by Kathryn Rose
Release Date: May 8th 2014
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.
One word: Confused.
Seriously. I get the gist of it, but I didn't understand half of it while reading. Nothing was described well and it wasn't cohesive. I ended up skimming from 40% on simply because I didn't want to DNF. But for the life of me, that was frustrating. And my confusion is making its way to my review.
Basically, I have no way of writing a cohesive and understandable review of this book. So, I wrote thoughts down while reading and basically copy and pasted them on here. With a few Monty Python and the Holy Grail GIFs added in, because, why not? That movie is Camelot done right (seriously, if you've never watched it, do so now. Its fantastic - if you like wry, witty, zany humor. So, in other words, you'll like it if you have any sense of humor. Yeah, I went there).
- Some spoilers towards the end - I'll warn you.
Chronological Time-line of My Crazy Thoughts:
- Right at the beginning: I'm intrigued. The plot sounds fantastic. A mix of the fantasy kingdom of Camelot and steampunk? Heck yeah!
- Okay, it's about 3 chapters in and I'm completely lost. It was very interesting to begin with - love the Camelot setting and "mechanical arts" - however, when things start happening, nothing is clearly set. One second you're here and the next you're over there and you're like "wait...what?! How? Did I miss something?"
- I don't understand the weapons. It's like a gun and sword put together? Also, I'm getting the distinct feelings it's also a flamethrower. Sounds cool...just not sure how it's works.
They call him....Tim. And Tim does it better.
- I don't get the magic either. You steal magic? How does that work?
- Okay, Arthur is a complete and utter idiot. Seriously, how did Excalibur think he was worthy. Maybe he used to be great or something, but at this point, all I know is that he is weak and lets his feelings get in the way. In short - a crappy king. I'm sorry, but I don't want a king that will put my ENTIRE COUNTRY at risk simply because he wants his sister to be a part of his family even though this chick be crazy. Also, that revelation came out of left field and EWWWWWW!
Here's to looking at you Lady of the Lake.
- Okay, so how is Viv so good at hearing all this information without getting caught? She just "conveniently" happens upon a rather interesting conversation every other page. So, either Viv is a secret thief/assassin in disguise who is exceptional at sneaking, or the people having these conversations really just suck at being quiet and making sure no one is listening. These Knights of the Round Table are supposed to be the best of the best - you think that'd included being able to have a SECRET CONVERSATION!
Oh, don't mind me. I'm not OBVIOUSLY
listening in on your conversation or anything...
- Also, I guess it's not really "insta-love", more like infatuation (annoying all the same), but it's always the "eyes". He looked into her eyes and knew. He got lost in her eyes, His eyes told her everything his words couldn't. Bleh. Whatever.
- So apparently Lyoness was cursed for getting rid of magic and turning to the mechanical art. Want to know the other kingdom's responses? Do the same thing. Hey, A+ for defiance and all, but I think I'd take things into consideration a bit more if one sorceress could take down an entire. freaking. KINGDOM. Also, why is magic banned?
- What the crap Marcus?! Excalibur is supposed to be the stuff of legend and everyone knows its exists, but only the Knights of the Round Table are really supposed to be the ones ever able to see it. And what does Marcus do? A pretty girl asks him to show her it and he just up and decides to do it. Seriously? Way to take you JOB seriously Marcus! She didn't even try to seduce you or get you drunk. She just asked. That's all it takes for you to spill Camelot's secrets? Seriously? SERIOUSLY?! Also, how did he even know to find it. He's just a squire.
- Viv is not a lady-in-waiting. Ladies-in-waiting, ya know, actually wait on their lady. I've never met a lady-in-waiting with so much free time. She's just always dismissed. How convenient for her.
- "Around me, nobility fall into a state of restless panics. 'What's happening? What broke the peace?' They don't know about rumors of Morgan in the land."
(quote from uncorrected proof)
How the crap is it possible they DON'T know what's going on? There is no way the RAGING FIRES and EXPLOSIONS were hidden from the nobility in the castle. Believe me, they couldn't have been that secretive.
- "While a bunch of nitwits, the knight at least understand the meaning of confidentiality." (quote from uncorrected proof) - except they don't. Because every time I turn around, Viv is overhearing these supposed "confidential" plans and secrets.
- Also, does Camelot not have outposts? Are all their soldiers in the castle? This doesn't even make sense! How could they not have been warned and ARMY was coming?!?!
- "Regardless, I fire the blasted thing straight into the unprotected neck of a Corbenic soldier who does not see a girl standing in front of him. The soldier falls dead, and I shudder still. It was only a copper knife and should not have damaged him in the slightest. An eager attempt to buy mere minutes." (quote from uncorrected proof) - So first off, unnatural aim. But ignoring that, she thinks a knife to the THROAT shouldn't have done damage. What? I guess it might be because they are supposedly protected by magic, but she doesn't even know that until after she kills him.
- Okay, Merlin is literally the only saving grace. He may be a slightly crazy drug addict, but he's the only clearheaded and intelligent character in this book.
- Shouldn't Morgan's secret weapon or whatever he was been oh...idk....a bit better at what he was supposed to do? I also don't really understand his point in the story at all. NOTHING IS EXPLAINED!
- Alright, I've been skimming since 40%. But I'm really skimming this last 20%. Ughhhhhhhhhhhh. All that's missing is the killer rabbit.
- You'd think I'd be excited about the dragon. But honestly, at this point, I couldn't care less.
After I've finished:
Look, it had potential. It really did! That's what kept me reading instead of DNFing. But the descriptions were lackluster. Half the time I had no idea what was going on or how that worked or why someone did what they did. Ultimately, I was utterly confused. I skimmed the last 60% of it which may or may not have hindered me in some way, but overall, it fell short. My issues with this book far outweighed my interest.
Extra half bubble because the plot was at least interesting.