Note: I received this book free from the publisher in exchange for an honest review
If there’s one thing I love more than an apocalyptic superflu dystopia, it’s anything Arthurian. The King Arthur legends were something I read and re-read as a child and even as an adult, I’ll read or watch anything that even so much as has a scrap of a mention of Camelot or The Round Table. It’s an addiction. I’ve always been particularly taken with the character of Morgen le Fay, whether she’s cast as a misunderstood heroine (The Mists of Avalon) or flat out evil sorceress (The Pendragon Cycle). Added to that, Felicity Pulman also wrote the excellent Shalott series, that I adored as a teenager, so I was very excited to see she’s writing an Arthurian series for adults.
They would do anything to be reunited with those they love, even if it means traveling beyond the boundaries of the world as we know it.
Two women, living almost a thousand years apart, are experiencing the same catastrophic visions of the future. But these are not two ordinary women. They are descended from Morgana le Fay, and they have access to a magic that can stop this future from coming to pass – if they can trust it, and trust themselves.
Marie, troubadour at the court of Eleanor of Aquitaine, and Morgan, a twenty-first century botanist, are two very different women. When their lives collide in a garden in Glastonbury, they must overcome the secrets that surround them and work together to save not only the world, but each other.
Both of these women have known true love but lost it – and both must overcome their prejudice as well as their fear of the harmful power of magic in order to be healed.
An astounding historical fantasy turning the King Arthur legend on its head, in the tradition of Mary Stewart and T.H. White.
In preparation for picking up The Once & Future Camelot, I made sure to read the first in this series (I, Morgana). However, Camelot is rare in that it doesn’t require knowledge of the first novel. I found Morgana works more as a prequel, rather than something you must read to understand the second but it also set a high bar.
For the first few chapters, Marie really irritated me as a character but she grew over the course of the book to the point where I wished that the book was completely focused on her and Aline’s adventures in medieval France. The descriptions here were so vivid and Pulman’s love for these landscapes just jumps off the page.
The Not So Good
Camelot’s ending could have been something wonderful but sadly it ended up just being abrupt. Characters were introduced too rapidly and acted in ways that didn’t seem true for the sake of rushing headlong towards the abrupt stop. Marie’s emotional journey also left Morgan feeling sort of pale by comparison. Her storyline felt rushed and the parallels between her and Morgana seem overly forced. There was definitely enough fodder here for a possible trilogy, leaving a lot more room for exploring both Marie and Morgan’s timelines. This would have mitigated a lot of the pacing issues.
My Rating: (2.5 / 5)
The Once and Future Camelot is published by Pan McMillan Australia and is available now.