So… This is my first book review! I heard of Pendragon’s Heir first through a review on Schuyler’s blog (where she put it a great deal more eloquently than I can, but oh well); and now I finally got a chance to read it.
About the Book
Blanche Pendragon enjoys her undemanding life as the ward of an eccentric nobleman in 1900 England. It’s been years since she wondered what happened to her long lost parents, but then a gift on the night of her eighteenth birthday reveals a heritage more dangerous and awe-inspiring than she ever dreamed of—or wanted. Soon Blanche is flung into a world of wayfaring immortals, daring knights, and deadly combats, with a murderous witch-queen on her trail and the future of a kingdom at stake. As the legendary King Arthur Pendragon and his warriors face enemies without and treachery within, Blanche discovers a secret that could destroy the whole realm of Logres. Even if the kingdom could be saved, is she the one to do it? Or is someone else the Pendragon’s Heir?
Quite honestly, I came to this book with very high expectations, and it met and exceeded all of them. Entering the first chapter was like stepping into another world. Suzannah’s prose is rich and detailed, pulling you into the story and the world of Logres; the descriptions and metaphors are creative and striking. Sometimes description can tend to get too wordy, slowing down the story and boring the readers; here, though, it simply adds to the beauty.
“Snow began to drift over the path, transmuting the landscape in bites and swallows from lead to silver.” ~ Pendragon’s Heir
And then there’s the story. It’s based off of the legends of King Arthur, the knights of the Round Table, the Grail Quest, Morgan le Fay, and all of the rest; but at the same time, it’s delightfully unpredictable. The Grail Quest was beautifully woven into the plot. I was already pretty familiar with the story of Arthur, and while I don’t want to give away spoilers, I will say that Suzannah handled it very sensitively – and maybe more redemptively than the legends. I loved her vision of Logres as more than just an ancient nation, but rather a kingdom patterned off of the kingdom of heaven, a kingdom where right and justice prevail; a kingdom that could last, in various forms, even into the present day.
I fell in love with the characters. Blanche, at first unwilling to be the heir of Logres; Perceval, her impulsive and lovable knight; Nerys, her guardian; the regal King and his pale Queen. Even the villains were superbly drawn. I sympathized with, laughed with, cheered, and feared for Blanche and Perceval as they walked their dangerous, sometimes desperate journeys.
So far as serious fiction goes, fantasy has always been my first and greatest love. I was steeped in Lewis, and later Tolkien, at a young age, and ever since I’ve been on the lookout for authors that come even close to their level. I’ve only ever found a very few; but Suzannah Rowntree is definitely one of them. I’m looking forward to seeing what she comes out with next!