A moment later, Will looked up, bleary eyed, to see his friend staring at him. “I suppose I owe you an explanation.”
“An explanation for starters,” replied Alfred. “Then, you will proceed to tell me exactly how you plan to recover the scabbard.”
“I’m afraid that may only be possible over my dead body.”
“At this moment,” said Alfred without even the barest suggestion of a smile, “that hardly seems to high a price.”
Rating: 3.5 Stars
Age Recommendation: Adult, potentially Young Adult
Warnings: Occasional hints at adult subject matter
Sean Gibson’s The Camelot Shadow presents the story of Lord Alfred Fitzwilliam, who will do anything to save his wife, Ellen, who is dying. When approached about the possibility of King Arthur’s scabbard being preserved and its supposed abilities to heal people, he takes a chance and heads off to search for it. Joining him are his friend William Upton, and two parties both interested in taking the scabbard for their own purposes. Full of mystery and magic, this Victorian Era novel is a new and original take on the legend of King Arthur.
Some of you are probably looking at the rating and wondering why a story so interesting would receive a 3.5 out of 5 stars. I don’t have any particular issue with The Camelot Shadow, but there is something to be said for mystery within a story and I feel like this book could have had a bit more of it. The author allows the reader to see each character’s perspective and motivation, which it of course quite interesting. But – except for a few instances – there were several scenes that took away from the question of what would happen down the road. Gibson did a splendid job of avoiding vagueness to the point that it would ruin the plot, but I personally enjoy trying to put all the pieces together and that was not something I necessarily had to do.
Perhaps the most interesting part for me of The Camelot Shadow was Will’s story and everything that followed it. Once most of the characters involved in the main plot were in the same place, the arc really took off and pulled me back into the story. The sections that held my attention the best were the very beginning, and about halfway through until the end.
I suppose my main issue was that I felt disconnected from The Camelot Shadow’s characters a lot of the time. Information given in flashback was extremely compelling, and anything offered in description felt very believable. Some of The Camelot Shadow‘s dialogue seemed stiff or provided solely because the plot needed further explanation. When Gibson settled into the story and allowed Alfred and Will to dive towards their goals, everything became far more engaging. Also, once I caught onto which character was which (because at first I was mixing them up left and right), everything became much easier to follow and believe in.
I also want to mention that the wit and humor in The Camelot Shadow held me, even when the plot grew confusing or when I wasn’t sure how I felt about it. Essentially, I came for the plot and stayed for the humor and the drama that follows the story. Some of the language used, as far as vocabulary goes, was a bit beyond me, but it simply reminded me of classics that I would read for my literature classes. Essentially, even if you have some trouble with the beginning of the novel, determine to make it to the middle, because by then, you won’t be able to put it away.