Saturday, January 2, 2016

Pendragon's Heir

Title: Pendragon's Heir

Series: None

Year: 2015

Author: Suzannah Rowntree

Summary: Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900 England. It's been years since she wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of—or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon's Heir? (from Goodreads)

Main Characters:
~ Blanchefleur Pendragon
~ Perceval

Review: I've not read many books surrounding the King Arthur legends, but I've been interested in them for quite a while now. When Suzannah contacted me, asking if I'd be willing to review her book Pendragon's Heir, I was immediately interested. So I said yes.

I wouldn't consider myself an expert in the field of King Arthur, so I cannot tell you how closely this book follows the legends. But it felt very Arthurian. Suzannah's writing style borrowed many elements from the classic legends, including a great deal of medieval-style speech. At first, I didn't follow the talking as well as I had hoped, but as the book progressed, I enjoyed it more and thought it gave the story as a whole a more authentic feel. For any fan of King Arthur, this book is a must.

Blanchefleur (a.k.a. Blanche) is our young heroine. She's grown up pretty much without any knowledge of her parentage, and is content with her guardian, Sir Ector. Life is simple and very English... until her eighteenth birthday. And then everything changes and she finds herself the missing princess of another world. Ultimately, she must choose between the world she's always known and the world now that everyone claims she belongs to, but she discovers the choices burrow a lot deeper than that.

Blanche is a very likable character. Usually, I find myself skeptical about the traditional medieval heroines, as they tend to be rather moody and tearful and altogether annoying. Blanche surprised me. She was still a perfect lady, but she had enough backbone to stand up for herself. I enjoyed rooting for her from page one, basically. 

Perceval, too, was a lot of fun. I may or may not have let him be a favorite character. *coughs* Okay, maybe he was the favorite. But when you have a male lead that isn't afraid to get into a fight for what he believes in, does it dashingly, and is able to make you laugh with one-liners while he's fighting, you can't help but enjoy him. 

Advisory: There is quite a bit of fantasy violence, and I won't take the time to list out specifics here, because that would take up too much room in this review. I did not think the violence overplayed, and personally, I enjoyed reading the fight scenes. 

In addition, there is some romance. Blanche obviously has her knight in almost-shining armor, but their relationship isn't the main focus of the book. They do share some physical contact, and, if I remember, two kisses. Other minor characters have some of the same degree of romance. 

I was, I'll admit, a little skeptical of how the author would put the famous love triangle into the story. Other readers stated that Suzannah did very well incorporating it, and I'd have to agree. A large portion of the middle of the book was dedicated to finding out the circumstances surrounding Blanche's birth, namely who her father is. I am not entirely fond of the whole Arthur-Guinevere-Lancelot triangle, but it wasn't overbearing in this book. Nothing explicit is mentioned, although there are a few references that would make me recommend this book more for mature readers.

The magic was interesting. It was one of the things I actually asked Suzannah about when she first contacted me for a review. She sent me this link, as she discussed the magic in her book with one of her beta readers, and I really enjoyed reading the interview. I know that magic is a strong element in the original King Arthur legends, and this book is no exception. For the good characters, the magic is used as more of a gift from God, while the evil characters who use it steal it in rebellion. Magic is essentially a talent. I was a little uneasy about the abundance of magic, but that's just me. I don't think that it is any way misused or presented wrongly during the course of the book, but I will set this advisory for any reader skeptical about the amount of magic in novels. 

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Click here to buy Pendragon's Heir on Amazon!

*Please note that I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for my honest review.*