Release Date: May 1, 2007
Received: Purchased copy
Rating: 3 out of 5 stars
The year is 490 AD. Fiery 16-year-old Elaine of Ascolat, the daughter of one of King Arthur's supporters, lives with her father on Arthur's base camp, the sole girl in a militaristic world of men. Elaine's only girl companion is the mysterious Morgan, Arthur's older sister, but Elaine cannot tell Morgan her deepest secret: She is in love with Lancelot, Arthur's second-in-command. However, when yet another girl -- the lovely Gwynivere-- joins their world, Elaine is confronted with startling emotions of jealousy and rivalry. But can her love for Lancelot survive the birth of an empire?
I don’t like verse novels
I should say right off the bat, I really dislike poetry. This is one of those "Smart Points" I should lie about and say I totally love poetry, right? Oh well. Abstract poetry annoys me. I can tolerate the poems that tell stories, but I always end up wishing they had been written as a novel or short story instead. So verse novels? Not my thing at all.
If I’m going to read a verse novel, there has to be something really compelling about it. In this case, it was the combination of Arthurian retelling and that beautiful cover. I’m a sucker for both of those things.
As far as verse novels go, I liked this one well enough. It wasn’t overly poetic at all. It was actually very literal and sort of like a novel that was printed funny. I’m not sure how fans of verse novels would like this approach, but I appreciated it. I tried to ignore the strange line breaks and read it straight through. Approaching it like that, it was almost like reading a regular novel.
I think I was able to connect with the characters as well as would be possible for me reading a verse novel. I didn’t connect anywhere near as well as I would have with a great novel, but I wasn’t expecting that. I wasn’t even expecting to connect with them as well as I did, so ultimately I was pleasantly surprised.
The story was good, but if you’re a stickler for Arthurian retellings adhering to the legend, well, you’re going to be disappointed. It’s very different. I was torn on the author’s approach. On one hand I’m stomping my feet and petulantly crying, “NO! THAT’S NOT WHAT HAPPENS AT ALL!!”
But…on the other hand, I like the story she told. I like the way the author re-imagined the characters. I liked the ending she created. I liked the romantic pairings. I liked the events. I just liked the whole story (even though it was wrong).
The book wasn’t life-changing and I’m not sure how well I’ll remember it in years to come, but overall I liked it. I had a good experience that surpassed my, admittedly low, expectations. I would probably re-read it again at some point. If you’re like me and verse novels aren’t really your thing, then this might be a good book to start with.
Star Rating Key Tweet