Sunday, July 6, 2014

Book Review: I, Morgana by Felicity Pulman

I, Morgana by Felicity Pulman

Standalone book
Publisher: Momentum Books
Release Date: 26th June 2014
Read Date: 29th June 2014
Tagged under: 2014 read, book review, review copy, fantasy, historical, mythology, 2.5
Pages: 174
Buy at: Amazon

You know my name, but you don't know my story...

After being schooled in magic by Merlin and promised a kingdom, Morgana is robbed of her birthright and betrayed by everyone she has ever trusted. Risking everything for revenge, Morgana uses her magical arts to trap Merlin, threaten her half-brother King Arthur, and turn away the only man she will ever love. In destroying King Arthur and Camelot, Morgana sets into motion a catastrophe that can only be reversed if she can learn from the past in time to protect our future... and so fulfill an ancient prophecy. 
In the tradition of The Mists of Avalon comes a new story of Morgan le Fay, one of the most enigmatic and reviled characters in Arthurian legend.

Book Review [Spoiler-Free]

The Legend of King Arthur is one that is known to many within the literary world and while I can't say I am a huge fan (that honour, I believe, belongs to those true die-hards), I nonetheless love the tale and its various adaptations and works. Morgan le Fay is a character that I like despite her often being portrayed as the villain. The Road to Avalon by Joan Wolf, for example, is a book that I enjoyed immensely as it portrays Morgana in a kinder light. So when I heard of I, Morgana, I was intrigued by this new adaptation and wondered how the Arthurian Legend will be different from Morgana's perspective.

Sadly, I really struggled with this book.

The biggest struggle above all else is the relatability of the characters. Arthur comes across as weak, conniving with an immense dose of self-entitlement. Merlin often acts indifferent and lacks depth. One of the greatest love triangles is reduced down to something artificial with a heavy dose of cruelty and jealousy mixed in. Even Morgana, the protagonist that I was really looking forward to reading about, often acts whiny, frustrated with what she has in life and bent on revenge. And as Morgana's frustration builds, so did mine. I have often stood on Morgana's side in the Arthurian Legend and this is one of those rare times that I did not.

When I don't like the protagonist, the rest of the book is unlikely to win me over.

Pulman's twists on the traditional tale is interesting and ordinarily something I would have enjoyed. What I would have loved more of is description. It would have brought some of the scenes more to life and make me more immersed in the story. However, that is not to criticize Pulman's writing style, which I enjoyed (disregarding my aforementioned frustration at the characters). 

Overall: 2.5/5

There are many points within this book where I struggled and had to force myself to continue reading. While I applaud Felicity Pulman for her brave adaptation on an old familiar well-beloved legend, the execution failed to win me over.

Disclaimer: A complimentary copy of the ebook was provided to me by the author and publisher Momentum Books in exchange of an honest review. The views expressed above are entirely my own and are in, no way, affected by the source of this book.


  1. I was excited when I read the synopsis, but I definitely think this one sounds like it fell short
    Missie @ A Flurry of Ponderings