GtPGKogPYT4p61R1biicqBXsUzo" /> Google+ Book Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian | I Smell Sheep

Wednesday, July 7, 2021

Book Review: Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian

Half Sick of Shadows
by Laura Sebastian
July 6, 2021
448 pages
Publisher: Ace
"Laura Sebastian is the next Madeline Miller. . . . a fierce, fresh, lyrical tale that will enthrall until the last page."--Kate Quinn, New York Times bestselling author of The Huntress

"Magical, haunting, unique--I haven't been so excited about an Arthur book since I read The Once and Future King ."--Tamora Pierce, #1 New York Times bestselling author

The Lady of Shalott reclaims her story in this bold feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth from the New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess.

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come--for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends--countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change destiny--and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

A retelling of the Arthurian Legend with a feministy twist, this book was a good read for me. Here are some of the thoughts I had while reading it:

Now, while I knew about the major players, Arthur, Lancelot, etc., 1 wasn't familiar with Elaine's character. Some quick Googling showed me that she was the mother of the Pure Knight, Galahad, and wife to Lancelot. In this iteration, she and Lancelot are a couple, but Galahad's been written as one of Arthur's cousins. Close enough, I'd say.

I was also okay with Mordred being made Arthur's bastard brother and not his son. So, while these changes didn't bother me as much, some of the others did. I mean, it's always okay to reinvent myths and legends. But why do it if there isn't a need for it or if it doesn't serve any real purpose?

I'm referring to Merlin being turned into a dud. He's described as being old, mysterious, and only worries about who will sit on Uther's throne. Yet none of his magical or amazing feats made it into this book.

Dunno if it's because I loved "Merlin" the series, starring Colin Morgan or not, but whenever Morgana appeared, I imagined Katie McGrath doing the talking, I loved the way she did whatever she could to get Arthur on the throne. Even when her family and friends treated her unfairly, she remained unrepentant.

I loved many things about Elaine. She could be petty, knew she'd be nothing without her friends, vacillated between breaking things off with Lancelot or staying with him. Her actions in the end redeemed her and only made me like her more.

What I didn't get was how a mousy girl who couldn't stand up to her mother transformed into someone who could manipulate royal politics and diplomacy with such aplomb. Nimue only provided her with training on how to read her visions. So, where did she learn all that suave maneuvering during her sojourn at Avalon?

Similarly, Arthur and his gang seemed to accept everything Elaine said too readily.

Gwen was another favorite of mine and a character who just jumped off the page because she felt so real! Like so many women have done, she was supposed to give up everything for Arthur and spend her life doing wifely things? Screw that! The resentment that brews in her was described very well--as were the consequences.

While I loved how complex and authentic the female characters in this book were, the male ones don't get the same fair treatment. Arthur's written as someone without any flaws. Someone who'd do anything for his people and to unite the kingdoms of human and fey. Just made him seem fake and unlikable if you ask me. Lancelot, too, deserved better.

Well-told with fun twists along with brief flashbacks from Elaine's past. The only issue I had with it was that it seemed overly long in some places.

Given how all the women are manipulators and temptresses, this novel's like a breath of fresh air. I'd love for my younger cousin--a reader and already, a feminist to read this!

3 sheep

Reviewer: Midu Reads
Most of my go-to series are 3 starrers
*No rating - wasn't my genre/dnf'd so rating it would be unfair
1 sheep - won't be picking up another book in a series  again
2 sheep - average read with overused tropes and cliches. Will give the author another try/only continuing because of OCD, so must finish a series
2.5 sheep - liked the book but was put off because it was overly long/illtreatment of a character the author had me invest in and so on.
3 sheep - enjoyed the book but have reservations because I expected to be wowed and wasn't
4 sheep - was unputdownable
5 sheep - formed an emotional connection, will read the heck outta this series

About the Author:
Laura Sebastian grew up having many adventures on an avocado grove and later an island in South Florida. She studied Performing Arts at Savannah College of Art and Design and now lives, reads, and writes in New York City with her dog, Neville.

No comments:

Post a Comment