I would have to say that I wished I never read Lawhead's series. It has been disappointing from beginning to end. Main characters in the beginning books (like Charis and Merlin) have become paper cutouts by the end of this series, to the point where I do not understand why Lawhead has them in his book anymore. He also makes plenty of errors in his books, and this is no exception. Another thing I find incredibly tedious about this whole series is the fact that there are endless wars through all of the books. There is at least a battle in every book--and in some, like "Pendragon", are a tale of battles from beginning to end. You would wonder if the whole world was coming to attack Britain, the way Lawhead writes it.
For this particular book, the main mistake Lawhead makes is not reading his other books in this series, or at least not remembering what he said in them. At the end of "Arthur", it is noted that "the Grail was never found". Um...but in this book, it was found, and lost, and recovered, and at the end of the book a shrine to it is made in the Northern end of Britain. Since there is no indication anywhere else that the Grail disappeared from Northern Britain, one would have to assume it's still there. This makes me realize how inconsistent of a writer Lawhead is. This guy could be a great writer, but it's mistakes like these that keep him from becoming such. Lawhead is definitely no Tolkien.
Another major mess-up is in his inability to keep Loth and Lot straight. Loth is Lot's father in "Arthur", and by the time the book starts introducing Lot it is clear that Loth is already long dead. By the end of "Arthur" it is clear that Morgian seduced Lot to produce the twins Gwalchavad and Gwalcmai, and in this book Morgaws. Yet in this book Lawhead keeps calling Lot "Loth", although it is pretty clear that it is Lot that is being referred to and not Loth. It also is not clear to me why Morgian's relationship with Lot is considered incestuous, since Lot is the son of his father Loth and his first wife, and Morgian was Loth's second wife. Lot is not her flesh and blood; she's his stepmother. Although it's weird to be sleeping with your stepmother, it's definitely not incestuous is she's no blood relation.
It was very pointless to make Gwalcmai and Gwalchavad twins. This did not serve any literary purpose. The fact that Gwalcmai gets sent off and doesn't return until the end of "Arthur" is testament to his uselessness. I honestly thought that "Grail" would be about Gwalcmai, but was sorely disappointed. We are never given the story of his wanderings, although according to "Arthur" he's been gone for 17 years. The other thing is that it is not revealed until the last book of "Arthur" (the chapter that Aneirin narrates) that it is revealed that Gwalchmai and Gwalchavad are the result of a union between Morgian and Lot. So how is it that Gwalchavad already knows this by "Grail"? According to Lawhead, "Grail" comes before the last book of "Arthur". Gwalchavad can't know it. It hasn't been revealed yet. Gwalchavad states Merlin told him--how did Merlin find out? I would think that in "Arthur" Gwalcmai and Gwalchavad wouldn't be surprised by Morgian revelation if they already heard it from Merlin, yet they are shocked to hear it when she says they are her sons in "Arthur". And why is it Merlin can't figure Morgaws out at all, if he knows about Gwalcmai and Gwalchavad? I couldn't understand that at all.
I am still not convinced that Morgian was any great threat. She seems way too easily defeated. I don't think that Morgaws (who never existed in any Arthur tales and is a figment of Lawhead's imagination) is that threatening either. I'm still trying to figure out why Charis was so freaked out by her but refused to say anything.
I recall one of the opening statements Morgian makes in this book is "Not for nothing am I called the Queen of Air and Darkness". The first thing I thought was, "Oh, yes, you are". Lawhead has not really developed Morgian much, and even though he finally does so here, it's not enough. Fine, so we finally know why she's so pissed off. It doesn't strike me as any reason to get so vengeful towards someone she hardly knows--ie. Arthur. She also seems very ineffectual. She tries to kill Charis and fails, and never tries again. She tries to kill Merlin and fails, and never tries that again either. Every attempt she makes is doomed to failure. So it wasn't that surprising that she failed again here.
There is also a scene where some of the Cymbrogi are supposedly dead. If you're like me and read the last chapter of "Arthur" before reading "Grail", this scene is ruined for you. There's no surprise to it.
I read somewhere that Lawhead believed that the King Arthur tales needed to be brought back to "their Christian roots". Um..guess what. The King Arthur tales started out as part of Celtic mythology, and authors such as Geoffrey of Monmouth and others are the ones responsible for inserting Christian lore into a tale that was never Christian to begin with. I have done some reading on what past editors of these tales have done, and most of them edited these stories with a particular goal in mind--ie. for Monmouth it was turning Arthur into a Norman hero, and emphasizing the fact that he fought battles against the Saxons, who were the Normans' enemies. These tales have been subject to so much manipulation over the years--isn't it time to say "enough's enough"? Apparently not, for Lawhead has decided that the legend needs even more manipulation. I can't say he's done a good job.
I suppose I only have myself to blame. I really should have done more research before buying these books. Now I can't even give them away--most people I know weren't that impressed with the series either.