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.
Along with the other fire, water, and wind users in Arthur’s Round, Morgan is rigorously trained and tested. The handsome Merlin, a brilliant water user, takes a particular interest in her. Is his friendship to be trusted, or is Merlin simply trying to win the position of Maven for himself? Among the many rivals Morgan faces is the current Maven, Mordred, who seems determined to see her fail.
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.
A free copy of this book was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.
Ever since I was a little girl, I’ve been drawn to stories of King Arthur and his court. The spark was ignited by the Disney movie The Sword and the Stone and was further fueled by Gerald Morris’ The Squire’s Tales series, T. A. Barron’s The Lost Years of Merlin series, and other great retellings. Ever since then, trigger words such as “Merlin,” “Camelot, “Excalibur,” and “Round Table” have been known to set my heart racing with excitement. It comes as no surprise, then, that I ended up loving Henge as much as I did.
Unlike many other stories of Camelot, Henge is set in the 21st century. A bustling modern-day city surrounds the castle, knights serve as gun-toting body guards to the royal family, and magic use is regarded as dangerous, something to be strictly regulated and monitored. Young men and women gifted with magical abilities are required to obtain a license, and the best and brightest are allowed to enroll in the Round, an elite boarding school for those interested in serving Prince Arthur when he comes of age and inherits the kingdom.
Morgan le Fay, the book’s protagonist, is one of the magic users accepted into the Round. While there, she and her peers will hone their skills in magic, history, etiquette, and more. At the end of their time in the Round, they will be evaluated and assigned roles in Arthur’s court. The top candidate will be given the position of Maven, the king’s principal advisor and protector.
Though all of the students aspire to be Maven, Morgan is especially motivated to win the role. The influence that comes with the job would give her the opportunity to counteract the strict and discriminatory laws imposed on the magical community, laws that were responsible for the death of Morgan’s mother. Someone, though, seems determined to keep Morgan from winning Maven. Mysterious attacks and sabotage attempts put Morgan’s Round standing – and her life – in jeopardy. This, combined with Morgan’s suspicion that her fellow students are keeping dangerous secrets, keeps Morgan on her toes and leads her to wonder who – if anyone – she can trust in Camelot.
As much as I liked the plot of Henge, including the mystery, I’m not sure I was sold on Lovejoy’s adaptation of a medieval world to the 21st century. The quintessential parts of Arthurian legend that I love – armor-clad knights, sword fights and jousts, chivalry and courtly romance – are abandoned, no more than relics of the past. It was hard for me to get used to the idea that my beloved knights were armed with guns, not swords, and that the Pendragons’ castle was equipped with a helipad – say what?
Still, the cast of characters more than made up for all of this. Every time a familiar character was introduced in the book, I felt a little thrill go through me. There was crafty, handsome Lancelot, now in the role of Camelot’s chief of security; beautiful, sweet Guinevere; polite, immensely powerful Merlin; and a host of other familiar faces, including Vivian, Gawain, Percival, Tristan, Isolde…the list goes on and on.
Because there’s a wealth of Arthurian literature out there, and no one standard version of the myth, there are a number of characters whose roles and relationships change drastically depending on what version of the story they’re in. That being said, I couldn’t wait to see which direction Lovejoy would take with Henge. Would Lancelot and Guinevere show any signs of developing a love affair passionate enough to destroy a kingdom? Would Vivian go on to become the Lady of the Lake? Would Morgan be destined to become a villainess, as some stories portray her?
Waiting for answers to these questions was half the fun of Henge. Morgan, in particular, fascinated me. Her intentions for wanting to be Maven are good – she wants to make a difference and change the laws to prevent injustices like the one perpetrated against her dead mother. As the book progresses, though, there are hints that Morgan has a fierce temper, and flashbacks to her painful, isolated childhood suggest that she could potentially go down a darker path than the one she’s currently on. I love that Lovejoy kept me guessing, and I can’t wait to see where the rest of this series takes Morgan and the other citizens of Camelot by the time this saga is over!
About Realm Lovejoy
Realm Lovejoy is an American writer and an artist. She grew up in both Washington State and the Japanese Alps of Nagano, Japan. Currently, she lives in Seattle and works as an artist in the video game industry. CLAN is her first book. You can find out more about her and her book at realmlovejoy.com.
- 1 signed copy of Henge + swag (US only)
- 1 Amazon Giftcard ($20) (INTL)
- 2 paperbacks of Henge (US only)
- 4 ebook copies of of Henge (INTL)