Disclaimer (yes, I know you have read this multiple times already, but I still need to post it) I received After Avalon for free in exchange for an honest review.
There. Done with that. On to business.
After Avalon, edited by Nicole Petit, is an anthology organized around the idea of exploring what happened after King Arthur died and Camelot fell apart. The anthology comprises eleven different stories all playing with different aspects of Arthurian legend.
I loved the variety of ideas involved in the anthology. Treasure hunters, classic knights, World War II pilots, and the original players in Arthurian legend all helped to carry on the story of what happens after King Arthur dies. The characters were all well written and showed good depth. The plot ideas told interesting stories that wove together a variety of possible scenarios for what happened after Avalon.
I also loved that each of the stories were well told stories. I saw good development of plot, and a good balance of action and description. Most of all, I loved that the stories did not spend time setting the scene in context to the fall of Avalon. They dove right into the story and let the context develop along the way.
Finally, I also enjoyed that the authors stayed true to the tragedy underpinning much of Arthurian legend. Happy endings just do not fit into the overall story arc of the legends, even for many of Arthur’s knights. To have changed that would have felt forced and off. The final story in the anthology is a master stroke of placement. It tied everything together in an apropos way.
This part came a little harder because I struggled some to put my finger on what I did not like about it. It came down to two things. First, There were a couple of stories that, even though they were well written, their ties to Arthur and Camelot seemed tenuous. Not that they were poor stories or did not belong. I think it’s a personal preference thing for me. The second point relates to the first in that some of the characters were difficult to connect to the players in Arthurian legend. Again, the characters themselves were excellent, so I think this also comes down to a personal preference thing.
Overall, I give this book four stars for being a well written, creative, and fitting set of musings on what happened after King Arthur died and Camelot fell.