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.
Realm Lovejoy’s modern Arthurian series features one of literature’s most complicated and powerful female figures. Henge is the first book in the LE FAY series, and—like Morgan le Fay’s magic—it is sure to dazzle and amaze.
Henge is one of the most original YA novels I’ve read in a long time – an updated take on the Arthurian legend in a skewed modern setting. All the usual suspects are there: alongside the viewpoint character, Morgan Le Fay, we find Merlin, Guinevere, Lancelot, Mordred, Vivian, Uther, etc., etc. But in this reality, Knights carry guns, students have cars and mobile phones, Camelot rules the UK and magic is strictly licensed.
Morgan’s mother, Morgause, was executed for illegal use of magic, but before this happened, she took Morgan to the Henge where the child had a vision that confirmed she would be Arthur’s Maven. So, despite her father’s attempts to keep her away from Camelot, Morgan pursues her goal by joining Arthur’s Round, the elite set of student magic-users from whom Arthur’s closest advisor will be chosen.
Before I say more, I’m going to start at the end which, for me, prompted an explosion of annoyance.
Whilst the main story arc – that of Morgan striving to become Maven – was wrapped up, this book is in no way a stand alone, and for me, I consider cliff-hanger endings to be a total cheat. Having said that, this story is so original and compelling that I definitely want to find out what happens, so I am reluctantly forced to admit, job well done by the author.
My other bugbear – I really find the use of present tense a turn off, but this one was so well done I was willing to go a long with it.
The writing was really excellent: great dialogue, description, action, pacing, incredible twists and turns that keep you guessing and questioning right along with Morgan. The world building is unique and believable, and whilst most of the story takes place in a familiar school-like setting, this is in no way a Harry Potter rip off.
I do feel that the cover suggests this book is aimed at a younger audience than it is – I would say with the traumatic scenes, the politics and some rather more adult themes, this is definitely YA, not middle grade as the cover tends to imply.
Probably the strongest part of the novel, aside from the imaginative setting, is Morgan herself. She is a masterful creation, with intense drive, a fantastic depth of character, and filled with ultimately believable conflicting emotions resulting from her troubled history.
Four stars from me, and at the end, I’d highly recommend this book to anyone who doesn’t care that they will need to buy the next book to find out what happens.
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 http://www.realmlovejoy.com