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Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Camelot Burning By Kathryn Rose

Vivienne is the lady-in-waiting for Guinevere. By day she is companion to the Queen and has to deal with Knights of the Round Table like Sir Lancelot and his squire Marcus. The members of her family are not strangers to court life since her father is a counselor to King Arthur and her brother is soon to become a Knight of the Round Table. At night, however, she’s the secret apprentice to Merlin. Not his apprentice in magic but, in mechanical arts and in alchemy. It’s not that Merlin isn’t a magician, he is. He just doesn’t practice magic because magic is illegal. It’s also unhealthy to the practitioner.

This is the retelling of the Arthurian legend with some real twists. This version brings the Middle Ages into a mash-up with the earliest days of the Industrial Age giving us a very unique look at a Steampunk Camelot. Many of the chivalric codes stay intact with the addition of chastity for sworn knights. The ubiquitous wizard Merlin has traded his magic wand and pointy hat for a slide ruler and welding goggles. There is also flying transport of some sort and robot like creations.

The story is populated by many of the original legend’s characters alongside some newer ones. This gives a little help in bringing the reader into the story. The scenes are all set around Camelot. That helps illustrate Vivienne’s frustration at having spent her whole life in Camelot.

I have to start off by saying this book does not appeal to me but, that’s mainly a matter of preference. The overall concept sounds great but, this version of that idea didn’t resonate with me. With that in mind, I don’t think it’s a bad book but, it definitely has some short comings. The characters are a little dull and some are a little flat. There is a romance that sparks up between two of the characters but, it came off a little tepid to me. It might have been better for them to have it really start to heat up in the second book. It’s hard to bring two characters together and in a limited amount of time build chemistry between them.

Something else that I struggled with was some of the anachronisms. It was difficult to tell which ones were on purpose and which ones were mistakes.   There are always some mistakes in period fiction and so we filter them out when we notice them. It may have helped to have some more detailed descriptions of some the technology. That could be any years as a technician has made me always curious about how things work.

Overall, Camelot Burning is a nicely written unique spin on the Arthurian story. It has sword fights, creatures, wizards, robots and romance. It gets a little PG-13 in places so, parents may want to check it out ahead of time. If like stories about knights, wizards and steam powered machines this may be a book for you.



Tynga is a 32 years old mom of two, from Montreal, working as a lab technician in an hospital specialized in heart disease. In her free time, she enjoys reading all things Paranormal and photography.

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2 People left their mark' :

  1. Interesting. I've read a basic telling of Arthurian tales when I was young, but I want to revisit it again. I might check this out, but I'm worried about the anachronisms and flat characters.

    Great review!

  2. Thanks! This may be something to check out from the public library. I believe this is an author relatively new and has the promise to fine tune her craft.