Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian
Reviewed by Sam!
**We received an advanced copy of this book from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. We’d like to thank Laura and Ace for the opportunity. This book came out on July 6th and you can get it here or at your local independent bookstore**
What I drank prior: I went to hang out with a couple friends. It’s restaurant week, so we got cocktails with our meal, and then we finished two bottles of wine. So between three of us you can imagine where we are. It’s not the most drunk I’ve been but I’m still drunk
Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.
On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.
When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.
As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.
The Lady of Shalott reclaims her story in this bold feminist reimagining of the Arthurian myth from the New York Times bestselling author of Ash Princess.
Drunk Overview: So this is basically the story of Arthur but from the perspective of Elaine the Mad. In this version, Elaine, Lancelot, Gweneviere, Morgana, and Arthur all grew up together on Avalon with the fae. All of them have magic except for Arthur and they’re trying to make sure that Arthur maintains the throne after his dad passes. Why does he need this help you ask? Well Morgana’s twin Morguase and his brother Modred want the crown. So… that. OH and Elain and Lance love each other.
Spoiler-free Thoughts: Ok, so like…. I love Arthurian stories. Literally I will read any retelling you can throw at me (please rec me some in the comments). This one… i was super excited about because I loved Laura’s other series Ash Princess but I’m also an Arthurian snob and… you know what? Both things exist. Laura wrote an incredible story.
Characters: so what i loved most about this iteration of the story was her interpretation of Elaine. She was basically bullied and her label was unwarranted. What I didn’t like was the implication that Arthur wouldn’t be Arthur without Elaine. I believe that this could be the case. I believe that the myth could be a woman behind the man, but, I wish we could have seen more of Arthur’s independence. I will also say I love that we got both a Morgana and a Morgause character as well as got full back stories of Lance and Gwen. They’re not there as plot devices as the original story wants, but as their own independent characters with agency. UGH I loved it
Plot: OK. OKOKOK. So, I was visiting a friend while I was in the middle of this book (and I finished it while still on this vaca) and…. I had this fear that certain things were going to happen. The way the plot was developing, I was going to be annoyed if certain plot points from the OG myth happened. And… while a lot of the major beats happened, only a couple deviations happened that were annoying, whic was good. Wait… the grammar there doesn’t work. Ok how can I explain this better. The story stuck with the OG myth well, and the places where it didn’t were both annoying and not. But the ones I would have found most annoying didn’t happen…. Does that make literally any sense without spoiling? Probably not but booze got in the way.
Writing Style: I am a huge fan of her writing. I thought that the first series I read of hers was going to be cookie cutter but it wasn’t and this was also not a disappointment.
World Building: I LOVE THIS INTERPRETATION THANKS
What to pair it with: This is a comfort beverage… like a red blend. It’s soft and exactly what you want. I literally loved this.
Until next time, we remain forever drunkenly yours,