(Cover picture courtesy of Momentum Books.)
You know my name, but you don’t know my story …
After being schooled in magic by Merlin and promised a kingdom, Morgana is robbed of her birthright and betrayed by everyone she has ever trusted. Risking everything for revenge, Morgana uses her magical arts to trap Merlin, threaten her half-brother King Arthur, and turn away the only man she will ever love. In destroying King Arthur and Camelot, Morgana sets into motion a catastrophe that can only be reversed if she can learn from the past in time to protect our future … and so fulfill an ancient prophecy.
In the tradition of The Mists of Avalon comes a new story of Morgan le Fay, one of the most enigmatic and reviled characters in Arthurian legend.
[Full disclosure: I requested and received a free ebook copy through NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.]
I requested I, Morgana on a whim one day while browsing through NetGalley. The blurb sounded interesting enough but when I began the novel I was under the impression it would be all about Morgana railing against her wrongfully deserved evil reputation. Fortunately, it was nothing like that.
Morgana is an interesting narrator because she’s not very self-pitying. She accepts that she really did deserve a lot of her reputation and you can really feel her deep regret at all that she did in the name of trying to seize her kingdom back. Maybe her reputation as evil incarnate is not deserved but she was far from a good person in her younger years. Still, even though I didn’t like her as a person her introspective voice as she writes looking back on the events is enough to make me keep reading. Morgana is a complex person whose ultimate downfall was her pride so you really can’t help but empathize with her.
I liked how Felicity Pulman stuck to the traditional Arthurian legends most of us are familiar with but also put her own flair on them. Morgana can travel into the Otherworlds, which was never really mentioned in the traditional legends. She was also taught by Merlin himself and that makes for some very interesting confrontations later in the novel as both of them regret their shared past. Felicity Pulman decided to set her novel much, much later than most authors choose to set King Arthur’s time (she set it around the 1100s) but it works pretty well.
The only thing that disappointed me was that Felicity Pulman’s writing lacks description. Morgana is always telling us what is going on rather than describing the scene as she saw it at the time. It makes her a more sympathetic character in general but I would have loved a little more description of the various scenes throughout the novel. Telling is okay for some purposes but reading a whole novel of it isn’t necessarily the most exciting.
Still, I really did enjoy I, Morgana. It’s a very interesting take on a complicated woman who has become one of the great villains of legend.
I give this book 4/5 stars.
*Not available yet but will be published on June 26.