cover image Half Sick of Shadows

Half Sick of Shadows

Laura Sebastian. Ace, $27 (448p) ISBN 978-0-593-20051-3

Sebastian’s slow-burning adult debut (after the Ash Princess series) reimagines Arthurian legend from the perspective of the young Lady Elaine Astolat. Sebastian imbues this classic character with great agency and power, delving into Elaine’s growing talents as a seer and increasingly complicated relationships with her brother, Arthur, and friends, Morgana, Lancelot, and Guinevere. Together, this band of young adults leaves their home in Avalon to help Arthur take his throne in Camelot—but to become king, Arthur will first have to pass a series of challenges set by the wizard Merlin and refute another’s claim to the crown. Elaine, whose visions have foretold both her own death and Morgana’s betrayal of Arthur, guides the would-be king through these trials while her friendships with Morgana and Guinevere grow strained under the pressure of their quest. Sebastian’s banter-filled take on beloved characters offers plenty of enjoyment, but the plodding pacing and Elaine’s repetitive visions—the majority of which project too far into the future to affect the events of the novel itself—prevents this adventure from reaching its potential. This is best suited for die-hard devotees of Arthurian legend. [em]Agent: John Cusick, Folio Literary. (July) [/em]