Monday, June 10, 2013

Book Review: I Am Mordred by Nancy Springer


Young Adult
Arthurian Fiction

April 13th 1998 by Philomel
        (first published 1998)  
Borrowed from library


My Rating:

In I Am Mordred, one of the most fascinating and misunderstood heroes of Arthurian lore comes to life in an epic fantasy for Camelot fans.What will a person give to forsake his destiny? From his very incarnation, Mordred has been a pawn in Camelot's history. Foretold by Merlin that he will grow up to kill his father, the beloved King Arthur, young Mordred struggles with his fate, loathing the great king who tried to kill him as a baby, yet journeying to Camelot where he learns to serve and idolize the legendary leader. Torn between feelings of love and hate, Mordred yearns to make peace with Arthur, who still refuses to acknowledge him. But Mordred is determined to have peace at any price-even if it costs him his soul.

This is a retelling of the Legend of Arthur through the point of view of Arthur's son, Mordred. Throughout this book, Mordred comes to find out that he is the son of a great king, learns of a prophesy that states that he will kill King Arthur, and battles with himself over the love-hate relationship and feelings that he has towards his father.

I loved how Springer wove this tale around Mordred while still including nearly everything I've ever learned about the legend. It was well told, well paced, and quite magical without having Merlin as the focus of the story. In fact, Merlin is but a footnote in this tale. The internal conflict and character development of Mordred was amazing. It was well worth the read to see how a child takes the news that he will kill his father, be deemed evil and unworthy for most of his life, and still have goodness in his heart.

I'm a huge fan of Arthurian fiction. I haven't read a ton but I've watched all of the movie and tv show  adaptations. I'm pretty sure that my love of castles and wizards were born from stories of King Arthur, Camelot, and Merlin. My love of these things far predates Harry Potter (which is usually what people think of when you mention castles and wizards these days). It's one tale that has stuck with me since I was a young child and never ceased to be magical. (Ok, I feel like I have to explain that Harry Potter came out when I was in middle school and I was an avid reader long before then.) I still to this day watch those old 90's movies such as 'Merlin', 'Sir Lancelot', and the cartoon, 'The Sword in the Stone' and still feel just as amazed by the story as I did when I was a kid. 

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