Tuesday, March 10, 2015

The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan le Fay

We've been here before. I rave about the Arthurian Legend character of Morgan le Fay, declare my love, and ramble on for ages. But instead, I'll suggest past book reviews for the various Morgan le Fay books I've read. Well, books that have the character in it, at the very least:
The Mists of Avalon
Le Morte D'Avalon
Guenevere, Queen of the Summer Country
Last year I came across a list of Arthurian legend books. I made my way through the list, looking for all books that had Morgan le Fay in them and also seemed to grab my interest -- The Circle Cast is one of them.

I had this book on my Kindle and read it on my flights to and from California. It's a long flight, so I had plenty of time to sit back and read.

This book is more forgiving of Morgan than some other versions of Arthurian legend. She, at times, is viewed as a villain or a misunderstood one. But this book shows Morgan before she became a high priestess or threat to Arthur. This book shows Morgan as a small child, taken away from her home for safety, and the many things that befall her.

She's a spiritual child, entwined with nature, and the "old religion" seems to keep showing up, as if attracted to someone who can support such gifts. But really, magic doesn't so much show it's head very often. Instead, we are shown a girl who is smart and determined. A girl who is forced to leave the home she loves. A girl who is made to be called "Morgan" rather than her born name, all to protect her. A girl who is delivered to one home, only to lose it and become a slave and later on, a queen.

Through the majority of this book, a princess she is not. Instead she is forced to clean and obey but does so without much error. With it, she learns more about magic and allows her spiritual gifts to grow. The magic, to me, seems more that Morgan has an attachment to the energy of the earth and knows how to correctly use it.

We see her grow up, become a queen, and head off to seek revenge for the childhood that was lost. The more vicious side of Morgan that's often shown in books begins to appear.

While I thought it was an interesting and new take on Morgan le Fay's life, I also struggled to get through the book. I felt like it went on endlessly and could have been shortened quite a bit. There's a lengthy stint at a village of Christians and I felt it had no true point in the plot other than introducing a love interest. A lot of areas were drawn out when they could have been edited down. I pushed myself to the end of the book and was more pleased to have finished it than finding myself wishing it hadn't ended. I also suspect I will not reread the book in the future. 

By means of retellings of Morgan le Fay, my favorites still remain I Am Morgan le Fay and The Mists of Avalon.

Last Week's Review: Summer and Bird by Katherine Catmull
Next Week's Review: The Strange and Beautiful Sorrows of Ava Lavender by Leslye Walton

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