Monday, August 6, 2012

Book review: Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve

Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve
(my own photo)
Arthur is arguably the most famous British king; the brave, noble warrior whose deeds have been celebrated for centuries.  But in Reeve's novel the real-life Arthur is nothing like the Arthur of legend.

Shortly after Arthur, a brutal, petty tyrant, burns down a village, Gwyna, a young girl who lived there, is taken in by the mysterious Myrddin.  He spins stories of Arthurs greatness in the hope rallying support for the man he believes can defeat the Saxons and unite Britain.  Gwyna becomes involved in making these legends and learns the power of words and suggestion.

While the writer makes it clear that this is just his own interpretation of the legends, I did enjoy the way he went against the hero-worship that traditionally surrounds Arthur.  However, I think he may have even gone too far in the opposite direction, and I don't think that the Arthur character in this novel had enough redeeming features to make him seem real.

It was an exciting, fast paced novel, and I felt that it dealt with issues such as the power of words and social constructs surrounding gender in an interesting, accessible way.

I think that this book is probably best suited for readers from 10-15 years of age.

Chances of finding it in my imaginary bookstore: 60%