The last few years I try to read at least one or two things that I would not normally read. I have done horror graphic novels, manga, and adult novels. I did not do great (but not horrible) this year (that horror manga comic alone would have been enough), but I figured Spear by Nicola Griffith might work. It was adult, and science-fiction/fantasy (heavier on the fantasy). And it was short. I find that if you are tackling a subject/genre you do not normally, short is good. Because even if you are having issues/trouble reading, you do not have several hundreds worth of pages to add to the daunting of it. I know don’t judge a book by its cover, but it was a dark cute (and frankly, sexy, which fits the story) and that drew me in.
However, what should have taken 2-3 days max to read, took me almost a week to read. Partly because it is not something you/me can rush through and partly because of those darn Welch names! (Don’t get me wrong, they were gorgeous, but I took to “reading” their Anglicized names instead, just for the sake of what is left of my sanity!) It did not help that there was some seriously flowery language to this mythical story. King Arthur takes a very modern turn with queer love, an open or polyamorous (or just par for the course) relationship, and the magical elements female driven.
The idea is Percival the knight is female. She was born and grew up nameless as to name is to own and able to use magically. Of course, her mother calls her all sorts of things to show what her path later in life could be (and what her mother feels about her), but this is not her name. When she finally leaves home, her mother finally names her, starting off a chain of events that will change the course of her life, the country and Caer Leon (Camelot) its very self. Per (the nickname she gives herself) must find her own literal and figurative path. She is armed only with the magic, knowledge of the forest and animals, a few weapons found or fought for along the way and her passion. Finally, after several death-defying events (and at least a romance or two) later, she finds herself in the court of the king. Here, she finds that things are not always what they seem, what you want is not always easily gotten, and she can be the instrument that saves or destroys everything she knows and loves.
There are secrets, madness (lots of wonderful madness), and magical elements. This concept was fantastic, but I just wish I could have gotten into it more, but there was just something missing. With that said, I recommend this book to adult fantasy readers and GLBTQ+ readers.