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Damosel : in which the lady of the Lake renders a frank and often startling account of her wondrous life and times

by Stephanie Spinner

  Book : Fiction : Secondary (senior high) school  |  1st ed

A different perspective...   (2009-03-02)

Good

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by tiamatq

Damosel is a retelling of the legends of King Arthur, from the perspectives of the Lady of the Lake, Damosel, and a dwarf named Twixt, who serves at Camelot as court jester.  Damosel follows all the rules required of Ladies and lives a fairly quiet life in her Lake.  When Merlin seeks her out to craft Exaclibur, it begins a series of events that will lead to Arthur's rule, Merlin's entrapment, and plots to overthrow the king. 

I've never been all that into reading Arthurian legend.  I just don't get the appeal.  I <i>do</i> like retold fairy tales and myths, though, so this story intrigued me.  Hearing Damosel's perspective on Arthur, Merlin, and Camelot is interesting and may appeal to others who have had trouble latching onto stories of King Arthur.  That said, the book seems to assume you already have some familiarity with the stories, giving readers a very minimal explanation of characters and events. 

I enjoyed the first half of the book, where Damosel is trading for materials and crafting Excalibur, or speaking with her cousin Nimue about Camelot and Merlin.  Stephanie Spinner spends this time developing Damosel and presents us with that alternative point of view we expect in this premise.  However, the moment that she meets and falls for the knight Pelleas, the plot becomes painfully slow.  All of the action that's been built up, the promised conflicts, they either evaporate or take place off the page.  The ending felt sudden - but I feel that way about all version of King Arthur's story... except perhaps the King Arthur and the Knights of Justice comics!

Twixt's parts are enjoyable and do indeed give you a unique perspective.  Who doesn't love to hear from the court's fool?  I was disappointed that in the summary of the many characters, we didn't hear anything about what happened to Sir Tor... did I just miss if he was killed?




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