I don’t even remember the last time my feelings were this mixed for a book. It’s been a couple days since I finished, and I can’t really decide where my feelings fall. Here’s the summary from Amazon, which is about all I knew about the book going in:
From the drug gangs of downtown Indianapolis, the one true king will arise. The King Arthur myth gets dramatically retold through the eyes of street hustler King, as he tries to unite the crack dealers, gangbangers and the monsters lurking within them to do the right thing. Broaddus’ debut is a stunning, edgy work, genuinely unlike anything you’ve ever read.
I happened upon this book on Scribd, and it sounded like a great premise and I was in the mood for a fantasy read, so I dived in. It started off strong enough – the prologue is about King’s father, and how he is betrayed. There’s some intriguing drug gang rivalry, and some guys that seem to have some dark powers that aren’t exactly evident yet. Cool. The prose was almost perfect – atmospheric and able to evoke strong images of the setting.
Then, with chapter one, we jump ahead to present day when King is a young adult. As the main character, King really had very little page time. As King is the most distinctive, mostly likable character, that was a bit of a disappointment. There are many, many secondary characters and they were introduced so quickly that I had trouble remembering who worked for who and how everyone tied together. Eventually I came to recognize some of them more easily, but it took over half of the book. And when I was about 60% through the book, I made a note that I still wasn’t really sure what kind of fantasy elements were in play and when it was going to play more of a role in the story. A short time after I made that note, the fantasy bits started to become more obvious, but they were confusing as all hell.
I don’t want it to sound like this book was bad – it wasn’t. I think that the language and style of the writing was good, but the events and characters could have used a bit of editing. And I enjoyed the social commentary – the author makes sure that despite whatever fantastical monsters may be lurking, the real horror is life in these poverty-stricken streets. I’m still considering reading the second book (The Knights of Breton Court is a trilogy), because events might seem more concise and linear in the second book and I am curious about King. I’ve added it to my “library” on Scribd, so we’ll see.
Everyone seemed infected with the same sickness, on edge. King saw the fear, the frustration, the cauldron of terror and rage with life reduced to desperation and survival. So many stood by and did nothing; sick of gangs and violence, yet suffering in silence.
Sarah Says: 3 stars