The Dragon Queen Mass Market Paperback – Jun 3 2003
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From Publishers Weekly
Magic rules in this first volume of a trilogy that focuses on the fabled Guinevere's adventures before and after she comes to Camelot. Borchardt (Night of the Wolf) paints a vivid portrait of the future queen, who is no pale Pre-Raphaelite princess. Suckled by a she-wolf, this child of power is protected by a Druid, Dugald, and the Gray Watcher, Maeniel, not to mention a shape-changing wolfman. Daughter of a pagan queen, this warrior beauty takes control of her own destiny. Bold, courageous, prophetic and possessed of powers that enable her to communicate with dragons and wolves, as well as with a shrunken head, this Guinevere enchants and engages the reader immediately, even as a spindly toddler thrown into a wolves' den. A fine, lyrical storyteller, Borchardt reinvents familiar characters, including a young Arthur and an evil Merlin, who seeks to control the once and future king of Camelot. This dark sorcerer may dismay some Merlin lovers, as he would rather see Guinevere dead than as Arthur's queen. It's an interesting concept in a long line of derivative explorations of a mysterious character who has long enchanted Arthurian fantasy devotees. In the prologue, Guinevere writes: "I am myself a creature of the dance, the imitation of the movements embraced by the dialogue between earth and sky," and readers will be eager for the dance to be continued in the next installment. Borchardt further stakes her claim as a writer of breathtaking eloquence, reminding all, once again, that she is more than just Anne Rice's sister. (Oct. 2)Forecast: The popularity of Arthurian romance and the author's high name recognition would alone ensure strong sales, but good word of mouth should give this a long shelf life.
Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.
From School Library Journal
Adult/High School-Set in a Britain freshly rid of Roman rule, this tale is loosely based on Arthurian legend. Readers meet a noble Arthur, a wise Morgana, a mesmerizing yet nasty Merlin, and a very different sort of Guinevere. Raised by wolves and endowed with ivylike skin armor reminiscent of Celtic tattoos, this young woman is no frail maiden in need of a Lancelot. Young Guinevere blossoms into womanhood while finding herself at the center of a struggle for the soul of her country. On one side is the powerful archdruid Merlin, who has sold out to Romano-British slaveholders. On the other side are matriarchs, sorcerers, and sorceresses, all of whom honor the old ways. With a sense of destiny and the fire of youth, Arthur and Guinevere navigate worlds mundane and surreal. Magical encounters border on the whimsical while retaining an often-frightening edge. During these encounters, Guinevere discovers her affinity for dragons and chooses her destiny with Arthur. The author has created a world that is civilized yet wild, brutal yet beautiful-a world in which readers can easily become immersed. Teens who enjoyed Marion Zimmer Bradley's The Mists of Avalon (Del Rey, 1987) are sure to appreciate The Dragon Queen. It's a fresh and scintillating take on a well-loved theme.
Sheila Shoup, Fairfax County Public Library, VA
Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information, Inc.--This text refers to the Hardcover edition. See all Product Description
Top Customer Reviews
Having said that, I gave it three stars because Guinevere was a strong and likeable female character. The addition of the wolf family was a fresh twist. I wish more had been written about them, especially the Gray Watcher. Overall, an average book with some very poetic language at times, albeit somewhat confusing. For a really well written story about Guinevere, try Nancy McKenzie's Queen of Camelot.
Borchardt paints a vivid picutre of Britian in the Dark Ages. She has no trouble setting up scenes of legendary castles and fantastic worlds populated with dragons and goddesses. However, the plot often bounces around abruptly, which may leave you confused about which characters you are following. I found myself having to go back and re-read paragraphs and pages until I figured out what was really happening. The dialogue is uneven and several of the characters can't seem to find a consistent voice or personality. The main characters are either near-perfect (Guinevere, Arthur, Maeniel the werewolf) or consummately evil (Merlin, Igraine) with little room in-between. While that isn't a showstopper in a good vs. evil tale, it would be nice to have a character the reader could relate to.
Guinevere's many adventures seem to have only one point: to give her more magical victories and allies. Arthur enters the tale about halfway through the book, and he is also launched into several trials. Arthur's courage and nobility are showcased during his struggles, but they don't seem to advance the plot. His adventures might acquire more relevance in the sequels. The concepts and twists added to the Arthur legend are fascinating, but because of the inconsistent dialogue and the abrupt transitions I was not able to settle in and enjoy the storyline.
I think Borchardt's ideas are wonderful. It is refreshing to see such a positive and strong female lead character. Not to mention, I love the spin she puts on the legends by making Merlin and Igrane evil characters.
However, my first problem, which is rather small, regards Guinevere. I like her character, but I just can not get passed one of her actions. When she meets Arthur, she is instantly in love with him although he does not exactly treat her with any kind of respect. Guinevere is such an intelligent and mature character (or at least that is how she is portrayed), and for her to swoon over Arthur seems unbelievable to me.
However, my second criticism of the novel concerns a far worse problem. At certain times, I felt incredibly confused and disoriented while reading Borchardt's novel. She has a tendency to change worlds and times so quickly that the reader will spend several pages of rereading and skimming to ascertain what has just occured. She does not transition well when an some important action occurs, leaving the reader to question whether or not he/she read thorougly.
Overall, it is not a bad book, and I recommend it if for no other reason because of the fresh stance she takes on Guinevere. However, be forewarned, the text gets very confusing and chances are you will miss or won't understand some of what takes place. I know I didn't.
Most recent customer reviews
Hundreds of writers have waded into the Arthurian waters and some have come away with great books. This isn't one of those times. Read morePublished on May 29 2004 by Amazon Customer
I love fantasy books and I liked Alice Borchardt's previous wolf books and the Devoted books. But this book jumps from character to character, from story to story, from one... Read morePublished on April 12 2004
For the unaware, "Mary Sue" is a term used in fanfiction for a character who is, essentially, perfect and has no useful character flaws. Read morePublished on Feb. 11 2004 by G. Manry
I got this book becuase I enjoy reading Arthurian legends, the last one being the "Mists of Avalon. Read morePublished on Oct. 25 2003
I totally agree with the reader from Long Island, and I wish I would have taken what she said to heart before I bought this book. Read morePublished on Oct. 22 2003 by Pumpkypie
From the beginning to the end, I was kept into another world.. we are used to the Greek and Egyptian myths but this one, from another culture, a mythical tale of the author, i was... Read morePublished on Oct. 7 2003 by Elif Ugur
I found this to be a refreshing and wonderful approach to the Arthurian legend. Guiniviere is not a simpering woman or a token player, she is the story. Read morePublished on Aug. 8 2003
I'm currently about halfway through this book and am finding the intense desire to skip pages to get to a decent plot. Read morePublished on June 28 2003