Friday, 1 February 2013

Review: The Never King by George Tyson

Alright, let me start off by telling you that this is not a High Fantasy novel. Most of all it is a mythological urban fantasy with a strong political twist taking place in a foreseeable future. Then why did I take this book on? Honestly I have no good answer. It just intrigued me on some level. And I am glad that I did it even if the books was not quite perfect.

About the Author
George Tyson has been interested in the history of Western religions since 8th grade and has an extensive collection of books on the Celtic “Fairy Faith.” He has been a neurosurgeon and a hospital administrator and lives on Long Island with his wife and four black cats.

The Never King
by George Tyson
Published by The Bedwyr Press, 2013
319 pages
Buy on Amazon: US | UK

The Never King revolves around the legend of King Arthur, but handles it in a most unusual way. It is in fact a rather strange book. I am not quite sure how to properly explain what it is about whitout revealing too much. Therefore, I think I will start off by sharing the book's blurb with you:

"The once-great democracies of the West are slowly crumbling. In Britain, there is talk of revolution as anti-government demonstrations are met with lethal force. Then in an obscure English country carnival, a young man pulls a sword out of a boulder and is hailed as Britain’s mythic savior, its Once and Future King.

Enter Peter Quince, a professor of theology whose specialty is the old folk religions of the Celts – the so-called “Fairy Faith.” He’s recruited for a manhunt in which he quickly becomes the hunted. His flight to save his life takes him across a prehistoric landscape and climaxes in a shocking confrontation in the ruined castle in which King Arthur was allegedly born. Along the way, he must summon his old courage and confront his secret fear that he’s always been insane.

Quantum mechanics and a wizard’s prophesy, future weapons and ancient legends, mankind’s fate and an undying love for a crazy, beautiful woman – they’re all right here in The Never King."

Okay, that being over with; the best part of this book for me was actually the language. It is very seldom that I find myself saying this these days, but this book was written in such a light and quirky style that the pages just flew past my eyes. Up until I was about 70% through. From there things went a little downhill for me. Actually, to be perfectly honest the book could just have ended at that 70% mark.

I really like the idea of this book. I don't think the plot was as interesting as the things going on beside it, but I do think that they complimented each other nicely. 

Peter Quince is not quite like other modern people, odd things seem to keep happening to him and around him. All the way the author hinted at things I could not quite wrap my head around. I loved that part of it. I loved that I just felt the need to keep reading until I finally reached some sort of conclusion.

And a conclusion I got. One that disappointed my pretty badly in truth. The last 30% of the book is pretty much just explanations for everything that happened earlier. I have to admit that I grew well and properly bored when I reached that point. Even the language seemed to become a little less colourful. I just wanted the book to end already.

I do acknowledge that this is not a genre I am very familiar with and I have no idea if this is the way they are usually structured, but it simply did not work for me. I wanted all the explanations, true - but I wanted Peter to find out for himself instead of just being told everything.

These mixed feelings have of course made it extremely hard for me to settle on a rating for this book. And I have to say that I am not satisfied with the rating I finally decided upon. The first 70% should have had four stars, while the last 30% could have gotten one - perhaps two on a lucky day. 

Still, this was overall an ejoyable read. There were a lot of interesting characters in it that I really liked. I think that Peter perhaps was not the strongest main character I have seen, but that only added to the mystical elements, really. By the end when all the explanations were finally on the table, when he finally accepted himself for what he was, I also felt that he grew to be a stronger character in my eyes. In that regard I think George Tyson mananged the character development quite well; Peter never once got boring that is for sure.

This is also interesting in the light that there will be a second book featuring him. Peter has only just accepted the world he has long been repressing, so he will have far to go yet before he will be at his strongest I think. It should be interesting to see how he grows in the second book, which will be entitled The Gudeman's Croft.

In the the end I will say one final time that I have not regretted reading this book. My opinion is only slightly tinged by the deficiencies I found in it.

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