Monday, April 06, 2009


Rating : 3.0/5
Number of Pages : 638
Format : Arthurian Fiction
Reason for Reading : Arthurian Challenge

One of the classic fictionl; tales of King Arthur and his Knights of the Round Table. Orignally written as four stories, this edition has them all together. The Sword in the Stone tells of Arthur's early life, his meeting with Merlin and his experience changing into different animals. This was a really fun book and I enjoyed the learning Arthur did as Wart. We are also introduced to Pellinore and his Questing Beast which comes back in the second book. There is a Disney film of the same name which I used to love when I was younger which does a fairly decent job at this.

The second book was The Witch in the Wood which introduces the Orkney faction (Gawain, Agravaine, Geheris and Gareth) along with Arthur's main enemy Queen Morgause. It has some insight into the characters of the Queen and the brothers along with a very memorable event involving a unicorn. Pellinore falls in love and we meet a truely black knight. The third book is The Ill Made Knight and mostly follows Lancelot and Guenevere. It has the Quest for the Holy Grail and the beginnings of the end of the Round Table and Arthur's Fellowship. The final book in the collection is The Candle in the Wind and starts to describe the end of days. Mordred has turned against Arthur fully now along with Gawain against Lancelot and it won't be long until arthur's death. By now he is an old man and his hopes have been mostly realised.

This is a bittersweet book for the most part. It focuses on some very small details and glosses over others. After spending so much time with Pellinore in the first two books we learn he has been killed in passing later on. White also pokes a lot of fun at Arthur calling him a cuckold and a fool for letting his wife lie with another man. He also references Le Morte D'Arthur a lot and says to read that for more detail in places. Overall I am glad I have read it finally, but it definitely ins't my favourite Arthurian novel.

7 comments:

mariel said...

I tried reading this a month or so ago, but couldn't get stuck in. I think I'll try again, but there was definitely something that put me off.

Rhinoa said...

Mariel - Yes it was hard to get in to and not at all what I was expecting. The first book in the collection was the best when Arthur is Wart and Merlin is getting confused.

Nymeth said...

This is actually one of my favourite retellings. Sorry you didn't love it, but I'm glad you still enjoyed it overall.

Kim L said...

Thanks for the review. I've been intending to read this book when I have the chance, ever since reading a few chapters from it back in high school.

Kailana said...

I have tried to read this book so many times and never really got all that far into it! I really have to remedy that at some point and time!

Ladytink_534 said...

I plan on reading White's books since they're what Disney based their Sword in the Stone movie on.

Penny (aka Yooperchick) said...

I'm planning on reading this one for the Arthurian Challenge also. We seem to have the same tastes!