“Camelot” by Giles Kristian


Thanks to Pushkin Press and NetGalley for the Advance Review Copy in exchange for an honest review.
It’s tough to review a book when essentially my review is “I liked it ok but it’s not nearly as good as the first book”.

Lancelot was one of my absolute favourite reads last year. I listened to the audiobook on my commute and actively enjoyed driving to work as I made my way through it. When I heard there was going to be a follow up I was so excited and I also have a weak spot for holy soft bois so it was doubly exciting to know it was going to be about Galahad.

After being orphaned Galahad is brought up by the monks of the Holy Thorn and expects to devote himself to a life of religious observance. These plans are thrown awry by the arrival of Gawain who is determined to restore Arthur’s legacy in a Britain besieged by Saxon invaders.
The first 20-25% of the book with Galahad at the Holy Thorn is just rather dull to be perfectly frank. If you like monks and the inner religious turmoil of a monk to be then it might float your boat but it was just a bit of a snoozefest. Galahad’s flimflamming and dithering was borderline irritating and I struggled to reconcile his characterisation with his backstory and his other characterisations in myth and legend. Just get on with it Galahad, make a decision! The characters in general just felt a bit hollow and there was just altogether too much faffing in the book as a whole.
I wasn’t convinced by Iselle’s character either, at times it felt borderline Mary Sue (I know, I know) and I think she could have been really interesting but she just…wasn’t which is a real shame. Hot mystery girl is good with bow seemed to be about the extent of it. It was all just a bit meh.
I did like the representations of the fens and other locations and think the author did a great job at capturing what Britain would have been like at this period of history although it was hard to see a light at the end of the tunnel at times. Sometimes the sense of hopelessness pervading over everything just felt too much.
It’s always difficult to judge a sequel fairly when you loved the first one but it just all fell a bit flat for me. Hoping there will be more to come with different characters.

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