22 August, 2013

Daughter of Camelot (Empire of Shadows #1) by Glynis Cooney

Raised in the shadow of a fort dedicated to training Knights of the Round Table, Deirdre thirsts for adventure.  Instead, at 14, she is sent to court to learn the etiquette and talents of a young woman. Court life, however, is more fraught with danger than she expected, and Deirdre finds herself entangled in a deadly conspiracy that stretches deep into the very heart of Camelot.  All Deirdre thought she knew and believed in—loyalty, love, bravery—is challenged when she embarks on a quest to defy Fate and save the King.

My initial impression of Daughter of Camelot was one of interest. I have always been a lover of Arthurian tales, and often find myself entangled within the pages of novels that are a spin off of these tales. And in the terms of Arthurian time era, this book was one that particularly filled that thirst.

Generally, I enjoyed the plot of the book, though parts were awkward to read and sometimes a bit unbelievable. Deirdre, the lovely narrator of the tale, is on the verge of her fourteenth birthday when our story starts. Immediately, she points out that she is already an oddity due to being a twin, an ill omen in the time period. With the knowledge of being sent to court, she is both resentful and resistant to fitting into the mold the world has set for her. The story continues from court, sending her off on her own journey against fate and time to rescue her world that is quickly falling apart. While I like the fact that Deirdre is a strong female character, and she does undergo character development, there were sections of the book that she felt flat and almost boring in comparison to her companions, Lady Sioned and Dewey the Dwarf. 

The story is hindered further by a lack of editing on the author's part. Many times, the story shifts from the first person narrative into a third person observation. There were places that dialogue went unmarked, and some things, such as the religious practices of druids and the 'old' ways felt disjointed from the story. As Deirdre's story continues with her struggle to prove her worth in the world and defy fate by helping High King Arthur, she struggles with her love of a knight. The love, I felt, was slightly forced in places and more than a bit unrealistic in some of the interactions. Deirdre accepts an invitation from the knight that fancies her to visit his kingdom, despite the fact that she is on her way home in shame from court. Still, unsurprisingly, she accepts the offer and finds herself in a second court, trying to integrate into the court, and ultimately almost having the quest of her dreams dropped right into her lap. 

I won't spoil the ending for you, and if you enjoy stories set in the Arthurian era or are looking for a quick read, I would definitely recommend this book. Enjoy!

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