Let me get two things out of the way before I start this book review. First, I was given my copy of King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology for free in exchange for an honest review. Second, I should have had this review up yesterday. A preschooler with serious hay fever issues and a water leak that turned out to be the condensation hose on my air conditioner leaking all down the front of my furnace.
Now down to business. King of Ages started as an open call anthology connected to the King Arthur legends, particularly the idea of Arthur being the Once and Future King. The first story starts out with that time’s version of Arthur trying to avert the ending of the known universe. Each of the following stories tell a tale of Arthur working backwards through time into the more traditional King Arthur story settings, and even a little before then. Each of the stories has at least some of version of the traditional people, places, and things associated with King Arthur, but with their own unique flair.
So, here’s my absolute favorite part about this book, and why I am giving it a fifth star. Even though this was an open call anthology and there are a number of authors involved in the collaboration, this did not have the feel of an anthology to me. Each of the stories, even the non-traditional stories, wove into the next one with a seamlessness that impressed me. I really felt like I was reading chapters in a long novel rather than a collection of stories. To that end, I think the timeline concept that drove the anthology was well executed.
Other things I loved included the significant variety in King Arthur character concepts – even making King Arthur a woman in several stories, how the various versions of Merlin worked well enough together to make it believable that he/she was the same Merlin throughout all of the stories guiding Arthur along. Each of the stories did well with preserving versions of Excalibur, Camelot, Guinevere, Lancelot, and the Round Table concept and yet making them into a fun twist of what is traditional Arthurian legend.
As for things I disliked about the book, I do not have much of anything. The best I could come up with after reflecting on this review for several days is that it took me a bit to associate King Arthur with futuristic space stories. This has nothing to do with the stories, just my own brain being stubborn. As I continued to read, and the stories were all compelling enough to make continuing easy, I wrapped my head around the idea. So, this is not really much of anything negative about the novel itself.
I highly recommend checking out this book. It is a pleasure to read and does some cool things with Arthurian Legend. Here is the link to King of Ages: A King Arthur Anthology.