Hi there! Today I’m sharing a review for a new YA urban fantasy from Realm Lovejoy. HENGE is a modern retelling of Camelot’s myths, with a kick-butt girl who’s bent on being the best sorcerer King Aurthur has ever seen…
About the book:
Modern-day Camelot. Where knights no longer carry swords. Magic is dangerous. And those who seek control are not to be trusted.
Sixteen-year-old Morgan le Fay is a fire user. An ordinary girl with an extraordinary skill, she has the ability to create and command fire at will. Her dream is to become the Maven—the right hand of the future King Arthur. In the chance of a lifetime, Morgan is selected to join Arthur’s Round, an elite group of young magic users from which the new Maven will be chosen.
But Morgan has a secret—years ago, her mother was executed for using fire magic, and Morgan’s desire for justice makes her more than ready to take on the challenge before her. Can she prevail in Camelot’s tests of survival and magic?
Only time—and Morgan’s powerful fire—will tell.
"Camelot meets Hogwarts meets Panem in this intriguing, well-written beginning to a planned YA series." --Kirkus Reviews
This is a very strong YA urban fantasy, bringing a contemporary twist to the Camelot story.
Morgan La Fay is a fire user, a fact her father has tried to hide her entire life. Morgan’s mother, Morgause, was executed a decade before for the murder of her husband–while in self-defense–but no one would hear Morgan’s testimony. It seems that Morgan’s father wasn’t Morgause’s husband, and Morgause took great pains to keep Morgan’s identity secret.
Still, Morgan has a lot of anguish over losing her mother, and she’s unhappy about the restrictions placed on all magic users in the realm. She wants to be the Maven, or head magic user charged with protection of the next king, Arthur. As Maven, Morgan would use her power to help magic users have a better life.
Morgan auditions for a spot in Arthur’s Round, the selection cycle for Arthur’s Maven, and comes up against some talented magic users. Morgan and Guinivere, who has healing energy, become friends, but Morgan suspects something about water-user Merlin that isn’t straight up. There are others, and the plot thickens when Morgan learns her mother was a member of the Luminary–a rogue group of magic users who attempted to kill King Uther, Arthur’s father, fifteen years before. This attack resulted in the sweeping crackdown on magic use under which Morgan now exists.
There are some definitely dangerous goings on, with Morgan sometimes smack in the middle of what appears a plot to incapacitate, or even kill, her. It also becomes clear that powers are working behind the scenes to promote Merlin ahead of Morgan–when Merlin doesn’t even want to be Maven. Morgan struggles to figure out whom is responsible, and keeps coming up just short, but her determination and craft catapult her into the neck-and-neck race for Maven.
There’s significant mystery here. Morgan isn’t a dishrag; she fights hard for all she believes, risking her very life to save others. The tension is real, though I sometimes felt the story jumped too fast. The end is a fierce resolution with plenty more story to tell…in the next book.
I definitely would read on in this series. A great start with believable drama and well-crafted characters. Innocent, excepting, well, the grisly deaths of a couple baddies. So, safe for all ages.
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Goodluck and keep reading my friends!
Realm Lovejoy is a writer and an artist. She was raised in Washington State and the alps of Nagano, Japan. Her father is a Japanese ex-monk and her mother an English teacher from Rhode Island. Her art is influenced by both the East and the West.
Realm aspires to tell stories through her writing and art. She is agented by Jessica Regel. Her YA Sci-Fi book CLAN was released in 2013.