In the wake of King Uther’s tragic death, the wicked Mordred is closing in on young King Arthur, and the boy king turns to Morgan for help. Freed from her imprisonment through his order, Morgan searches for a way to protect him. But she is still an outcast, and no one believes her suspicions about Mordred.
To save King Arthur, Morgan must reach the greatest Royal Relic in the world—the Grail—before Mordred does. It’s a journey that will challenge her in ways she’s never been challenged before. Traveling deep into a land of darkness, she will need to overcome the ghosts of her past to find her true power.
Disclaimer; I was provided with a free copy of this book by Realm Lovejoy in exchange for an honest review.
I loved the first book in the Le Fay series, Henge. The mix of Arthurian legend, modern-world technology and magic was a winning combination for me! I wasn't as keen on the second book, Sword, which suffered from some pacing issues, but I couldn't wait to see where Morgan's journey went in book three.
Book two in the series may have been a bit slow, but Grail has no such problems! The pace zips along at a rate of knots and it kept me hooked right the way through. With the story following Morgan as she spends the first half of the book in various stages of imprisonment and the second half on a quest to beat the villainous Mordred to the mythical grail, I should have had the same issue with this book that I did with Sword. But for some reason, the "story of two halves" approach seemed to work here. It just felt more connected and engaging.
It was good to see Morgan getting back to be the badass that she was in Henge. She's a little more subdued - both by her own doubts and the ban on her using her fire magic - but this darker, more introveted Morgan makes sense after everything she's been through. Her will they/won't they relationship with Merlin continues to be one of my favourite parts of the book. Over three books, they've flitted between friends, to alternately loving and hating each other, and there's no resolution here, but it's a lovely, bittersweet relationship that changes them both. I'm still not a fan of Lancelot. I know he's not supposed to be much older than Morgan, but the fact that he's the head of the king's guards means that I automatically think of him as being much older than the teenage protagonists. As a result, I've always found him a little sleazy. I felt so sorry for Arthur though! He may be the king, but he's a borderline suicidal teenager who's hopelessly out of his depth and completely at the whims of those around him. I hope he gets himself together later in the series. I'm thinking an ass-kicking, Clive Owen in the movie King Arthur-type of character!
After Arthur is kidnapped by the rebellious Luminaries, Morgan and Merlin are sent on a quest to beat Mordred to the mythical grail, which was easily my favourite part of the book! All mysterious islands, abandoned villages and bloodthirsty creatures. I love that stuff! And the final showdown between Morgan and Mordred - magic a-blazing! - was spectacular!
I did have some issues with the story The constant plot contrivances to keep Morgan around Arthur did get on my nerves a little. I mean, this is someone who's been sentenced to death for killing of the king and conspiring to overthrow his family as far as people believe, and not only is she not executed, she's assigned to work as a sort of janitor in the new king Arhtur's castle, with the only caveat being that she must stay away from him. Again, this is someone who, as far as most people are concerned, is guilty of regicide. And she's put to work in the castle. Unsupervised on occasion. And then she's upgraded to train as a knight! Expecting me to believe that Camelot would allow their most despised criminal to be trained as a knight while roaming freely around the castle requires a huge suspension of disbelief, and I'd like to have seen a more satisfying explanation for it.
Grail ends on another cliffhanger - although this one wasn't as frustrating as the one in Sword - but manages to wrap up the story nicely while still laying the foundations for the next book.