I now blog over at The Eyre Guide! This blog is an archive of my past posts.

Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Review: Camelot Burning

Posted by Charlene // Tags: , ,
Camelot Burning (Metal & Lace #1)
by Kathryn Rose
YA Fantasy/Steampunk
Amazon  /  Goodreads

Plot Summary:

By day, Vivienne is Guinevere's lady-in-waiting. By night, she's Merlin's secret apprentice, indulging in the new mechanical arts and science of alchemy. It's a preferred distraction from Camelot’s gossipy nobility, roguish knights, and Lancelot’s athletic new squire, Marcus, who will follow in all knights’ footsteps by taking a rather inconvenient vow of chastity.

More than anything, Vivienne longs to escape Camelot for a future that wouldn't include needlework or marriage to a boorish lord or dandy. But when King Arthur's sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens Camelot, Vivienne must stay to help Merlin build a steam-powered weapon to defeat the dark magic machine Morgan will set upon the castle. Because if Camelot falls, Morgan would be that much closer to finding the elusive Holy Grail. Time is running out and Morgan draws near, and if Vivienne doesn't have Merlin's weapon ready soon, lives would pay the price, including that of Marcus, the only one fast enough to activate it on the battlefield.


This was an interesting new take on Arthurian legends - many aspects are familiar if you have read stories about Camelot but there are little intriguing twists to change the meaning of magic and the purpose of Camelot.  Unfortunately I often thought aspects of the world-building was very unclear, and it was a bit confusing trying to understand why magic is so taboo.

I think the world-building is the most disappointing aspect of this book.  The mechanical arts that is favored over magic often seems indistinguishable from actual magic, and I didn't understand the exact reasons why using magic was so dangerous, or why it was so corrupting.  Camelot's reinvention was not very magical either - the nobility and the knights aren't very likable and it doesn't seem like they deserve the power or distinction they have.  It's a very different take on Camelot and I wasn't very enthralled with it because I didn't think the place was worth all the tremendous efforts taken to protect it throughout this story.

Vivienne and her romance with Marcus was a bit disappointing as well.  They are well constructed characters technically, but Vivienne especially was often seen as someone very special and important and I didn't really see how that was deserved either.  I just didn't feel emotionally invested in the story in general with such uninspired characters and confusing world-building.

There are some redeeming points about the story however - it is very imaginative and unique and it might be interesting to see how the story and the world develops in the next book.  I enjoyed Merlin as a character - he was so dedicated and tenacious, and his sparring moments with Morgan le Fay was tense and dramatic.  Even though the pacing is sometimes off, the story had many exciting moments and a big battle scene in the end with some very unexpected developments.  This book has a lot of flaws but also a lot of promise.

(I received this book from the publisher or author for a fair and honest review.  I was not compensated for this review.)

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  1. Normally I'm not a huge fan of arthurian legend retellings. This one did sound interesting but something about it just didn't peak me enough to pick it up. Sounds like I was right on the money in thinking it was just going to be 'ok'

  2. Oh I wish I had your radar for this! I mean, it wasn't that bad, but I would have enjoyed my time better with another book. I do like Arthurian legend retellings though so that probably contributed to why I was disappointed by this one.

  3. This sounds like it had so much potential; it's a shame that the world-building wasn't fleshed out enough. That would definitely bother me a lot, especially given the genre and setting, so I think I'll take this off my to-read list.

  4. Aww, I was so excited to read this one too! I guess I'll tamper my expectations and hope for the best. I do hope the next book, if you try reading it, is better for you Charlene!

  5. Yes, it really needed more time spent on the world-building I think because it is very important to the story!

  6. I look forward to reading your thoughts on this! I hope you like it better than I did!

  7. I've never read anything about Camalot and Merlin though I wish too. This one sounds like an interesting take though, it's too bad it disappointed you. Better luck next time :)


  8. Oh if you are not familiar with the story, I'd recommend The Once and Future King - that's an excellent retelling of the Arthurian legends! I hope my next foray into Camelot will be much better! :)