05 December 2010

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Gwynna is just a girl who is forced to run when her village is attacked and burns to the ground. To her horror, she is discovered in the wood. But it is Myrddin the bard who has found her, a traveler and spinner of tales. He agrees to protect Gwynna if she will agree to be bound in service to him. Gwynna is frightened but intrigued-and says yes-for this Myrddin serves the young, rough, and powerful Arthur. In the course of their travels, Myrddin transforms Gwynna into the mysterious Lady of the Lake, a boy warrior, and a spy. It is part of a plot to transform Arthur from the leader of a ragtag war band into King Arthur, the greatest hero of all time.

If Gwynna and Myrrdin's trickery is discovered, what will become of Gwynna? Worse, what will become of Arthur? Only the endless battling, the mighty belief of men, and the sheer cunning of one remarkable girl will tell.
  • I am a HUGE fan of Arthurian lore (which is why I am absolutely in love with the show "Merlin") and so I was super excited to pick this book up.  Overall, I was impressed with the level of detail and the blunt honesty in which Philip Reeve writes.
  • However, the one thing I really picked up on was that there seemed to be a complete lack of a plot.  I couldn't really see what was driving the whole story.  Where was the conclusion?  Well, there wasn't really a conclusion because there wasn't anything to be concluded.
  • Yet it was a fascinating story.  Most Arthurian novels make Arthur this heroic, wise beyond his years type of fellow.  Philip Reeve cast him in a more believable light--more towards something that would be expected of that time period.  Arthur wasn't that wise and leaned more towards a fiendish raider with little compassion for others and with a penchant for war.  At first this was a bit disturbing, but it was easier to buy into Arthur's character this way.
  • A rather short and simple read.  I didn't get a lot of satisfaction out of it.  While I could understand Gwynna's character, I couldn't really see through her eyes.  The romance came at the end and didn't pan out so much.  I did like the interesting twist on Merlin's character, though (portrayed as "Myrrdin" in this story).
  • The writing!  The descriptions were wonderful and supported the story most of the way.  Some lines were just...absolutely brilliant.  It really cast a light on imagination.  It was easy to read and yet was complex enough to challenge.
  • So while unsatisfying for my own personal tastes, I appreciate the writing and imagination behind the story.
Book Info:
  • pages - hardcover, 352
  • published - November 2008
  • publisher - Scholastic Press
  • genre - fantasy
  • received via - library :)