I don't claim to be a book reviewer. But I read books and I have opinions about them. So I want to launch a new blog series of what I like to call, pseudo-reviews. Merely my impressions about the books I include here.
I recently read these three titles in quick succession:
Lancelot and the Wolf
Lancelot and the Sword
Lancelot and the Grail
Began reading: February 5, 2012
Finished reading: March 9, 2012-03-10
The books drew my interest because they are Arthurian and I enjoy reading the vast variety of versions. Each is unique to the author.
An interesting twist to the familiar story and characters. The author begins Lancelot’s story—told in first person—in the aftermath of his punishment and exile from Camelot as a result of his affair with Guinevere. Interesting in that this is the point where traditional versions are typically ending the tragedy of King Arthur. So I was interested to see just where the books were headed.
I was neither shocked nor surprised when it eventually became apparent that Arthur and Lancelot have always had a sexual attraction to each other. And the basic thread of the novels is their love/hate relationship and the conflicts both within themselves and the social pressure against them openly showing their love. I have often wondered about the homoerotic aspects in the medieval texts. Maybe it’s my modern conventions that make me read that sort of subtexts at times. But apparently I’m not alone in my curiosity over this theme. Over all, the theme was treated quite well by Ms. Luddington. Sex was never gratuitous.
But the characters were quite flat. As a reader, I made no emotional connection with any of the major characters. To me, the author did much better breathing life into many of the secondary characters that we got to know through Lancelot’s encounters with them.
The plot did keep me turning pages. And each book has its own plot along with the overall story arc of all three. But I think I kept reading more because of my Arthurian curiosity than anything else. If I had not Arthurian interest and had picked up as a fantasy or romance, I would have abandoned the first book for technical reasons: anachronisms, American slang, lack of punctuation, improper word usage, poor sentence structure, etc. (But that’s me, the writer coming out.) That and the cardboard characters.
A fourth novel is due later this year. I doubt I will pick it up. My Arthurian curiosity wore out with this one.