Friday, 6 July 2012

Hand Me A Longbow And Call Me A Wench - Review of Searching For Arthur, Plus Contest Update!

I know most of you are here for the contest update, so before I start I'll give you a minute to scroll down and see what it is. Be back here though, pronto.

*Taps foot and waits*

Back? Awesome. Because this week's review is not only all about a frankly fabulous book, but it's also a hint about a little incentive I'll be running next week. (UPDATE: The incentive, AKA a giveaway of Searching for Arthur, is live this week, along with an interview with Donna herself. So check out On Cover Design, DIY Marketing & the Personification of Butt Cheeks... and in the meantime, enjoy all this review-y goodness!)

Click the image to be transported to
the magical, far-away land of Amazon.
It is hard to make friends when you’re constantly on the move. Seventeen-year-old Natasha Roth’s father is a diplomat, and so her mother – who is paranoid about terrorists – has moved Natasha and her brother, Arthur, to their eighteenth house in seventeen years: Avalon Cottage, deep in the heart of a Welsh forest. 

Yet the terrorists are closer than they realize.

While out running, Natasha falls into a hidden tomb and awakens the legendary knights of Camelot: young warriors who have been in an enchanted sleep for a thousand years. All have been waiting patiently for the return of Arthur from the mysterious land of Avalon.

And now the knights are awake, they intend to reclaim their king.

When Natasha's brother goes missing, she joins forces with his girlfriend, “Slurpy” Samantha, in order to look for him. Natasha believes Samantha has fewer brain cells than an amoeba; Samantha believes Natasha is a freak. Together they bicker their way into a Welsh mountain and beyond, to the realm of Logres where the Knights of the Round Table are rallying once more.

Among the knights is Sir Bedivere, the most loyal of supporters to Arthur. He may be in dire need of a 21st Century razor, but he still possesses a set of lime-green eyes that can melt the soul. Yet just as Natasha starts to find confidence in this mystical land, Samantha deserts her. People who play by the rules are of no use to “Slurpy”. Samantha will take her own path to Arthur, aided and abetted by the dark arts which she willingly absorbs from a hot young stranger called Mordred.

A race across magical yet deadly lands is on. Natasha battles dwarf-riders, dragons, and eventually “Slurpy” to reach Camelot, where Arthur is held captive by the barbarian Saxon, Balvidore. 
Natasha’s woes become numerous. What will happen to her and Arthur when the knights realise the eighteen-year-old boy they thought was their king, is in fact a math student with appalling taste in girls? Can two people with a one thousand year age gap really have a relationship? And for the love of all things holy, how is a girl supposed to ride bareback in a pair of skinny jeans?


First of all, sounds great? You bet it is. And the reason I couldnt wait to review Donna Hosie's Searching for Arthur is because it changed me. Not in a ‘grab a sword, declare yourself a knight and run off to fight wolf-riding dwarves’ kind of way, (although if that meant hooking up with any of the lead characters then hand me a longbow and call me a wench). It changed me because for a while I forgot I was an aspiring author who beats myself up if I don’t achieve a certain amount of writing each day… For a while I found that every time I opened my laptop to get some work done I would simply stare at the screen, yearning for my kindle, until I gave up and permitted myself one more chapter. (Or two. Or ten).

It’s not my fault the characters are so well done. Sure I probably laughed out loud a little too much, and swooned far more than was healthy, but I can’t be held accountable. Nor can you blame me for adoring the vivid settings and the way they constantly changed to keep the action fast and entertaining. I admit that sometimes the descriptions were told where they could have been shown, but the end result was still a rich, textured, real world and I loved every minute I was there.

The plot sucked me in and kept me captive, with just the right amount of epic external conflict and deep, relatable internal conflict.  And with an immensely satisfying ending and a lovely hint of what’s to come, I’m absolutely gagging for the next installment. My only regret (and notice I say regret instead of complaint) is that I feel that with a bit more editing it could have been superb. The fact is, however, that it didn’t interrupt from my enjoyment of the story for one second. Passive voice may normally be my mortal enemy, and my head might normally explode at the use of two adjectives where one (or none) would do, but reading this I honestly didn’t care, I just thought it was a shame they hadn’t been picked up. Overall I commend Donna for creating something so downright entertaining and I cannot wait to see what's coming next.


P.S. Contest update: If you've read the tragic tale of the world's most incompetent blogger (aka... me), you'll know I spend more of my time feeling like a poor, lost little drug-dealer than having decent internet. Fortunately I can catch the odd few minutes at the in-law's or the library, but unfortunately it means I haven't had a chance to go through all my twitter interactions, blog comments and emails from Lisa to tally up the entries for the raffle. However since Australia is in the future and it's already the weekend, I should be able to spend some time tallying everything tomorrow and be ready for a draw the next day. Huzzah!

P.P. S. Since hearing huzzah at work today I have decided it is now the best word ever. Just saying it makes me feel like donning a mustache and fist-pumping with my tobacco pipe. :-{


  1. You are too funny. This review was very well done. I'll have to check this book out now.