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    Review of THE DRAGON QUEEN by Alice Borchardt

    Del Rey, June 2003

    Review by Jennifer Vilches

    Alice Borchardt presents an interesting take on the Arthur/Guinevere story in The Dragon Queen. Guinevere is the daughter of a Celtic queen. She is hidden from the arch-druid Merlin at an early age and is raised by a druid and family of wolves and werewolves. During the story, she grows into powerful magic and fearlessly confronts every situation that she is thrown into. Merlin and Igraine are cast as evil sorcerers who torment the young Arthur and plot for power. Guinevere and Arthur must navigate the trials that they are thrown into by Merlin and Igraine if they are to win their thrones and be reunited.

    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.

    One Star

    Reviewed 3/12/04

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