Read from January 13 to 21, 2014 — I own a copy, read count: 1
Synopsis: By day, Vivienne is Guinevere’s lady-in-waiting. By night, she’s Merlin’s secret apprentice, indulging in the new mechanical arts and science of alchemy. It’s a preferred distraction from Camelot’s gossipy nobility, roguish knights, and Lancelot’s athletic new squire, Marcus, who will follow in all knights’ footsteps by taking a rather inconvenient vow of chastity.
More than anything, Vivienne longs to escape Camelot for a future that wouldn’t include needlework or marriage to a boorish lord or dandy. But when King Arthur’s sorceress sister, Morgan le Fay, threatens Camelot, Vivienne must stay to help Merlin build a steam-powered weapon to defeat the dark magic machine Morgan will set upon the castle. Because if Camelot falls, Morgan would be that much closer to finding the elusive Holy Grail. Time is running out and Morgan draws near, and if Vivienne doesn’t have Merlin’s weapon ready soon, lives would pay the price, including that of Marcus, the only one fast enough to activate it on the battlefield.
Bookish things: 408 pages. The cover is beautiful and very closely inline with the story.
Where to buy: Amazon for $8.03 on kindle
Recommended for: Fans of Arthurian legends, steampunk fans and general romance gurus
Camelot Burning really caught my eye. With Arthurian legend mixed with steampunk, magic and alchemy, that’s really a recipe for awesome if I’ve ever seen one.
Alas, it didn’t quite deliver.
The story was certainly interesting, with plenty of action to keep me reading. I enjoyed the twists of some of the staple elements to the story (I’ll explain shortly). I enjoyed the characters for the most part and I felt that the first part of the story finished at a natural place in the overall story arc.
Where things didn’t sit so well started with the almost ‘insta-love’ between Vivienne and Marcus (although I did enjoy that they both tried to resist it.) it was quite quick…
I grew tired of all the descriptions of the clothes. I enjoy picturing lovely, intricate bodices and flowing long skirts with all the steampunk style detail, but when almost every scene started with a description of what everyone was wearing it grated on my nerves. It was often quite detailed, and certainly not relevant to the story. The characters barely discussed their dress. Perhaps have Marcus comment on her dress if you want to provide us with details like that. Or for an important event you would give us a detailed explaination of the dress Vivienne wore.
I felt that the descriptions of the great weapon were a little flat. Given the amount of detail that went into the clothing, I was expecting more of a detailed exploration of it as it was being built.
I also would have loved to see more between Merlin and Vivienne. More sensory information when things get creepy in the forest and more from Marcus in general.
Speaking of Merlin, I simply adored the way he was painted in this story! I loved that he didn’t resemble Dumbledore, that he had a feisty and firey personality, that he had foibles and snapped at Vivienne. I felt the strongest connection with him because he felt real. I loved Kathryn’s take on magic – very unique.
One thing that bothered me was (slight spoiler) Vivienne’s little gallop from the castle at the height of the climax (end spoiler). It seemed almost removed from the story. I saw her doing the things described but they had no feeling, they were numb. Perhaps this was written that way to show a disconnect from it all, but it didn’t work for me. I wanted to taste the sweat that dribbled across her lips, feel the fear creep up her spine, experience the horror of the things she did… It fell flat in the biggest way for me here.
A really enjoyable and unique take on the legends of Arthur mixed in with some lovely steampunk imagery.
**Note: I recieved this as an electronic ARC from NetGalley**