I tried very hard to get into this book. It was so hard. I think that it ended up ending in a weird place and after going forward and reading “The Wicked Day” I really wish that Stewart had ended this book better to just stay away from continuing the Arthurian saga.
There is really not much to say that I haven’t said in the other books. I like Merlin as a narrator, but everyone else is given very little development. The book starts to feel repetitive after a while. The only new thing in this one is that Stewart throws Merlin a curve ball by having him fall in love. Now this character, Nimue ends up being very important to the story, and I do applaud Stewart for having her be a heck of a lot wiser and even stronger than Merlin. But other than that, it’s same old same old. Merlin rides around a lot looking out for Arthur while Arthur is elsewhere doing kingly things. I am being facetious but honestly I was so bored while reading this book. There is very little action.
I was ultimately bored while reading this unfortunately. I think because Stewart didn’t really show me anything new here. We know that Morgause is evil (I say that while twirling my invisible mustache) but I honestly felt more bored by her than anything. I think it’s because Stewart does a lot of telling to the readers about what Morgause is up to so you feel like you are hearing this story from a random guy who tries to chat you up at the bar. You just smile politely hoping he moves on soon so you can go back to drinking your wine/beer/shot.
Since I am really familiar with the legend of King Arthur, his queen, Guinevere, Lancelot, Camelot, etc. I didn’t see anything new under the sun here. I think this book paints Arthur more naive than anything rather than some paragon of virtue.
The last part of the book is seriously Merlin just being told everything while he was “absent” from the story. I think it could have been interesting showing how Merlin’s ability to communicate with the gods was waning and how that left him feeling adrift. Instead this whole book was really about him
I think the ending was abrupt and was lacking some oomph that for all it’s faults that I had with “The Hollow Hills” at least delivered on by having Arthur crowned king. Maybe Stewart should have just ended the book with the end of Camelot instead of trying to stretch that out into a fourth book.