REVIEWS FOR LITERARY WORLD REVIEWS
Title: The Challenge
Author: Kim Iveson Headlee
Published: October 2015
Genre: Historical Fantasy/Fantasy
The gauntlet is thrown. One must die. Refusal is not an option.
Arthur the high king of Breatein has fallen captive of a longtime enemy, the Saxon warrior-princess, Camilla, who lusts to avenge the death of her betrothed at Gyan’s hands and will stop at nothing, even the black arts, to achieve her goal. Because Gyan and Arthur have grown estranged, she fears that Arthur may side with Camilla and make her his new queen.
Now Gyan must face all her demons – public as well as private.
Body of review:
The Challenge is part of Kim Headlee’s The Dragon’s Dove Chronicles and although it is the first story of the series I’ve read, that does not impede its enjoyment. It is a short story set in the world of the Arthurian legends and although it mixes fantasy elements (not that there are no fantasy elements in the story we’re all familiar with) it does refer back to older stories and traditions. Considering its length, the story packs an incredible amount of detail, not only of the action and fight itself (with vivid descriptions of weapons and gear), but also of the relationships of the queen, Gyan, with her men, of her feelings about her people and her kingdom, and also of her mental state at the time. She confronts a rival with supernatural strength, but more important than that she also has to fight her doubts about her relationship with the King. And although I’m not going to give you any spoilers, I can tell you that the ending won’t disappoint.
If you fancy a short read, full of action, with a good mix of historical detail and fantasy, and a superb strong female lead, I strongly recommend it.
What the book is about: A challenge and the fight of the queen against her rival, now a witch, to keep her kingdom and the man she loves, King Arthur.
Book Highlights: Good descriptions of both fights and also of the motivations of the characters, particularly considering the length of the story.
Challenges of the book: Some of the expressions and words that are adapted from old languages in the British Isles.
What do you get from it: A good short break and a read that can be savoured no matter how short a time you have. Also a good introduction to the series.
What I would have changed if anything: I’ve noticed some readers complained about the names of objects (like the sword) and characters although I think they are part of the authentic touches of the story. Perhaps a short guide identifying characters and objects with the corresponding names we’re already used to in Arthurian legend would make it easier for readers. As I haven’t read the longer books it’s possible that it’s already available elsewhere.
Who Would I recommend this book to?: People with only a short time to read but kin on getting into the action quickly and having an introduction to the series.
Realistic Characterization: 3/5
Made Me Think: 3.5/5
Overall enjoyment: 5/5
Overall Rating: 5/5
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Format & Pricing:
Audible: $ 4.15
Olga Núñez Miret