Sunday, April 11, 2021

The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles)

The Winter King (The Warlord Chronicles #1)
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The Winter King reads like the narrative presents itself to be, a personal take by one of Arthur’s warriors.

There are parts when you feel like it’s messy and long, such as getting taxes and telling the story of a battle from a perspective right along the shield wall. Names of places like Dumnonia and Powys, or a king like Gorfyddyd doesn’t help in the marketing, or not even my own memory as I struggle to recall half the names and places in the story. Camelot and Excalibur have different names too which I now fail to recall. But I have to admit it makes it more real, like a history book.

I am of two minds in the Merlin of this story. One, it feels incredibly stupid that an entire civilization would allow Merlin and his fellow druids to have their “magic” to go uncontested. On the other hand (two) it feels authentic, the writing of Merlin and his powers are exactly how the people of that Arthurian period would have seen it.

There was once a TV show called the Mentalist. In that show the mentalist is a modern day magician who specializes in mental powers but he is actually just a learned individual who has practiced reading people's body language. So his powers are a mixture of science and showmanship. Merlin too is written in such a way although the how-the-trick-was-possible part was more of Nimue’s, Merlin’s protégé. 

So without the explanation in the Merlin portion, the famous druid has a little more kick in his parts. It helps that he appears sparingly, making you as reader to still decide if he has magical timing or just knows how to make an entrance.

What I like most is the setup for the lack of a better word, the love triangle – Arthur, Guinevere, and Lancelot. At least I think there will be a love triangle. This is my first Arthurian book. What I know of legend is in movies and TV.

In any case the setup is comprehensive. The Britain in this story is not the perfect kingdom of Camelot that is suddenly destroyed by an affair. It is a turbulent period. These people are imperfect because the politics and the world in general that pushed them to the forefront is imperfect. Or to put in another way it’s not romantic and magical. It is human.

And I eagerly await the clash that is to come.

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