Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Kingdom of Summer

by Gillian Bradshaw

Story summary: Sequel to Hawk of May. "Armed with his magical sword and otherwordly horse, Gwalchmai [Sir Gawain] proves himself the most feared and faithful warrior of Arthur's noble followers. But while defending the kingdom, he commits a grave offense against the woman he loves, leading her to disappear from his life and haunt his memories." (From the back cover.)

Why You Will Like This Book:
  • A tale of a quest for redemption and forgiveness
  • Deep character study
  • Historical accuracy
  • Inspiring Christianity (without being a "Christian book")

And Why You Might Not:
  • It was pretty sad. Well, more bittersweet than anything else, I suppose. I don't want to spoil too much, so I won't be specific.

Thoughts: I'm sort of doing this book challenge, PopSugar 2015 Ultimate Book Challenge. I tried last year as well, but couldn't complete it. Anyway, one of the challenges is "A book that made you cry". Last year, I had to count a book that almost made me cry, that put me in a crying sort of mood, because that was the best I could do! In other words, I don't cry too often. But this was actually the second book I cried at this year (the first being a brilliant manga called The Silent Voice which I'll review after the final volume comes out later this month).
Now, I don't want to make it seem like it's a really sad book. It isn't. In fact, there are a number of happy, funny things that happen. But there's a particular sort of thing I tend to cry at, and this one has lots of it. Unfortunately, I'm not able to explain it very well. Analyzing and verbalizing my emotions isn't always my forte. I think it has something to do with loss of potential in people: someone who is brought down by insecurity and pride into a state so much lesser than they could be. But I know there's more to it than that, I just can't grasp it at this time.

So basically, anything that manages to move me that much becomes a favourite. I don't need to say much more. I think in terms of inspiring Christianity, I found it less so than the first, but it also had quite a different focus. It would have seemed strange to concentrate on "following the Light" in the same way when it was more about the brokenness of humanity.

Grade: 4 1/2 stars

If You Like This, You Might Also Like:
  • As with Hawk of May, I'm just going to send you over to my list of Arthurian recs (with an emphasis on Sir Gawain) for most of my recommendations.
  • But I'm going to give special emphasis to The Winter Prince by Elizabeth Wein: It has the same beautiful melancholy, the relationships almost going right. Really good book, though dark.
  • A Severe Mercy by Sheldon Vanauken: Because it also has a bittersweet love story (though in quite a different way), and because I want any excuse to recommend it.

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