GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot, #1) by Victoria Sue + giveaway | I Smell Sheep

Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Book Review: The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot, #1) by Victoria Sue + giveaway

The Twelfth Knight (Guardians of Camelot, #1)
by Victoria Sue
October 1st 2019
Genres: Adult, LGBTQ+, Romance, Urban FantasyTo battle an ancient evil the only weapon each hero will have is each other.

Hundreds of years ago, facing defeat, Morgana sent monsters into the future to vanquish a humanity King Arthur wouldn’t be able to save. The King might have won the battle, but now, centuries later, a few chosen men will have to fight the war.

Merlin always hated being named after some mythological wizard. His dad had been obsessed with the magic man of King Arthur’s Court before his untimely death – a loss that had sent Merlin reeling in a downward spiral. Now 23, and going simply by ‘Mel’ (thank-you-very-much), Merlin is ill-prepared (to say the least) for the outrageous claims of a proper English knight bent on overcoming evil.

Born a commoner, Lancelot was never supposed to be a knight in his own time, never mind now, in a modern world he is so woefully untrained to protect. Thrown into a battle centuries in the making, this flawed hero, and a young man too-used to battling monsters of the present day, will have to come together to save humanity.


Lance (Lancelot) is a 1500-year-old knight, who once served King Arthur and was Guinevere’s champion.

Lance and many of his fellow knights were granted immortality by Merlin’s final act of magic.

Now they walk the world with half a soul hunted down the evil Ursus created by Morgan Le Fey (and hunting back in equal amounts) waiting for the final war which will begin when Lance finds his Tresor—his missing half of his soul. Something all the knights must eventually do.

Mel is a young man who’s lived a hard life and a survivor of the streets. He lost his father and lived out a troubled childhood with a mother with a drug addiction. Mel has never seen himself as being worth much and he certainly didn’t expect to be the missing half of a hero’s soul.

When both halves are made whole, they find their purpose and in the case of this story, become strong enough to face the coming battle of good vs evil.

They meet in an alley where Mel is being attacked by an Ursus. Lance comes to Mel’s rescue. Unlike normal humans, Mel could see the Ursus, which could only mean he was a knight or a Tresor.

Of course, both characters are reluctant to accept their fate. Especially Mel who finds out Lance sees himself destined for another. Then later an even greater wedge comes into play nearly tearing them apart.

Mel is faced with doing a terrible act to save his knight. Which of course he does, then fears the act is unforgivable.

Story Concept: A
King Arthur’s champions living in modern day, fighting an old earth magic to save the world. A bit of fantasy and urban fantasy, mixed in with the legendary Camelot. I really felt this concept has a boatload of potential and could be built into a fascinating storyline.

World-Building: C
The story hinges a lot on Arthurian legend, but that legend isn’t enough to fill in the gaps left behind by choppy details. Much of the backstory connection to present-day felt awkward as if mismatched pieces are being forced together. At times it’s very confusing and even mundane. Most of the details appear in infodumps or repetitive narration and none of the information offers a foundation in which the present is built on. I feel like the author expected the Arthurian Legend to bleed through and construct the world just by being there, rather than establish an independent urban setting where this magic and lore continued to grow.

Characters: B-

The concept of the characters, the idea of their vises and personalities, is well built. The characters as a whole fell flat for me. As a 1500-year-old knight, Lance came off as very na├»ve and gullible. He lacked wisdom you’d think that a person would gain from living for over a thousand years. Some of his actions with Mel didn’t strike me as the choices a mature adult would make, let alone someone who has walked the world like he has and seen and done everything he’s done.

If this was on purpose, then the reasons weren’t made clear. And I’m not sure if he could have valid reasons and still have the maturity to lead the other knights and make crucial decisions about their survival.

Mel is a bit more believable. He is young, and while his life has been rough, his choices in some situations are understandable. But a few times he came off as childish and maybe even self-absorbed when I think the author may have wanted the audience to feel his anguish.

Both characters become repetitive and predictable, each one sharing a swinging pendulum of melodrama. They barely interacted with each other, let alone really spoke to one another, and when they did I felt no connection.

Secondary Characters: B

Ali is the only female knight, Tom is a young man not yet old enough to be a Tresor but knows already knows he’s destined to be Lucan’s. Ali comes off as the most rounded of all the characters. Her past is simple and easy to follow and fits well into who she is in the present. Tom’s personality feels truer to his age and life experience. His emotional conflict with being a Tresor is one of the most palpable conflicts in the entire book.

The other knights, Gawain, Lucan, and Kay, are less interesting. Of the three Gawain comes off as more developed. Lucan is just broody and Kay feels like the loyal sidekick to Lance and not much else.

Plot: A -
While the soulmate plot is tropey, this one had a certain appeal to it that kept me reading. The overall idea of Mel’s true past and his present-day person and then Lance’s burden of being left with the responsibility of leadership is a good source of angst. Lance’s past and the rumors of his love for Guinevere weighing on Mel are simple but realistic threats to his confidence and self-worth.

Plot Execution: D
The story had continuous bumps and holes, that were either filled in later almost like an afterthought or were forwarded or solved with events, objects and or abilities, that happen to surface at just the right moment.

Large gaps between action and interaction caused the story to drag. In contrast, the lack of build-up to events both external and internal brought everything to an end too quickly leaving me with an unfinished feeling when it came to the relationship between the characters and the climb towards a resolution. I think this was probably due to there not really being any action. A few things happened but they weren’t really fleshed out the emotional tantrums weren’t gripping enough to make me feel like anything was truly a battle.

