Sunday, May 6, 2018

Book Review: The Book Knights by J.G. McKenney

Media Type: Print Book
Title: The Book Knights
Author: J.G. McKenney
Publisher: J.G. McKenney
Pages: Paperback; 272
Release Date: July 5, 2017
Source: Author
Content Screening: Mild Violence

HDB Rating: 3 Keys to My Heart

Recommended to: Readers looking for a fast paced mix of fantasy and a dystopian future.

Add it on: Goodreads | Amazon
When her parents are condemned to death by Morgan Fay for the crime of reading, Arti Penderhagen becomes a fugitive. Hunted by Mordred, the sadistic police captain who recites poetry to enhance his physical strength, Arti escapes to the Isle of Avalon, a sanctuary for outlaws. There she meets an old librarian named Merl who tells her about the Grail Tome, an ancient book in Morgan Fay's possession that can alter the course of history. Can Arti steal the book in time to save her family? 

THE BOOK KNIGHTS is a fantasy adventure in which knights wield words as weapons, librarians are wizards, and books can change the future.

Where to begin with this review? I won't deny that I had high expectations for The Book Knights. The fact that this story promised to merge together a dystopian world where readers are banned, and Arthurian legend, had me really excited. Can I please profess that I secretly loved every second a new character was introduced in this story? Their names were perfection and, set against the backdrop that McKenney created for them, they had me in their thrall. I was ready for an adventure, and I definitely had one.

Let me go ahead and start with the characters, since I've already touched on that. As I mentioned, each character has a name that ties them into the Arthurian legend that this book lovingly pulls from. Arti Penderhagen, our protagonist, is a reader who is forced to flee her family home during a  book raid. She instantly peaked my interest. Here was a young girl, taught to read from childhood, out in the world on her own. I was fascinated as I watched her navigate this new world, where being a reader is a death sentence. I think Arti was the easiest to connect with, because we were kindred spirits. Readers forever. It helped that she got the most face time here, since I really got to know who she was. While I loved all the other characters as well, I never got to know them as well as Arti. There wasn't time.  I would have loved some background into their personalities, and gotten to know more about their views on the world they live in.

As it stands, this is a very quick moving book. Characters are introduced in a way that feels natural, which was nice, but the plot moves along so speedily that I never quite felt like I had my footing in Arti's world. I had so many questions about Morgan Fay's motives. I wanted to know more about the general public, and what their opinions were on the world at hand. I also desperately wanted to know more about the Book Knights as whole, since the book had to give a whirlwind explanation in order to move back into the action. While I enjoyed this whole plot, I just honestly wished that the story was longer so that there was more time to get into the the thick of things. I like closure, and I crave world building. The Book Knights was a little shaky on both counts.

I suppose it all comes down to the fact that I just wanted more from this book than I received. The writing was great, the characters were well rendered even if they didn't have as much depth as I wanted, but I missed out on the sturdy world building that I'm so used to in Fantasy books. Arti's world was one that fascinated me, mainly because of how close we might actually be to living in it. I would have loved to see more background established. I wanted more details to help me understand why Arti's destiny was so important, and really color in the full picture.

As it stands, I'm happy to give this book a solid three stars. I enjoyed my time reading it immensely. I accidentally left this book when I went home to visit, and was absolutely devastated until I got it back and was able to finish it. That, my friends, is the mark of a good story. I eagerly await more.

FTC Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in exchange for a fair and honest review. I was not monetarily compensated for my opinion.


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