Teen Review: BOOK OF MORDRED by Vivian Vande Velde

Posted 30 March, 2011 | Mary @ TheBookSwarm | | 1 Comment

Final Grade: 100/A
344 pages
Available now
Personal copy

Dark forces are taking hold in the kingdom of Camelot: King Arthur struggles to keep his knights in line as they steadily divide themselves into factions; the great Merlin has vanished at the hands of his lover and pupil, Nimue; wizards all over the countryside battle for whatever measures of power they can find. At the center of the maelstrom stands Keira, an innocent girl who possesses the ability to foretell the fate of her world. When Keira is kidnapped from her village home, her mother, Alayna, flees to Camelot and finds Mordred, an enigmatic knight who will ultimately become Keira’s greatest champion, Alayna’s greatest love, and King Arthur’s greatest enemy.
In the long tradition of Arthurian legend, Mordred has been characterized as a buffoon, a false knight, and a bloodthirsty traitor. The Book of Mordred reveals a mysterious man through the eyes of three women who love him.

Characters: I knew most of the characters in this book already, as I enjoy reading Arthurian stories. The author kept true to their natures, while exploring different sides of their personalities. The biggest difference I saw was in Mordred, and I loved him in this book. Instead of causing all the problems intentionally, he’s swept away by events outside of his control and is dealing with them in the best way he knows how to. Kiera and her mother, Alayna, are new to the story, and both characters were well-developed and believable. Their addition made the other characters feel more three-dimensional, as the reader seems them through a fresh set of eyes. Finally, this is the first time I have read anything told through Nimue’s point of view, and it was refreshing to see her take on events.
Plot: The plot of this story is one that has been around for ages, but the author still manages to make it feel fresh. All of the main components of the Arthurian legend are there, but it is in the details where the author’s contributions to the story shine. Even though I already knew how the story would end, I kept reading to see just what path the characters would take to get there. I kept finding myself thinking, “So that’s what really happened,” as though I was reading a first-hand account, and the other stories had been hearsay. There weren’t any slow parts to this book, and I was always reluctant to close it in order to take care of life.
Cover: I’ve admired this cover for a long time. The illustration is beautiful and, while I don’t always like faces on my covers (I am of the type who likes to picture the characters for myself), these really worked. The front cover goes perfectly with the book, and I feel it captured the characters and mood as well. (I believe it is Mordred and Keira on the front cover.)

Reviewed by Brandon, who prefers to keep it on the DL (down low).

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