Thursday, September 30, 2010

Here Lies Arthur, by Philip Reeve- Review

I've always loved the King Arthur stories, ever since I was very, very young.  In fact one of my most treasured picture books when I was probably 5 or 6 was an illustrated copy of one of the Arthurian legends.  Later my mom would introduce me to Mary Stewarts Merlin-centric books and it got me into the genre all over again.  I was obsessed and went on to read many series involving the legends from a variety of angles including some of the historical information.
So it only seemed natural that I would want to pick up Philip Reeve's Here Lies Arthur.

One part new story, and one part more historically accurate than possibly anything else I've read, Here Lies Arthur shows such a believable version of both Arthur and how his tales came to be that I had to step back every once in awhile and remind myself this was fiction.
Told from the first person perspective of Gwyna, a servant who's master is killed by Arthurs raid and then rescued by Myrddin, it has the appeal of an outsider looking in.  Throw in the need for Gwyna to be disguised as a boy for many years after participating in one of Myrddin's tricks, and you have both a story and the legends all rolled into one captivating package.

One of the things I especially loved about the story is Gwyna's lack of appeal relationship-wise.  As a boy she is not chased by the girls and as a girl she is not chased by the boys, so although she may be interested in others to some degree the story doesn't have the requisite love story aspect so prolific in YA novels and even middle school books today.  I appreciated that the larger part of the story is swirling around Gwyn/Gwyna and not necessarily sweeping her away within it.

A really page turning read, especially for Arthurian or Celtic history lovers.  Be warned though, very different from Philip Reeve's wacky sci-fi fantasy Larklight series.

Here Lies Arthur, By Philip Reeve
Scholastic, March 1 2010 (paperback)

for those who caught this review in the two hours it spent published (whoops!) while i was out eating brunch, thanks for coming back to read the actual finished review!  Yesh, why are the publish and save buttons so close together!

1 comment:

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