Second instalment in the fabulous Pendragon Legacy quartet of Arthurian adventures for a new generationWarning: this review could include spoilers for Sword of Light, book 1 in the series. If you haven't yet read Sword of Light, my review of it can be found here.
The quest is again central to the narrative and, although the story is clearly original (with the new invention of Rhianna in particular), there is plenty here that is familiar from Arthurian legend and the courtly tradition. I particularly enjoyed the verses at the start of each chapter, which form a ballad that gives an overview of the story when put together (yes, I did read them as such once I'd finished the novel!). The map and decorated headings also add to the feel of an older book, strengthening the presentation to make this a lovely package. These little hardbacks would make lovely gifts because they feel special and exciting as objects, thanks to these well-considered touches.
I love Rhianna as a character particularly and she is what makes this series special, amongst quests and fantasy adventures for the 9-12 age group. Her absolute refusal to comply with what a lady of Camelot 'ought' to be continues to delight and inspire, and the introduction of new characters enables Katherine Roberts to revisit and underline this point, just as some of the knights from book one are starting to see what Rhianna has to offer and treating her less as 'just' a damsel.
These are many-faceted books with a broad appeal, containing magic, mystery, adventure, danger, friendship, family and a richly-imagined medieval setting. I would definitely recommend the series to both boys and girls of 9+.
From the back cover:The quest for Camelot's survival continues - King Arthur's secret daughter, Rhianna Pendragon, has faced mortal danger, ice-breathing dragons and dark magic to win Excalibur, the Sword of Light. But the sword is just one of four magical Lights that she must find to restore Arthur's soul to his body and bring him back to life.
Now Rhianna must head into the wilds of the North, to find the second Light, the Lance of Truth, before her evil cousin Mordred claims it. But Mordred is holding her mother Guinevere captive - can Rhianna stay true to her quest for the Lights and save the mother she's never known, before Mordred wreaks his terrible revenge?