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Title: Camelot (#2 The Arthurian Tales)

Author: Giles Kristian

Published: 14th of May 2020 – Transworld Books

Format: Kindle edition (eARC Netgalley) – 450 pages

Hello Hello! How are you?

I have a very interesting review for you today for my blog tour stop for the #RandomThingsTours, organised by Anne Cater for Camelot by Giles Kristian. I have always been very intrigued by the history of Britain, especially during the times of Saxons, the ancient battles, but more importantly, the myths and legends surrounding Arthur and his followers. I was very intrigued when I saw an email about this book and I leapt at the chance to read it. Thank you to Anne for letting me take part in this tour and for sending me the book. All opinions are my own.

GOODREADS SYNOPSIS

Following his acclaimed Sunday Times bestseller, Lancelot, Giles Kristian’s new novel returns us to the realms of Arthurian legend . . .

Britain is a land riven by anarchy, slaughter, famine, filth and darkness. Its armies are destroyed, its heroes dead, or missing. Arthur and Lancelot fell in the last great battle and Merlin has not been these past ten years. But in a small, isolated monastery in the west of England, a young boy is suddenly plucked from his simple existence by the ageing warrior, Gawain. It seems he must come to terms with his legacy and fate as the son of the most celebrated yet most infamous of Arthur’s warriors: Lancelot. For this is the story of Galahad, Lancelot’s son – the reluctant warrior who dared to keep the dream of Camelot alive . . .

MY REVIEW

Camelot by Giles Kristian is the second book (but also more of a companion novel) in the Arthurian Tales, a retelling of the legend of King Arthur and everything that came after. I didn’t manage to read the first book before picking this one up, but I don’t think that you need to start with book 1. I had absolutely no trouble understanding what was going on in this book once I got my bearings and understood who the characters were, and I have absolutely no knowledge of the legend of King Arthur except for the tale of Excalibur, who Arthur was and how Merlin came into the mix, but anyone who has seen the Disney film will know.

I didn’t struggle at all to grasp this book, but I’m definitely going to go back and read book 1 and then this one again for the full experience, but I really don’t think that it’s necessary to read book 1 first.

As you know, I’m a big fantasy/ historical fiction fan, and even more so when it is a retelling of legends and myths, so I was sure to really like this book. I was surprised by just how captivated I was by this story very early on even though I was a bit lost at the start. As the book progresses, we meet a lot of characters and sometimes it was a bit complicated with everything that was going on to keep track of everyone, who they were, what sides they were on, etc, but it wasn’t “info-dumpy” at all. We first meet Galahad, our main character on the island where the Thorn grows.

We quickly meet a lot of other characters, and I’m not sure how much detail I can give without spoiling you, but I really enjoyed having a whole cast of all these great mythical characters. Even though I don’t know much about this legend, it was so interesting to see all these characters pop up, especially when I knew who they were. My favourites were definitely Galahad, Iselle, Gawain and Merlin, but there were so many more. I thought they were all really well fleshed out, they were believable and most importantly I think, they were so interesting that I just couldn’t put this book down.

There is definitely an “adventure” feel to this book, and there is also quite a lot of blood, gore, battles, etc, my favourite scene I think is the one right at the end, it was so well executed and I couldn’t read fast enough. It is quite a long book, but I feel like I read this really rather fast, and I’m sure I missed some subtleties, but I’m sure I’ll pick them up once I’ve read book 1.

It’s actually a lot harder to write this review than I thought it would be, I was totally enthralled by this book from start to finish, but there was so much going on and so much to take in, that I’m a bit lost for words. In any case, I thought it was such a great retelling and I learned so much from just book 2 even though it wasn’t the start of the story. The way this book ended, I hope there will be more, but even if there isn’t, it had a really whimsical feel to it that I loved. It’s also really hard to talk about this book without spoiling anything, and I don’t want to say anymore because everything past chapter 5 surprised me, so I want to make sure you are surprised too.

MY THOUGHTS AND RATING

Overall, this book was so interesting, so well executed, absolutely captivating and I loved every minute of it. I wanted to give it 5 stars because it entertained me and gripped me right from the start, but I think that the chapters were just a tad too long and drawn out for my personal taste and once or twice I forgot what had happened and had to go back a few pages because it was just so much to take in in one single chapter.

I’m giving this book 4.5 stars, it’s just missing that tiny flare that I look for in books that I adore, but I think that once I read book 1 and then book 2 again, I might find that special spark. I would really recommend this book to anyone who is interested in the legends of King Arthur, especially because this book goes so much farther than just that. The cast of characters was just amazing and it felt at times like I was right there with them, fighting against the Saxons to try to win back Britain. It was such a great reading experience and I’ll definitely be checking out more books by this author.

Thank you so much to Anne and Giles for letting me take part in this tour and for sending me this book, I absolutely loved it!

That’s all for now, I hope you enjoyed this post! See you soon, stay safe,

Ellie xx

4.5-star rating

ABOUT THE AUTHOR – GILES KRISTIAN

Family history (he is half Norwegian) and a passion for the fiction of Bernard Cornwell inspired Giles Kristian to write. Set in the Viking world, his bestselling Raven and The Rise of Sigurd trilogies have been acclaimed by his peers, reviewers and readers alike. In The Bleeding Land and Brothers’ Fury, he tells the story of a family torn apart by the English Civil War. He also co-wrote Wilbur Smith’s No.1 bestseller, Golden Lion. In his most recent novel, the Sunday Times bestseller Lancelot, Giles plunged into the rich waters of the Arthurian legend. For his next book, he continues his epic reimagining of our greatest island ‘history’. Giles Kristian lives in Leicestershire.

Giles’s Links: WebsiteTwitterInstagramFacebook

If you would like to purchase this book, you can find it here: Amazon UK (affiliate link) – Amazon FR (affiliate link) – Book Depository (affiliate link) – Audible FR (affiliate link) – Amazon USWaterstonesAudible UKKobo

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25 Comments

    1. Thank you!! I really enjoyed it and I’m definitely going to be reading his other books as soon as I have a chance! 🙂

  1. Amazing review! I’m also a huge fan of fantasy/historical books, I think it’s my favorite fantasy subgenre. I also have very little knowledge of King Arthur’s story so this one might be great to get to know a bit more about it!

  2. Really good review, I love how detailed your reviews are Ellie. I’ve not read many books based on Arthurian legends, this books sounds really interesting I think I might have to add it to my TBR 🙂

    1. Thank you Sarah, it was so hard to get this review as detailed as I would have liked without giving anything away, I couldn’t do my usual structure for this book because everything I could have said in each category would have been a spoiler ohoh! It was great and I definitely recommend! 🙂

  3. I, too, am a sucker for retellings of myths. This book sounds like a great read! I totally know what you mean about there being too much to even explain, I alwaysfeel that way when I try to talk about books I love! I’ve been putting a review off for over a WEEK on this 5-star book I recently finished

    1. Myths are so incredible, and so interesting to see everyone’s take on them, you’d love it! I still don’t know what I can say about this book other than Wowowowow! 🤣🙈 Ohoh, good luck, looking forward to reading it!!

  4. I’ve read a lot of Camelot stories before, so I’m always sceptical. They always end up being a bit formulaic. So it’s nice to hear that this is a good one. May have to give it a try.

    1. Ohhh! What movies and series would you recommend? I’ve only watched one or two I think but I’d love to read more 🙂 Thank you!

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