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Thursday, May 1, 2014

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ARC Review: Camelot Burning by Kathryn Rose

Camelot Burning by Kathryn Rose

Metal & Lace #1
Kathryn Rose
Publication Date: May 8, 2014
Publisher: Flux

By day, Vivienne is Guinevere's lady-in-waiting. By night, she's Merlin's secret apprentice, indulging in the new mechanical arts and science of alchemy. It's a preferred distraction from Camelot’s gossipy nobility, roguish knights, and Lancelot’s athletic new squire, Marcus, who will follow in all knights’ footsteps by taking a rather inconvenient vow of chastity.

More than anything, Vivienne longs to escape Camelot for a future that wouldn't include needlework or marriage to a boorish lord or dandy. But when King Arthur's sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens Camelot, Vivienne must stay to help Merlin build a steam-powered weapon to defeat the dark magic machine Morgan will set upon the castle. Because if Camelot falls, Morgan would be that much closer to finding the elusive Holy Grail. Time is running out and Morgan draws near, and if Vivienne doesn't have Merlin's weapon ready soon, lives would pay the price, including that of Marcus, the only one fast enough to activate it on the battlefield.
Advanced copy provided by Flux via Netgalley for review – thanks!

I don't know much about Arthurian Lore – it's probably one of the only story I've never read in it's original form aside from the original Grimm Brothers' Fairy Tales (but those are horrifying, so I'm not even going to bother). I somehow doubt that Magic Tree House – who made Morgan LeFay a harmless fly – or Wizard101's Avalonian world even counts, except for maybe the latter being used as visual aid. :p

But personally that's sort of the thrill in reading a retelling without reading the original one: no judging or comparing – it's a mostly complete blank slate.

Camelot Burning follows Vivienne, a lady-in-waiting and Merlin's Apprentice, who wants a way out of Camelot's way of life. She even has a plan hatched – at least until Morgan Le Fay enters the picture and she has to stay to build a weapon that could ultimately save Camelot.

Merlin is actually a fun character – am I weird to say that I found him drunk yet wise? It's not an easy combo since most drunk people act... well, not wise at all. While I'm not exactly warm and fuzzy with the other characters yet, Merlin is a winner.

There's a very interesting way with magic Rose introduces. Usually when it comes to magic, the price is something minor or huge, depending on whatever is asked – very similar to karma (or fate or etc.). Here though... it's the ultimate price if you use magic too much: *cues ominous music* your soul. That's like selling your soul to the devil! Unless you're a creepy villain who wants to take over the world, that's not usually the ultimate price. Minor = minor payback. Major = major payback. No ifs buts or – wait, what's after that? o_O
Behind the Blog Tidbit: Camelot Burning was one of those novels who got a neutral rating (rawly speaking). I would have rounded up to a 4.5 rather than a 4, but I chose not to for a few reasons:
  • Too predictable – It could just be me, but I guessed that View Spoiler »
  • Too much technicalities – I felt like I was reading a foreign language, and that was not the words used in magic. It all felt really confusing.
  • It said The End.
That last bullet didn't play a major impact. It's just a minor peeve, especially when it's the first novel in the series.

I fully enjoyed reading Kathryn Rose's debut novel. Camelot Burning takes a refreshing and unique spin on Arthurian lore, or more accurately Arthurian + Fantasy + Steampunk.

4 Owls

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Sophia is the owner and founder of Bookwyrming Thoughts, but also found on various parts of the internet. She's a 19-year-old communications major who has weird humor and doesn't fit the Asian stereotype (maybe a little). Books, chocolate, technology, and music are among some of her favorite things. For more of her work, visit her personal website.