It has been just over a decade since Artor (Arthur) was crowned King of the Britons. In that time he has worked tirelessly to unite his kingdom (by force, if necessary). There is one remaining holdout – the savage Glamdring Ironfist. Unknown to Artor, he has an ally inside Glamdring’s inner circle. Bedwyr, who dreamed of serving his king, Artor, well, was captured by the Saxons and became Glamdring’s personal dog/slave. Bedwyr bided his time, constantly looking for the opportunity to escape, and did so, bringing Artor important information on Glamdring’s army.
Once Glamdring and the Saxon were fully defeated, Artor could devote himself to his marriage to Wenyvar (Guinevere) – a spoiled, nasty little brat. But complicating his life is the beautiful, smart, should-be-queen Nimue who is an apprentice to Merlinus. Everyone loves Nimue and hates Wenyvar.
Wait … is this the right story?
Although this is the second book in a series (my usual luck) this book is essentially two books in itself. The first half is all about setting up the confrontation with Glamdring and then seeing it through. The second half is all about Artor, Wenyver, Nimue, and Merlinus. They are two very different books and honestly, a couple of chapters in to the second half and I was paging backward and checking the table of contents to see if it was, in fact, two books (I couldn’t find anything that said it was). The two halves truly are that different.
The first half, the Glamdring story, was very well told and really exciting. Bedwyr’s story – being captured, enslaved, escape – was well done. Really, he comes out as the hero in the story. But of course he is doing it all for his king.
The second half of the story was kind of a yawn. It was like almost every teen-girl YA book I’ve ever read. Bratty girl gets all the attention while the smart, pretty-but-doesn’t-know-it girl is over-looked while she concocts a plan to get her due.
And while both books, or rather, both halves, center around Artor, he’s kind of a passive bystander in much of it.
For a couple of different reasons, I have done a fair amount of research and reading of the King Arthur legends and stories. The first half of this was right up there with some of the best books I’ve read on the theme (like Mary Stewart’s Merlin trilogy), whereas the second half was among the worst. It’s too bad it wasn’t the other way around because now I have no desire to read either the first book in the series or the third.
Looking for a good book? Half of Warrior of the West by M.K. Hume was really well written and thrilling, while the other half was slow plod. If you are really interested in a King Arthur themed book, look around, there are better options.
I received a digital copy of this book from the publisher, through Netgalley, in exchange for an honest review.
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Warrior of the West
author: M. K. Hume
series: King Arthur #2
publisher: Atria Books
paperback, 528 pages