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The Queen of Air and Darkness (The Once and Future King, #2)

3.48  ·  Rating details ·  271 ratings  ·  46 reviews
The Queen of Air and Darkness, is the second book in his epic work, The Once and Future King. It continues the story of the newly-crowned King Arthur, his tutelage by the wise Merlyn, his war against King Lot, and also introduces the Orkney clan, a group of characters who would cause the eventual downfall of the king.
Paperback, 104 pages
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Average rating 3.48  · 
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 ·  271 ratings  ·  46 reviews

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Thom Willis
Second book in The Once and Future King. Comparatively short. Introduces the characters of the Orkney clan, Gawain, Agravaine, Gaheris, Gareth, and their witch mother Morgause. This time around I found the subplot with Pellinore, Grummore, and Palomides simply irritating, but it does a lot to lighten the mood of this book, which concludes with Morgause's rape/seduction of her half-brother Arthur.

There isn't a lot of narrative content here, this is where the story picks up philosophically. Arthur
G. Lawrence
Jan 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Second book in the series, and it keeps getting better. Great series, truly funny, everyone should read this
Highness Atharva
The second book in the series and a truly different one from its first. The writing style is somewhat same but the story is different. We see Arthur suddenly grown up and mature. There are a lot of new characters in the book particulatly the Orkney clan and Morguase. White sets up unique characters and how they will affect the future of Arthur. There are obviously like the previous book trival chats and hunts. I would say that White focuses a lot on minor things and takes the major things very f ...more
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was a great read and I would definitely reccommend it to others, especially if you read the first book. It was intriguing how Arthur, Kay, and Merlyn acted compared to the first book. I think this book displayed quite different personality traits of Arthur than the first book did. I truly enjoyed watching Arthur grow from a curious and charismatic child into a powerful, war-hungry leader. I think that from reading the second book of this series you saw the teachings from Merlyn Arthur ...more
Layne Barber
This is definitely interesting, especially since unlike many of my other reviews I don't really have a clear perspective on this book. While I adore The One and Future King, it is a wonderfully well-written book about a subject I truly love from childhood, there were definitely some issues with it's second part. For one, though it was funny, it wasn't as funny as the Sword in the Stone, and since it didn't have lessons or morals to convey to the viewer it didn't have that same inexplicable warm ...more
Grace Norair
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I like reading this book but in retrospect I think I appreciate is a more appropriate word for my feelings towards it. This book was quite different than the first. At the ending of The Sword in the Stone the reader is left with a feeling that Arthurs life is just beginning. In the Queen of Air and Darkness we see Arthur from a completely different light. We continue to watch Arthur grow but this time around something was very different about Arthur. His attitude was less meek and shy he was a b ...more
Dec 11, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I thoroughly enjoyed this book, perhaps more than I enjoyed the first book of the Once and Future King. It was very short, however it served to introduce many new characters as well as set up a plot that I suspect will be continued in the next book. I would have hoped to have more insight into Morgause's children. I learned quite a bit of characterization about them, yet they did not contribute to the plot much in this book. I look forward to seeing how they might aide or hinder (especially in t ...more
Feb 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Very good, funny yet also dark and at times quite philosophical.
Storyline: 1/5
Characters: 3/5
Writing Style: 2/5
World: 2/5

So let’s start with the obvious: T.H. White’s Arthurian tetralogy, The Once and Future King is not only the go-to Arthur book of modern times but also regarded a classic.

Now, the not-so-obvious: The Arthur tale one gets depends on which particular edition one reads. I had not realized it before, but White kept rewriting and editing his Arthur stories, giving them entirely new direction and chapters over time. The edition of the The Sword
Elena S
Dec 13, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Chunyang Ding
Apr 23, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I think this is the book that truly draws me into this series. It has more of the classic elements of the Matter of England - of war, of wisdom, of distrust, of friendship - but is written in White's unmistakable style. It has been several years since I have read a book with a dictionary at my side (well, a dictionary app at least), but White hides so many little treasures in his wordplay that it would be quite a loss without one.

We see Arthur grow from boy to king in this book, endowed with th
Dec 12, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Queen of Air and Darkness (The Once and Future King) was overall a decent book. I felt the second part connected with the first part very well. It gives you the perspective on Arthur as a King which in the first story it was him as a child. Reading this second book gives us a picture of how Arthur has grown up and become a respectful and mature King. This second story also gives us a very important British Literary Tradition which is the idea of war. In this culture, war is quite common and ...more
Feb 08, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I'm starting to see that T. H. White really doesn't care about plot. This isn't necessarily a bad thing -- as I mentioned in my review of The Sword in the Stone, he excels otherwise in raw narrative, which really balances out things in the end.

There are better things and worse things in this book, compared to the first. It undoubtedly follows a much darker vein of storytelling, where our merry flock of pacifistic geese and nonchalant badgers have been replaced with rape and power-hungry leaders.
Gabi R.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The story starts off by introducing us to new characters, the Orkney boys, who are the sons of Morgause. The oldest boy tells the story of their grandmother who was Igraine, they explain how King Uther Pendragon was evil and mean. So they hate King Arthur for being the son of King Uther Pendragon, this is what gets the story going.

Something I liked in the book was the transition from how King Arthur was before book 2 and how he is after. I love the character development in the book and I also e
Sep 20, 2020 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
This book does not stand well on its own. Sure, it's the second book in a series of books, but this one is significantly shorter than the rest and pretty much sets up Arthur's kingdom and philosophy, as well as his downfall. In short, it's significant to the series but not an enjoyable read on its own.

It's also worth noting that despite its short length, it still feels padded to me. I kept having to reread the sections with the Questing Beast as my eyes kept glazing over - Pellinore seemed to ge
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Definitely felt more like an episode than a book, as opposed to The Sword in the Stone. I suppose that's why they ended up smooshing them all together. I spent most of the book being horrified by the Unicorn Incident, which I ended up texting way too many people about and just... oh man. I wasn't expecting to FEEL LIKE THAT, is what I'm saying.

Didn't particularly care about the Pellinore/Grummore stuff going on (I suspect that goes over better with kids who are reading this book), but the scenes
Melissa Jacobson
Actual rating 3.75

This is probably my least favorite book in the series (to my recollection) but it does have some amazingly poignant chapter *cough, unicorn hunt cough*. I realize the importance of this with it introducing several of the knights, Arthur's incestuous thing which creates Mordred, a.k.a, one of my favorite characters of all time. But my god, Arthur is sooooo annoying in this. Even the Merlyn banter scenes couldn't make me like him in this book. That aside I am excited for book thr
Justin D
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Jan 04, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book overall was good. However, the story about Sir Palomides, Sir Grammure and King Pellinore stole the fifth star, as the tale came across as too shoehorned and flamboyant for my tastes. The tales about Agravaine, Gawaine and Gareth and the ones about King Arthur, Merlyn and Sir Kay were all great. So were the ones about Queen Margouse. I'd recommend the book to anyone interested in the Matter of Britain. T.H White retells the stories in a more authentic and modern fashion than most.
Astou D
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I definitely enjoyed the second book more than the first book because I understand the dialogue and characters better. My favorite part in this book is when Palomides and Sir Grummermore dress up as the questing beast to trick King Pelilinore and the real questing beast falls in love with them. If you are trying to find a book to challenge your mind I definitely recommend this book.
Ahmad E
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
I think that the book was a good one but there were some boring parts but the rest was ok. I especially like the part when the eldest boy became a knight. One of the boring parts was when they were just talking and talking and didn't stop for a long time. Another good part was when it says "that Lancelot was the best knight king author ever had.
Jul 09, 2019 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Could’ve been longer. Continues Merlyn’s ‘backwards-living’ well, containing numerous references to recent wars and other events (well, more recent than the Normans, anyway). Somehow I didn’t realise that Mordred is commonly depicted as Arthur’s son until now, even after reading loads of Arthurian legends.
Emilee B.
Dec 03, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, classics
If I am being honest I did not love this book. This is a required read and it is not really the type of book that I enjoy. This book is a little bit better than the sword and the stone. If you like Medieval stories than I would read this book for sure.
Bryson s
Dec 04, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
It was a great book and I thought it was the best book of The Once and Future King books. I loved the action in the book. I thought it had the most action in the series of books.
Gabriel O
Dec 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This book was very interesting because of the way it was put into the book the best chapter was chapter one where Queen
Pamela Huck
Slapstick and drama very close together in the second book of "The Once and Future King".
Arthur is going to war, and he does it in a "new" way that is less ritualised and more brutal than the warefare the rebels fighting him are used to. I wonder what White makes of this in the next part of the book. You see Arthur getting depth and ambivalence, which is good.
Comic relief comes in person of King Pellinore, Sir Grummore and Sir Palomides together with the lovelorn Questing Beast. Dunno what this
Sep 23, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This second book in the series continues the story of King Arthur, from where we left off in "The Sword in the Stone," and introduces new characters that will be important when it comes to Arthur's eventual downfall. I'm not totally familiar with the King Arthur mythology, so I got more out of the experience by reading through some spoilers online while I was in the middle of this book. I usually hate spoilers, but in this case, it brought greater understanding to what was happening, as well as ...more
Ben Bonci
The Queen of Air and Darkness is the second title in what became the Once and Future King. And as a second book, it suffers somewhat from the sense that all the action within the title is essentially to set up future drama.

That’s not to say it isn’t a complete or comprehensive narrative. Events occur, characters progress both in terms of emotional maturity and condition within the world. But while The Sword in the Stone works well as a stand alone piece of fiction, the character arcs within Quee
Mar 31, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This did not quite have the charm of the first book, being more of a look at Arthur's early years of ruling and the initial idea for the Round Table. Much of it (most of it) is tongue-in-cheek and while enjoyable to read as prose, didn't really move the story much at all.

I hear the last two books in the set are more dismal, focusing on the illegitimate relationship between Guinever and Launcelot so I think I will probably skip them.
Gregory Johnston
Not quite as good as The Sword in the Stone, White continues with the Arthurian story by flipping between Arthur and his consolidation of power, and stories involving his mother's family (who are thoroughly against Arthur due to the actions of his father Uther). As Arthur consolidates his power and marries Guinevere (which was sort of an aside comment - it kind of just happened) he comes into being a king.
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Born in Bombay to English parents, Terence Hanbury White was educated at Cambridge and taught for some time at Stowe before deciding to write full-time. White moved to Ireland in 1939 as a conscientious objector to WWII, and lived out his years there. White is best known for his sequence of Arthurian novels, The Once and Future King, first published together in 1958.

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