Le Fay #1
Other Books: Henge, Sword
Published by Self-Published on November 11th 2014
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy
The author/publisher provided a free copy of the book for review purposes - thank you! Receiving a review copy does not guarantee a positive review and therefore do not affect the opinion or content of the review.
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.
Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.
Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.
But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic? Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.
"Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written beginning to a planned YA series."--Kirkus Reviews
So I wasn’t going to do this book first, but Sophia insisted. She thought I’d like this type of book, and she wasn’t wrong. I personally have always been a fan of fantasy, but Lovejoy’s style I find to be particularly enticing. The way she threads anger, hopelessness, hope, and a bold sort of determination; all of which managing to have a proper place in the story and creating a certain feeling that the story, though a tad slow right away, leads quickly to a crescendo of plot, chaotic confusion, and the occasional plot hole.
Realm begins her short(ish) 260 page book with a nervous-sounding Morgan LeFay, who gives a brief bit of insight into how her paranoid but protective dad wouldn’t approve of the competition she’s entered. That competition would be the one in which she is to demonstrate her skill over her abilities to use fire magic for a chance to be called to Camelot to have a chance to become the Maven, or magical companion/guider, or the next King: Prince Arthur.
That all sounds great, and the outcome of the competition was a very obvious hint at the characters who would become important from it. Characters like the graceful, but arrogant water user Vivian and the masterfully talented water user Merlin Ambrosius have memorable interactions with Morgan, ultimately following her there (shocker!). Realm keeps Morgan’s shy-nervous side predominant when, after placing 2nd in the competition, her father immediately rushes to bring her home and is not happy. Since it’s in the synopsis, I don’t feel at all guilty by mentioning the fact that she does get in, somehow. Once she’s in, the real fun starts. Random problems with characters who are to become quite important start up very frequently and Morgan’s many moods start to show as she deals with them. All of this while trying to learn to be the best in her group and win the title of Maven.
I personally have to interject here to give one of my only two complaints: Morgan was paranoid to the extent of being annoying for a good portion of the book, but the story and characters around her more than make up for it. Just a warning to all readers: while that annoyance may give the impression that Morgan needs to take a chill pill, just stop and consider how boring the book would be if the fire shooting hothead had taken time to reasonably and cooly solve her problems.
While I found myself with a few mixed feelings about the fiery protagonist, the characters surrounding her did a good job of keeping me too busy to really care about Morgan’s flaws very much. Some of these characters to look out for would be her overly paranoid dad. It’s not hard to see why Morgan’s dad acts so protective, and it’s easy to empathize with him when she heads off to school. One can relate to him in some ways if they take the time to try and walk a mile in his shoes. Then there’s Merlin, who-if you’re like me- you’ll never develop a solid conclusion about. The guy is definitely the most complex of the characters (in my opinion) and wherever he shows up there is usually some significance to his actions. There are many more, but I’m not here to give you a book report, so I’ll leave the characters be for the time being.
I know I talk a lot, but bear with me for a tad longer. I’ve only got a little more to say.
Now, if you’re a person who needs to know everything about everything by the time a book ends, I’d recommend waiting to read Henge until you can get the sequel too. Lovejoy leaves a decent amount of things left unanswered of unaddressed, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing. All of those questions and mysteries leave Lovejoy with a lot of wiggle room to create the next installment of the Lefay series, and I personally look forward to getting my hands on that sequel.
Overall I gotta say that I was very fond of the book, and I enjoyed the story. There were some not-ideal parts, but they’re compensated for, and I have a feeling they will be even more so in the sequel. In the end, I gotta give Henge 4 out of 5. Great book overall.