good-natured bravado throughout the story. The interactions Golden crafts between Jada and Drake are also very good; it’s different than those with his previous female protagonists, but that’s not a bad thing.

The novel misses a bit of the charm the video games employ, but that’s mostly due to so much of Drake’s character being sold by his voice actor Nolan North. I still heard North’s voice while reading Nate’s dialogue, but it is a missing aspect. Also, the end of the story came a bit too abruptly for me. Like the other Uncharted stories, there is some really great historical intrigue going on in the story, it just comes to too short an end.

Overall, I really enjoyed Uncharted: The Fourth Labyrinth. Christopher Golden does a really great job of keeping the `feel’ of Uncharted alive in a novel, and Nate Drake continues to be one of my favorite treasure hunters in modern media. If Del Rey chooses to publish another Uncharted novel, you can be sure I’ll pick it up.

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