The author made a valiant attempt to foreshadow some events but I think in the struggle to not reveal too much left too little to actually give weight to solutions. Throughout the narrative there were instances of head-hopping. But it was the almost theatrical overtone that kept me from connecting with the characters.

Romance: C
While I’m okay with insta-love in some circumstance, I wasn’t with this one. I’m not even sure it was insta-love, more of an epiphany love, which felt like a weak plot device. And I think the lack of chemistry between the characters only served to make this even less believable and really dulled any intimacy between Lance and Mel.

While the characters declared their love to one another I felt no more of a connection between them at the end then there was at the beginning.

Resolution: B+
The story ended with its HFN and with an uplifting mood. It also left the obvious clues for a sequel and more. Side characters didn’t just vanish and relationships rounded out. I would give this ending an A except for how easily the resolution was reached. And I honestly felt like the stakes were never high enough or that the external conflict was a real threat.

Enthusiasm: A+
While there are parts of the story that fall flat for me I did feel like the author truly loves their story. I didn’t connect with the characters very much, but the flare and excitement came through in the narrative.

Summary:
If you are a die hard romance reader who’s finds the internal conflict of characters as the most important focus, then you will most likely enjoy this book. If you are an urban fantasy/fantasy romance (or not) you will most likely be frustrated with the lack of foundation in which the entire world is constructed on, and the lack of real threat to both protagonists, their friends, the world, and their relationship.


Guest Reviewer: Valentine


EXCERPT:
Mel leaned his back on the door as it clicked shut with finality. Okay, so if he’d just let a serial rapist or murderer into his apartment, he’d be really annoyed. The being dead part would take care of that though, he supposed, and he tried not to roll his eyes. The fact that the guy was insanely hot hadn’t escaped his notice either, although with Mel’s track record that probably meant he was best buds with Ted Bundy.

Liar. Although the shitty record with men was right but not, he thought, the question over Lance’s integrity. There had been something inherently right about the man which drew Mel in like a moth to a flame. Unresolved hero issues. As in he was still dreaming some crusader—caped or otherwise—was going to rescue him. All it probably went to prove was that he was a bad judge of character. Mel rubbed his eyes with resignation. It had been a crappy day on top of a crappy week. The funeral where he had been one of only three people there, and the pathetic small bag which was what all the home had given him belonging to his gran. And then tonight it had nearly been his own.

The small window Lance wandered over to gave a clear view of the street and his SUV, so he would know Mel had been watching him. Lance turned and studied him, equally silent. Mel flushed a little at his calm, unhurried gaze. His eyes traveled from his cheap sneakers up his too-skinny, too-short legs.

Mel wanted to fidget. He really should move, say something—say anything—but the gray eyes that had studied him so closely had now arrived at his face. Pinned him still. He’d always wondered where the stupid saying about deer and headlights came from. Now he knew, because he felt like he was about to get run over by a truck.

In the alley he’d felt the same, although maybe that had been simply relief at being saved. Because obviously “not dying” was a big thing. Whatever hero complex Lance had going on, it seemed to be working for him anyway. He supposed offering a cup of tea was the least he could do, and for a second he regretted Lance turning down the blow job.

“Don’t like tea?” Lance had put the cup untouched on the kitchen counter. Mel wanted to kick himself at the random question and followed Lance’s gaze. Mel looked critically around the small space and not for the first time acknowledged it was crap. He didn’t see any cockroaches though. There’d been three when he woke up this afternoon. So, there was that. Mel studied Lance for a brief moment as he stood at the window near the kitchenette. Although kitchenette was a very optimistic word for the white piece of laminated something he’d found outside by the dumpsters that he currently had balanced on a few pallets. It had nearly killed him to get up the four flights of stairs, but the sink worked okay, so he couldn’t complain. The electricity did too whenever he had cash for the meter. The plumbing was often questionable, but not a health hazard.

Lance was looking around the small space as well. Maybe that was why he wasn’t drinking the tea. Maybe he was frightened he’d catch something.

“So why are you here?” Mel asked after another ten seconds’ scrutiny.

Lance stared at him. “We need to talk.”

If it had been remotely funny, Mel would have laughed. Five minutes in his apartment and he was breaking up with him already? “Tell me why you go around fighting monsters in alleyways?”

Lance tilted his lips upward in a small smile. “I don’t just fight them in alleyways.”

Mel sighed and rubbed his forehead. He could feel the headache starting behind his eyes. “I mean—”

“I know what you mean.”

“Can we just get this over with? I’m sure no explanation could be worse than me thinking I’m actually certifiable.”

“It’s a long story.”

“One you don’t want to tell or one you’re about to invent?”

Lance scowled. “I do not tell untruths.”

Mel lifted his brows like sure. “Thief?” And what was with the weird speech? Untruths?

Mel clicked his fingers. Of course. “You’re a Brit, huh?” Made sense. He spoke like that royal. Although he preferred the younger one, and it was a damn shame he’d gotten married. Every fantasy he had ever needed to keep him warm generally involved a prince.


About the Author:
Website-FB-Twitter
FB Group-Instagram
Newsletter
Victoria Sue fell in love with love stories as a child when she would hide away with her mom’s library books and dream of the dashing hero coming to rescue her from math homework. She never mastered math but never stopped loving her heroes and decided to give them the happy ever afters they fight so hard for.

She loves reading and writing about gorgeous boys loving each other the best—and creating a family for them to adore. Thrilled to hear from her readers, she can be found most days lurking on Facebook where she doesn’t need factor 1000 sun-cream to hide her freckles.



GIVEAWAY
Blitz-wide giveaway (INT)

Any Victoria Sue backlist book
a Rafflecopter giveaway

2 comments: