Alisha Tarran's Reviews > Camelot Burning

Camelot Burning by Kathryn  Rose
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it was ok

I was drawn to this book like a moth to a flame, I's all about Arthurian legend, and it's set in Arthurian times with all the well known figures. The history geek in me was screaming in joy, and freaking out, I mean STEAMPUNK ARTHUR?! I couldn't get the book fast enough. I'm the girl who has every season of Merlin on DVD and re-watches it twice a year at least twice. Do you see how badly I wanted to love this book?!

The concept of the book was fantastic. It was really intriguing, and interesting, don't get me wrong. The problem was, Steampunk is usually set in the Victorian era. As I was reading the book, I kept noticing how some things kept turning all Victorian era-y for no reason at all, or maybe because the author struggled to translate Victorian to Arthurian? I'm not sure, but it was grating and annoying. The magic and mechanical aspects did keep me quite interested though, although there was a messy line involving magic and alchemy, which at some points was fun but at others was just downright annoying and sloppy.

Regarding whether or not this was accurate to the actual myths, as far as I remember Merlin did not have an addiction to magic at any point, he didn't really protect Camelot with his magic either, he assisted Arthur and was more of an advisor to him. Obviously the mechanical inventions weren't a thing but I expected that. To be honest, normally this kind of thing with the inaccuracies would annoy me, but Arthurian Legend is legend, and it's interesting to see other takes on it.

Merlin's flaws and his addiction to magic made him more realistic, and a more interesting character that you could really fall for, and get invested in and connect with. I loved how he was quirky and gruff, when he's usually portrayed as wise and all knowing and so on. Merlin may be the only character who actually managed to engage me, and who I actually connected with, he was the only decently written character in the whole book.

Vivienne. She's pretty much the Hannah Montana of this books world. She's leading a double life, handmaiden and inventor's apprentice, which sets her up to be really cool and interesting and you know...engaging. She fell very short. The two lives didn't mix well, and I think it was down to the writing, there was more than one problem with the writing. I couldn't connect with her at all, which is when I really start to struggle with books. If she was a real person, I can't even begin to imagine what she sounded like, her voice/narrative was so emotionless and clunky thanks to the words she used. Does she mean things literally? Did it actually happen? Who knows. She has no reaction to anything.

I also couldn't connect with her love interest at all. Marcus is just boring. It really irritated me how he supposedly has this huge thing about becoming a Knight, but it's like "oh run away with me" at points, he has no dedication to his commitments.

The author tried to paint this whole thing where Vivian and Guinevere are friends, which would have worked a whole lot better if they actually had more than a couple of scenes together. Guinevere's absent for pretty much the entire book, they don't have any conversations except instructions or whatever and Vivian has to be the only handmaiden I've ever heard of who never actually does any work. If you're hoping for all the Arthurian cast you'll be sadly mistaken.

The problem I was talking about above, with Vivian and how I couldn't connect with her and such, is largely down to the writing. The writing for this book is truly awful. The writing was so incredibly hard to get through, I struggled so much, and I only kept going because of the good parts of the book. So much of the book is muddled and sloppy it's hard to work out what's going on, to keep engaged with the book or to even to concentrate on it.

Part of my blah reaction to Vivian is because of the lack of description. There was next to no setting description, so it was impossible to picture the world the author was "creating" I was subbing the blanks with images from Merlin and what I already knew about Arthur. This lack of setting description is a huge part of the reason it was nearly impossible to get fully pulled in to the world, and engaged with the characters and plot. I mean half the time I'm just reading like "where did you come from?" "where did that come from?" "WHAT THE HELL IS GOING ON WHERE ARE YOU ALL?!", my patience ran out quite quickly after a point.
Half the things Vivian overhears, or see's happening just aren't possible and makes no sense, but then again that could be because of the lack of description. Who knows? Does the author even know?!

Everything that was good about this book was pretty much ruined by all the bad. Normally you could overlook a couple of bad things, but seeing as the problem was with the prose and the words, it was pretty hard to overlook and the entire book was an utter disaster. Part of me wants to read the rest of the books in the series, but when I think about the struggle to get through just this one....I don't think I will touch them with a barge pole. Very disappointing.

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Reading Progress

Finished Reading
May 9, 2014 – Shelved

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