Tuesday, 24 April 2012

REVIEW: SWORD OF LIGHT by Katherine Roberts

SWORD OF LIGHT: Pendragon Legacy Book 1 by Katherine Roberts
Templar Books

King Arthur is dead. He has been killed by his nephew, Mordred (good knight gone EVIL), and Merlin has brought his body to the fairy realm of Avalon.  

It would seem that the path is clear for evil Mordred (and his even EVILer and also dead Mum) to take the throne. But there is someone else with a better claim. Enter Rhianna Pendragon – Arthur’s secret daughter. So secret, in fact, that she didn’t even know who she really was. Rhianna was brought to Avalon as a baby for her safety and has been raised there by fairy king Lord Avallach. She spends most of her time with her BFF (that’s best fairy friend) Prince Elphin.

When Merlin arrives to drop a teeny bombshell – “This is King Arthur. Your dead dad. We need you to find his sword and save the world.” – Rhianna has to leave Avalon and join the world of men. She needs to find Excalibur to fight off Mordred (as well as some quite nasty and quite hairy Saxons) and help her father’s knights win back Camelot.

This is a wonderful, magical, mythical, historical adventure. I loved Rhianna as a feisty tomboyish heroine (think Katniss on a magic horse) and her struggle to be accepted as proper leader of the knights, rather than just a figurehead while the ‘real men’ took charge. You get the idea that the knights main idea of women is of the distressed and damsely sort (or the tarty sort, like Rhianna’s mum, Guinevere, who, it is implied, is off being slightly tarty with Sir Lancelot) and Rhianna has to work hard to prove them wrong.

The knights she meets – Bors, Bedivere and Galahad – are a colourful collection of personalities, brought wittily to life. Bors is a bit rough around the edges, Galahad is grumpy, and Bedivere gets a lot of stick for his good looks. Rather than distant courtly knights, they are normal blokes. But my favourites were the even less knightly gang of friends Rhianna assembles around her. Cai, the chubby squire mocked for his lack of horse-riding skills, and Arianrhod, the shy servant girl facing an uphill battle if she wants to turn Rhianna into a demure princess. And there's the lovely Prince Elphin. His disapproval of how quickly the humans resort to violence gave a really interesting perspective on the battles in the book - and his point was proved (I thought) in the way that Rhianna relies on her wits rather than Excalibur. 

And there's King Arthur. As I've said in my dad blog, I found the relationship between Rhianna and her father really interesting. She has to try and 'get to know' a man who is famous, and talked about by everyone as a great leader, but who is gone. And who is her dad. Being her father's replacement, among his best friends, must be horribly difficult. But a special connection between Rhianna and Arthur begins to emerge in this book, and I think it is something that will develop through the series. 

If you are wondering how this can be when King A is less than alive, then you shall just have to read the book my curious friend! And I whole-heartedly recommend that you do leap aboard your mist horse gallop off on a magical adventure with Rhianna Pendragon. I wish I had a mist horse.  

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