I had to force myself to finish this today. I’m happy to report that despite the anachronisms I really enjoyed the last 200 or so Pages… but those first 300.. oh man. What. A. Drag.
This is about the man behind the myth of Merlin… more specifically, Merlin’s twin sister, Langoureth. Set in sixth century Scotland, we watch Langoureth grow from a child to a teen, and eventually an adult.
I want to start by saying the “romance” in this book is nonsensical to the point of being comedic. I wish I was exaggerating. This is the absolute worst case of instalove I have ever seen. The author interpreted “Love at first sight” quite literally. By the end of the book I think they’ve actually spent a running total of four days together, and if you’ve only counted the hours of those days it’s probably less than 24 hours.
Secondly, this is written like it was set in renaissance times.. with talk of royalty and princesses and cavalry and generals and Arabian dancers from overseas… To be fair to the author- for all I know, they did have such things in 6th century “Scotland”, but I for one have surely never read a book set in this time period that used words like that. The language could have used some heavy editing to make the book feel more authentic. At one point I read “fleece lined couches” and I sort of wanted to scream in rage. Yes, let’s gather the Knights of the Round Table in the great room by the hearth and set them on couches. Then we’ll grab General Lancelot and send him on a mission of chivalry. WTF.
Sorry. Rant over. If you manage to stick it out, and can eventually let all that nonsense go, the book does become rather enjoyable. I’m so used to reading books set from the battlefield, that to see the women working behind the scenes to support husbands, fathers, brothers, etc. was a nice change. Even though the romance was ridiculous, I found the story itself quite romantic, and was able to just sit back and appreciate the making of Merlin and Uther Pendragon.
The author did manage to include lots of Celtic rituals and lore and at least on that front, I do think she has done her research (although- as stated above, wth do I know). The characters were sort of flat and one sided. I did appreciate Elufed because I felt like you never really knew where she stood. I loved Ariane and Cathan but there wasn’t enough of them. Some character’s stories felt unfinished. I also felt the author projected some rather modern feelings and ideas on to these characters, that again, wouldn’t have fit the time.
So if you are itching for a lighter fantasy, another facet of Arthurian lore, this wouldn’t be a bad book to pick up. I do recommend you don’t go into it expecting authentic feeling history though. You’ll be disappointed.