Re: Camelot is an exciting story by E. C. Fisher. It sets the adventures of King Arthur around a teenage orphan named Arthur Godwin-Dragos. He is summoned to Planet Avalon by a beautiful woman named Merlin, who is the most powerful mage in Avalon City, a place that blends technology with fantasy magic. After Arthur pulls enchanted Excalibur from its stone on the Forgotten Isle, he heads off with a band of companions to find eleven sacred weapons that once belonged to knights of Camelot. The knights started their own countries, several of which are now at war. And when it turns out the growing darkness that caused Merlin to send Arthur on this quest comes from an ancient enchantress with the power of a dark dragon inside her—and a plan more devious than they imagined—Arthur and his friends have their work cut out for them.
I thought Re: Camelot was quite creative. The way technology was blended into the story while retaining the medieval feeling of an Arthur story always felt believable and E. C. Fisher’s many plot twists and turns kept the narrative fresh. The Knights of the Round Table were turned into countries (Gawain; Bedivere; Lancelot, and the rest) and their descendants, a well-coordinated cast of diverse, mostly young people took on the adventures of teamwork and courage against enchantment and darkness that makes any fantasy saga, including the legends of King Arthur, so enjoyable. The specific traits given each country not only created challenges to help the team grow as leaders and warriors, but also built great visual images for a complex world. The concept of Merlin being an official title granted to any great mage, in this case a woman, expanded this character into one of my favorites in the book, a perfect mentor and contrast to the developing talents of young Arthur and his band of friends.
The Castle by J.B. Michaels is the third book in the Bud Hutchins Supernatural Thriller series. After Bud gets the attention of the government, they want access to his brilliant technology. But Bud has other things to do. Along with his friend Maeve, he’s part of the hidden Order of St. Michael, monks who fight the paranormal. Bud is reluctant to train, but when their friend Ivy is kidnapped by a sinister vampire disguised as a famous singer, bent on taking out the Order, Bud and Maeve head to a remote castle in Scotland. In fact, it’s just possible this creepy castle might hold clues to something of deepest importance to Bud—the whereabouts of his missing grandfather.
The Castle is a solid installment in the Bud Hutchins series. Readers already hooked on the first two books won’t be disappointed. J.B. Michaels delivers a lot of adventure and whacko mayhem to keep the plot rolling as Maeve and Bud go on a whirlwind trip to Europe. There’s a bit of a darker tone and the action and evil are jacked up a notch to bring out some mature qualities underlying the characters and Bud’s development was excellent. He grew before my eyes as a lot of his insecurities and struggles with being underappreciated took the forefront and focused this thrill ride story in the right place—on real people learning to face what’s important to them. Bud and Maeve’s friendship was a perfect partnership of banter, snarkiness, and sincere care for each other beneath bluff exteriors, and Ivy’s subplot dealing with an undead New Age musician rounded things out nicely.
The Gathering Gods (Trip) by M.K. Baker is an imaginative epic fantasy tale filled with symbolism and cosmic themes. It begins at a remote period of history at which the world is beginning again after an even earlier time. A young girl named Perl awakens with no memories and soon realizes a beautiful woman named Ohm, her mentor, has given her fruit from a special tree called the Bodhi. This has caused Perl to reawaken with a new identity—one of The Wise. Perl is ordered to take the remaining twelve fruits and give them to others, many of whom she encounters by accident. Guided benevolently by Ohm, Perl and her first five friends travel the world and continue to expand outwards until all recipients of the Bodhi fruits have been found and a civilization can be built.
The Gathering Gods (Trip) is a journey into philosophy and adventure that shows the mark of a true creative mind. With a wonderfully developed mythology all its own, this book is literature at its most pure. M.K. Baker has the originality and depth that I’ve always admired in the best books. The personalities of Perl and her friends unfold in a gently paced, realistic way, as they travel, and record their significant experiences, and each of them—bookish Rychis, scientist Dehmun, pert, spunky fairy Imladi, the noble water-creature Endi, and more--blend perfectly together as representations of everything in humanity. We spend the most time with the first seven partakers of the fruit, as they have meaningful encounters with those of their species who have not been “awakened,” individualized visits from Ohm, or special bonds with each other that add threads to the journey, drawing a story that is just beginning as the book ends. A beautifully told, intelligent tale, The Gathering Gods should be on your list.
This is the companion for Sarah Scheele's newsletter blog. In it I share reviews for books I'd recommend/are similar to my own.