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By Carol on 08-27-12
Despair and Failure at Every Turn
Although it's usually enhanced by nobility and romance, the essence of the Camelot legend is pretty bleak. Despite that I've always been a fan, and was unprepared for just what a downer this rendition is.
Told (obviously) from Mordred's point of view, there is no gallantry or romance here. From beginning to end this narrative just gets more and more depressing. Determined to foil the prophecy that he will kill his father, King Arthur, Mordred's every action only brings the prophecy's fulfillment closer. In a nightmare spiral, whatever he tries to do, Mordred winds up in a worse place than where he started. Despair and failure meet him at every turn.
We never glimpse Camelot's "one brief shining moment." Instead of honorable knights, we get renegades who lop each others' heads off for no discernible reason. I kept going, thinking that there *must* be an epiphany around the corner, the ray of hope that underlies most renditions of this legend. I suppose some would consider the book's brief Epilogue hopeful, but I didn't.
Definitely not recommended unless you like feeling suicidal.
4 of 4 people found this review helpful
By breckoz on 02-21-13
You Can't Escape Fate
This is sort of an alternate reality telling of the mythological tale of Camelot through the perspective of Mordred. While I liked the idea of changing the protagonists around, making Merlin the evil one, and casting Mordred in a good light, I found the story a little lacking. I thought the author did an alright job making you want to root for Mordred, a man desperate to prove he isn't a villain, and show casing an unjust world. A warning however, this telling does shatter the good and noble view you get from many stories involving knights in camelot. The author gives mention to gender bias, cruel knights who go around like assassins killing people without much explanation to why, and a harsh reality where a king has little freedom and must commit horrible acts for the good of the kingdom. The big problem for me in this tale was it jumped and everything was a bit rushed. Nancy Springer had a chance to make this a great story in this alternate reality and surprise us all. But it seems like no one can escape fate. Mordred spends most his time worrying about how he might change his prophesied ending where he must meet Arthur on the battle field. It would have been nice if there were a little more focus on Mordred's life and if it was not so depressing all the time. By the end years of his life were skipped through and we get a half assed ending. I guess for what it is meant to be it was alright, but I wanted more.
1 of 1 people found this review helpful