Saturday, January 17, 2015

Henge (Le Fay Series, Book 1)

Excerpt, Review and Giveaway!




Inspired by one of the greatest legends of all time…

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.

Realm Lovejoy’s modern Arthurian series features one of literature’s most complicated and powerful female figures. Henge is the first book in the LE FAY series, and—like Morgan le Fay’s magic—it is sure to dazzle and amaze. 



EXCERPT
Amid the people who’ve now gathered, I spot Merlin engaged in conversation with some cabinet members, including Pellinore, the head of the cabinet, a chubby, balding man who is chomping on an unlit cigar and actually seems to be listening to Merlin with interest. Merlin looks very earnest about whatever he is saying. I wish I had been born with social skills. Being sheltered, however, I can’t expect myself to suddenly become a social butterfly. I look around to see if there is someone I can talk to. For a second, Merlin catches my gaze before I avert my eyes.
A girl gasps. “Morgan!”
Guinevere plants herself next to me. She is in a dress that’s between a shade of gold and taupe—a mix of glam and humbleness. Strings of champagne pearls are whirled around her neck.
She smiles at me impishly. “Are you checking him out?”
“Him? You mean…”
I look back at Merlin, then at her. “No way!”
“He’s cute, isn’t he?”
“I guess he is, but he’s…”
Guinevere cranes closer. “What?”
“Nothing.”
“You can tell me,” she says.
“My father told me never to judge someone I don’t know.”
“Judging and gossiping are part of proper conversation.”
I lift a brow. “He’s too, uh… too pompous,” I say. “Pretentious.”
“I guess so,” Guinevere says. “Nobody is genuinely that perfect.”
“Exactly,” I exclaim.
Guinevere laughs a soft laugh, not harsh-sounding like mine. I remember people used to say my mother’s laugh could break glass and kill a murder of crows flying midair. I try to avoid laughing.
“Hey,” she says. “Didn’t Merlin spell your name in the competition? I saw it on the telly. Why did he do that?”
I have wondered that. Since he just met me, it could have been subconscious—something that just popped into his head and manifested—or he could have tried to make an impression on me. If so, it was unnecessary; his magic alone got my attention plenty.
“He said he was nervous,” I reply. “I bet he was trying to spell his own name.”
“Uh-huh, sure,” she says coyly. “I sense there is romance between you two. I am an expert in romance.”
I can’t help but laugh. “What makes you an expert?”
“Well, I’ve never experienced romance myself,” Guinevere admits. “But I have watched every romance movie under the sun. And I know that every romance begins with staring, and you two stare at each other a lot.”



MY THOUGHTS
A fresh and imaginative retelling! One I plan to have my children read as soon as they are at that reading level (and I did not even have to include any of my Prudish Parent Verdicts in this review). Most contestants are determined to become the Maven who is Arthur's right hand and leads him to Excalibur. Every character has a strong opinion about this "Round" of choosing a Maven.

The story went through so many immense landscapes and flashbacks that I will need to reread to get an adequate mental picture of some parts. For me, the most easily imaginable scene was when Merlin took Morgan to a cave and what she saw there. I could also easily picture some of the scenes where Morgan is proving control of her magic...with such great strength and determination.
---Beautiful and fierce imagery that would make for a spectacular movie or challenge a comic book illustrator.

The characters are complex and there is much of Morgan's family relationship to be sorted out in the next book. Clearly Morgan has good intentions but will Morgan always use her magic for good once she finds the truth behind all the secrets that have so obviously been kept from her?
(I wonder if Morgan's childhood vision has to do with the Arthurian legends where Morgan takes a mortally wounded Arthur to Avalon.)

Merlin, like Morgan, is an enigma. I actually found him to be so much of an enigma as far as motives that he was annoying and I am not sure that I feel sorry for him and whatever past he is struggling with. He was, however, a very believable character and I am sure I would despise interactions with him in a real life Camelot as much as I did in my readings. Yeah, I don't trust Merlin.

We see a docile Genevieve who tends to stay in the background but has a great magical gift. Arthur is likewise in the background as he is just figuring out life and who he trusts in it. Arthur has a tremendous burden ahead of him (I felt sympathy for the young lad).

The bad guys in this novel were truly bad and unreadable unless they were starting to be revealed. I like Ms. Lovejoy's style in making the true weight of character's choices and actions stick in one's mind. I can't help but wonder, if I were gifted with magical powers, would I survive Arthur's Round?

I enjoyed this book and would like to thank Realm Lovejoy for writing it!
My rating is 4 out of 5 stars. I am very eager to reread and I look forward to the rest of the series.



AUTHOR BIO

Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN was her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at realmlovejoy.com



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Tintagel and the legend that usually goes with it.
I am wondering if this series will follow that legend...hmmm. 

2 comments:

Realm Lovejoy said...

Thank you so much for reading Henge and writing a detailed review! I'm so glad to hear you liked it and that your children will hopefully read it later!

The video you posted of Tintagel is very cool. I went there about a year ago for research. I'm planning on posting photos of my travel there soon. (Hopefully I'll get it posted this week.) It really inspired my writing to be there.

I hope you'll like the next book in the series! It's scheduled to be out later this year.

THE BLUEST BUTTERFLY said...

I am looking forward to future reading of your work and the posting of the photos! Tintagel looks like such a beautiful hike.

:-)



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