Hi everyone! Today is yet another review, which seems to be the only thing I’m motivated to write. Hoping that changes soon though since now my laptop has been fixed and it won’t take me hours to write one blog post! This review is for my ARC of Half Sick of Shadows!
Half Sick of Shadows
by Laura Sebastian
Release date: July 6th 2021
Genre: Adult, Fantasy
Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.
On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.
When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.
I enjoyed this feminist retelling of King Arthur from the perspective of Lady Elaine of Shalott! Now I’m not all that familiar with the poem by Tennyson that Elaine appears in, but what I do know is that it shows her as a lonely woman who only serves to further the plot of the men in the story. I loved how powerful Elaine was in this retelling, she really held the key to Arthur’s success, along with Morgana and Guinevere.
As someone who enjoys King Arthur retellings but hasn’t read many of the original stories (apart from what I had to read YEARS ago in high school), I’m not sure how much of this story lines up with those originals and what was all new with this retelling, but either way, it was a good read.
I also like Laura Sebastian’s writing style, it’s very easy to follow along with and get lost in the story instead of focusing too much on how it’s being given to you. This is being marketed as an adult novel, but I think that it reads more like the upper end of YA.
I liked the characters, especially Elaine, Morgana and Gwen. They’re such strong women and are faced with so many challenging decisions that impact not only themselves, but entire kingdoms. I loved how they supported one another instead of putting each other down. Elaine learning what was truly important to her and what she was willing to risk to make sure that Arthur was crowned was really amazing to see, although it was definitely bittersweet.
This story is told in a future/past/present style which I enjoyed, however it was a little jarring because there was nothing to indicate what time period you were reading. It did keep me on my toes though because I never knew what was coming next. It did feel like there were a few gaps in the story but I’m assuming that’s more to do with my lack of knowledge on these legends in general.
I think this was a good read, and I think it’ll hook a lot of people. Overall, I did enjoy reading this one and seeing these characters in a different light than the originals.
Thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for providing me with a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review!