Herself

by Fay Sampson

Reviewed by Coral


You know, it's kind of sad when the end of your series, the book that's supposed to be this big grand finale, makes the rest of your series pointless and unnecessary. This book is narrated by Morgan as she tells us the story of her life, basically re-telling everything from the first four books. Man, they weren't that good a read the first time round and we have to go through it all again?

In some ways, this should have been how the series was written all along, Morgan telling her own story, bypassing the superfluous and often annoying original characters that served as narrators. Bringing her voice into the series now just doesn't have the same effect because now the author's penned in. Everything's already happened, the story has already been told and all she's able to do is re-tread old ground.

What's worse, the way she retells the story makes Morgan the innocent bystander in all that's happened. No grand schemer, no malicious intent. Poor her, the innocent victim who just wanted to be loved by her brother. Man, Morgan is such a pathetic character by the end of this series.

Actually, I take it back, that wasn't the worst part of the whole book. The worst part of the whole book were the chapters Morgan spent reviewing the myths that have been told about her. She talks about authors and stories, like Geoffrey of Monmouth, and Le Morte d'Arthur. For me, it works to drag me out of the fictional world the author's created. I mean, Morgan talking about stories that were written hundreds of years later? The author uses Morgan to point out the contradictions in the myths, to talk about where her story differs from the myth as Morgan reviews the lies that have spread about her.

And the author doesn't stop there, moving on to more modern authors and more modern stories, like Mary Stewart's Merlin series, Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle, and Marion Zimmer Bradley's Mists of Avalon. I'm not exactly sure what the author intended by bringing all these books up, but it only drives home the comparisons between her work and these other books, reminding me where hers falls short. Plus, it felt like she was critiquing these books, putting them down (i.e. too Christian or too Pagan in their interpretation of Morgan's character). Come on, her books weren't good enough that she gets to climb on a high horse in regards to other people's hard work.

With a topic like this, where the myths and legends are so complicated, the author should have stuck to telling her own story and not worried about the stories that have already been told. Make your own story unique and powerful. And, don't have one of your characters say your name and talk about your works of fiction, it only comes off as conceited.

Grade: F