Kara's Reviews > The Book of Mordred

The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde
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's review
Mar 06, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: king-arthur
Read from February 27 to March 06, 2012

Warning, this story gets dark very fast. The body count piles up quickly; lots of people die in a variety of nasty ways while a lot of other people get away with it.

Vivian Vande Velde has taken the King Arthur mythos and crafted a story that is entirely originally, new adventures, new characters, new twists and turns to the legend, yet brings it around to incorporate all the elements of the foamier tale. Once again, this is a king Arthur story, so there is no other possible ending besides tragedy, but she brings high tension to the inevitable, making eh stakes higher and higher, and then, once the final battle, finally, finally breaks, she drags it out like one long piercing note on a violin, high and disconcerting, leaving the reader breathless as just when you think things can’t get worse – they do.

Despite the title, Mordred is not quite the main character – his story is revealed by his actions around others. So, from this outside POV, we watch as a young, idealistic knight becomes a bitter tyrant. It’s a heartbreaking fall to see, and yet everything he does feels so inventible –surrounded by betrayal and treachery and stupidity and violence and injustice Mordred’s actions are understandable, to the point where he becomes not the antagonist or even anti-hero but simply a protagonist whose choices, meant to do good, or at least try and undo bad things others did, just make things worse as we watch a while country goes mad and turns on itself.

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