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Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Gwyna 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 Gwyna if she will agree to be bound in service to him. Gwyna 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 Gwyna 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 Gwyna and Myrrdin's trickery is discovered, what will become of Gwyna? 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.

NOTE: This review will be shorter than usual.  As much as I'd like to go in-depth, I'm backed up on reviews.  Hopefully after this one, I can get my reviewing back to normal.

First Look: ***** I've been walking past this in the library for years.  I've picked it up a few times, read the inside jacket, then put it back.  Finally, I just decided to pick it up and see what it's all about.

Setting: ***** Usually, I'm a big fan of medieval historical settings.  But this one just felt...okay, to me.  It wasn't anything that stood out from the crowd.  I didn't get a really good feel of the time or place.  It just wasn't that impressive, not something I could really immerse myself in.

Characters: *****
Again, this aspect of the book was just okay.  I didn't really feel for the main character, Gwyna, but I didn't dislike her, either.  She would've made for a much better protagonsit if she actually made things happen.  Of course, the plot didn't really lend itself to making things happen, but I'll talk about that in the next section.  The supporting characters weren't memorable at all. 

***** There isn't much plot to speak of.  Nothing really happened in this book.  Yes, the characters went places and did things, but it didn't really mean anything to me.  None of it really connected.  It just seemed like a string of incidents, which is definitely not the same thing as a plot.

Uniqueness: ****
It is a bit different from your standard Arthurian fiction, but it's not a huge standout, either.

Writing: *****
I couldn't connect through the writing to the story.  It felt a bit disconnected, like the voice was off from the main character's personality, or something.  Other than that it was decent, with no major awkardness or anything.

Likes: I did like the twists on the usual stories, like the part with the Lady of the Lake.

Nothing not already mentioned above.

Total Score:
For me, this book is just a big "meh".  It was incredibly in-the-middle.  The characters were okay, but not fabulous.  The plot dragged a bit, and nothing really seemed to happen.  This is honestly one of the most solid three-star reviews I've ever done.  There were things I liked, things I didn't.  If it looks interesting, I'd recommend picking it up, but if it doesn't jump out at you right away then I wouldn't bother.

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