The Book of Mordred by Vivian Vande Velde
I have decided that since I want to be a writer and will hopefully be an English Teacher in a few years (as well as history) I should probably use this blog to do some book reviews. As you can tell by looking at my side bar ————————(arrow)———–>>>
I have been reading as much as I can this summer. But, I’ve decided to start with this book because it is still fresh in my mind–I just finished it last night before I went to bed.
So, The Book of Mordred caught my eye because 1) I LOVE Arthurian legend and 2) the cover is intriguing.
Quick rundown: Mordred is King Arthur’s bastard son by his half-sister Morgause or Morgana (depending on the version). He leads to the downfall of Camelot and the “death” of Arthur (who kills him at the same time). Mordred has always been viewed as a darker, shady, mysterious, hateful character who may also be a coward and not a skilled knight (again, depending on the version).
In this book, Velde takes a look at Mordred from the point of view of three women: Alayna, Nimue, and Kiera.He is intertwined in all of these women’s life and they in his.
Alayna is a lesser noble who married a village wizard but is recently widowed. In the first 1/3 of the book, her daughter, Kiera (4 years old) is kidnapped by an evil wizard to use her powers of foresight. Alayna rushes to rescue her, meets Mordred who accompanies her and rescues her daughter, while apparently killing the evil wizard.
The 2nd part of the book has skipped a couple years and introduces Nimue, who
is was Merlin’s lover/apprentice. Merlin is now gone and Nimue happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time when boys are being captured to have their youth stolen by the evil wizard. Nimue bumps into Mordred who helps her rescue the boys and kill the wizard yet again. This part of the book leads us to believe Nimue and Mordred’s relationship blossoms.
The last third of the book skips another couple of years and Kiera is now 14. The setting is Camelot where her foresight powers get her in trouble as the Arthurian legend comes to a climax: from Lancelot and Guinevere to the battle between Mordred and Arthur.
1) Vende has a really good writing style. It is always at a good pace–when the action is fast, so is her pace–it is almost stream-of-thought–when the action is slow, so is her writing with bigger and longer paragraphs.
2) It is a new view of the super intriguing character of Mordred. Usually Arthurian books show Mordred as a bad guy through the eyes of a main player in the legends. Or it shows Mordred’s point of view as being totally wronged. This book kind of balances it out. It shows Mordred through the eyes of 3 women who he has influenced (albeit, 2 of them don’t exist in Arthurian legend).
3) Vende incorporates the legend very well and shows she has done her research.
1) Kiera’s foresight scenes are juxtaposed a little weirdly–kind of disrupts her flow. Yes, I know visions will usually do that, but authors tend to keep a good flow between reality and vision/dream. Vende’s seems to disrupted.
2) Nimue is too nice! In this book, she is viewed as an innocent who is protecting Merlin as he sleeps. She puts her own talent down, too humble, too unsure, not confident, too nice. NO! Nimue seduced Merlin to teach her then she betrayed Merlin. She works with Vivian, Morgause, and Morgana in Arthurian legend. It drove me insane!