Wednesday, June 4, 2014

Surfing the Human Wave: Karen Myers' King of the May (Hounds of Annwn, Book 3)

My apologies for the extreme tardiness of this particular review, but as you'll see in the post I plan to publish tomorrow, my brain has been mulling over something else. 

Earlier this year, I had the opportunity to read and review the first and second books of Karen Myers' fantasy series, which is set in my home state and stars a modern-day American who's been thrust into the parallel universe of the fae to confront his own peculiar patrimony -- not to mention a cast of scheming nobles who seek to undermine the series' fae protagonists. Several months later, I've finally had the opportunity to read Myers' third installment - King of the May - and for the most part, it is a capable continuation.

Allow me to get my criticism out of the way first: While reading the first two books, I admittedly got hung up on some of the description; at times, Myers took too long to get to the next complication in her plot. In King of the May, on the other hand, I ran into the opposite problem: rushing! The final battle on Nos Galan Mai, for example, seemed awfully perfunctory. A few lightning bolts and Gwyn wins for all time, getting everything he wants? Absent a protracted battle in which Gwyn suffers at least one or two potentially crippling set-backs, I didn't get the feeling that he really earned such an overwhelming victory.

Despite the above complaint, however, there is still much to like about King of the May. The rock wights, for one, are still absolutely adorable -- though I do have one small worry that in resolving their communication difficulties and their vulnerability to exploitation, Myers may have removed some fertile grounds for conflict. This is also a good book to read if you're looking for strong female characters who are still recognizably female in the way they face adversity. Rhian has a tomboyish affection for breeches and knives, true, but what really gets her out of trouble is her cunning. Similarly, Angharad doesn't fight with her fists to put Lludd in his place; instead she uses her art.

I highly doubt that the antagonists will let the key political developments in this novel stand -- which means that the fourth book should be very interesting indeed. I look forward to picking it up in August when Myers hits my schedule again.

Final Verdict: Recommended  

No comments:

Post a Comment