Book Review: Camelot’s Blood and The Last Mermaid

Here are another two long over due book reviews, this time, from two Fantasy writers – Sarah Zettel and Shana Abe.

Ever since I picked up Sarah Zettel’s first book in her Paths to Camelot series, I have grown to admire her talent in creating tales of honour, romance and chivalry, set in the evocative time of. King Arthur, and which are not only imaginative and well written, but also engaging and compelling.

The incredibly rich tapestry of magic, intrigue, politics, betrayal, self-doubt, forgiveness, redemption and of course, love woven into the plot makes for an engrossing afternoon of reading. This last book, Camelot’s Blood, is by far my absolute favourite and the best of the series, IMO, a sentiment shared by the Golden-tongued Knight.

A marvelous finale to the series, this book is Agravain’s story. The least known of Lot’s son, yet most misunderstood and troubled of the four brothers, whose moods and acerbic wit did not exactly endear him to the ladies in court, this strong, silent knight has surprising depths that few have the opportunity to know. So, imagine his surprise when Laurel Carnbrea, whose heritage and lineage means she could have far better suitors than him, should deign to marry him.

But the joy of their marriage and their wedding night is interrupted by his father’s imminent death, and as the pair breaks with Arthur to return to a bleak place that has never shaken off the dark magic of Morgaine, evil and betrayal seems to dog their every step.

As the pair struggle to conquer their own fears and doubts, they must learn to grow in love and trust, and lean on each other’s strength. But can a husband and wife with too many secrets and misgiving between them learn to forge a bond that will withstand the relentless assault from their common enemy, Morgaine?

Read the book and find out for yourself. For me, I love this book so much I’m giving it a IMB 5.0 rating. That should pretty much clue you in, if you’re a Fantasy and Arthurian legend fan like me.

The Last Mermaid by Shana Abe seems to invoke extremes of opinions. Mrs Giggles didn’t seem to like it, yet this book garnered two award nominations and several other good reviews from reviewers. I happen to love this book, for the same reason that Mrs Giggles didn’t. Its pure fairy tale approach — simplistic, straight forward and neat happily ever after ending – makes it perfect poolside or beachside reading material.

More additions to the shelf

The sheer escapism offered up in the three novellas which comprises this book outweighed my need for intrigue and clever subtlety in the telling. So what if a couple of the characters are stereotypical fairy tale characters, I happen to like Leila and Ronan’s unusual and unlikely romance — she’s an assassin hired to kill him, after all – and that is the saving grace of this book.

Under Abe’s lush descriptive, these fairy tales centred around the legend of the siren came alive most vividly for me. I was taken to an imaginative plane filled with warriors, mermaids, assassins, lords and kings, as only fairy tales should be. So you would understand if I give this book an IMB rating of 5.0 for the few hours of pure fantasy it gave me.

No angst, no warring emotions, no agony of emotions. Bliss. Oh, and do check out this dreamy wallpaper, which captured the essence of the mermaid legend perfectly.