“In an inaccessible solar system, on the planet Avalon, darkness spreads across the continent, consuming all. But through the blackness, a small light emanates, signaling hope. Merlin awakes from her realistic dream in a cold sweat. She recalls an ancient prophecy. She must find the descendant of King Arthur who will draw Excalibur and save them.
Meanwhile on Earth, Arthur is sent off to a boarding school in England. Alone in a strange place he is unaccustomed to, he draws solace in the tales his mother used to read him, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table. He imagines a life where dragons and magic dwell, where damsels need rescuing, and where knights stand for honor, valor, chivalry, and uphold a firm code of conduct.
His greatest desire granted, the days of solitude and daydreaming are over. A duty befalls him that he must undertake. Does he have the courage to answer the call? With Excalibur in hand, will he be strong enough to fight for a world unknown and foreign to him?”
Really difficult to put this one into a genre off the bat. It’s sci-fi, but it’s also fantasy, and somehow also urban fantasy. Either way, I loved the idea when I first read the blurb. A futuristic take on an ancient tale sounded amazing.
In Re: Camelot we follow Arthur, a teenager attending a boarding school in Wales. I know the blurb says England, but as the school is located in the Black Mountains (the magical place I grew up as a child), it is definitely in Welsh territory. Begrudgingly taken in by his aunt after his parents died, Arthur is struggling at school and finding himself drawn further into the legends of King Arthur.
On the planet Avalon, evil specters and demonic creatures are consuming everything in their path, and can only be defeated with seven magical weapons wielded by the descendants of the knights of the round table.
The whole concept of this book was brilliant. A planet harking back to the sword and sorcery times of a legendary king, an epic quest to defeat evil, and an orphan yanked out of his miserable life to embrace his destiny as a hero. Unfortunately, the execution of this book just wasn’t up to par. The characters were wooden, lacked internal thought with any substance, and most had no unique qualities. They were distinguished almost entirely through their physical appearances, with the exception of one character who was just a bit more grumpy than the others.
A big disappointment for me was the lack of imagery. In Avalon magic and technology have evolved to create a world both advanced and in-keeping with the roots of their famous ancestors. Yet all these futuristic and old school elements are lacking in any quality description. There was so much potential for a really vivid, fantastic picture to be painted and it just wasn’t met.
The plot was quite rushed, with Arthur being abducted, enrolled into a training camp and embarks on his journey with Merlin in the space of two weeks. Somehow, in this two weeks of training, Arthur becomes a fantastic warrior, although some of the training sessions appeared to last five minutes.
I just have to add a little bug-bear that I noticed while Arthur was still on Earth. In a scene in which Arthur goes out to get something to eat, he chooses an American-style diner to get a burger and fries. I could probably count on one hand how many of these diners there are in Wales on one hand, if there are any at all, but in a tiny village in the black mountains – no way. It feels as though the author just applied an American way of living to a country which has an incredibly contrasting culture, and this indicates a lack of research on their part. Wales is the birthplace of legends like King Arthur and this could have been capitalised on.
I was so excited when I found this book, but by the end, I was disappointed. The author has touched on a fantastic idea, and potential for a really great series, but the story, the characters and the imagery need a lot of work, and that’s why this book has earned two stars.
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