I recently unearthed some of the book reviews I wrote back in middle school to show to my sister, and long story short, I’ve never been more embarrassed in my life. (Not that I’ve lived for a particularly long time or anything.) Similarly, I pulled up my review of Camelot Burning a few days ago and nearly died from exposure to my freshman self. “He’s simply as godly as a man can be.” What the hell was I thinking in freshman year? Anyways, now that a year has passed, I can safely say that my thought process has truly deepened. Unfortunately, that also means the “Metal and Lace” series is no longer “mind blowing.” (Another cringe-worthy quote: “She developments to become a mature woman. SCORE.” I clearly didn’t see the value of proofreading back then…)
Avalon Rising, the sequel to Camelot Burning, depicts the aftermath of Morgan le Fay’s war on Camelot. The once great kingdom struggles to rebuild. In the midst of this struggle we find Vivienne, Merlin’s former apprentice, toiling in secret on orders from the Lady of the Lake to build an invincible aeroship. The Lady of the Lake promises that the ship will ensure that Camelot’s knights triumph over the Black Knight in the quest for Avalon and the Holy Grail. But the Lady’s assurance cannot assuage Vivienne when a company of knights — including Own, Vivienne’s brother, and Marcus, her beloved— goes missing. This development stimulates Vivienne to commandeer the aeroship for a rescue mission and alter the fates of all involved. Now the Lady sees danger in Vivienne’s future and even worse for Marcus.
In my review of Camelot Burning, I described Vivienne as “ideal independent Arthurian” heroine. I was wrong for multiple reasons. To begin, there is no “ideal” character, although Vivienne truly is likable and smart. Yes, she subverts female norms for the Arthurian period, but in no way is she ideally “independent.” Throughout the book, there’s a tension between the expectations of women of the Arthurian period and independence, a tension between the medieval and the “modern.” (In this case, modern refers to the 21st century.)
Avalon Rising‘s plot falls short of my expectations. Apparently, the plot of Camelot Burning made my mind go “GAAAAAAAHHHHH.” In contrast, I kept getting distracted when I read Avalon Rising. The cliche developments, the overemphasis on Marcus, and the overall boring story turned what seemed promising into a royal nightmare. The grand quest is more of a discursive journey steeped in steampunk elements. In other words, Avalon Rising is the epitome of storytelling gone haywire.
Take my review with a grain of salt; I did pull a few all-nighters the week I read Avalon Rising, so I definitely was more than a little grumpy.
Don’t be afraid to pick up Avalon Rising if you enjoyed Camelot Burning. Kathryn Rose still writes beautifully, and the book, although a little boring at times, is still cute and funny.
I leave you with this quote from that nightmarish review: “Heads. Will Explode. (Just not yours.) Jaws. Will. Drop. (Yup, yours.)”
Rating: 6 out of 10
Publisher: Flux (May 8th, 2015)
ISBN #: 9780738744896
Length: 384 pages (Paperback)