Review: I, Morgana by Felicity Pulman

I MorganaYou know my name, but you don’t know my story …

After being schooled in magic by Merlin and promised a kingdom, Morgana is robbed of her birthright and betrayed by everyone she has ever trusted. Risking everything for revenge, Morgana uses her magical arts to trap Merlin, threaten her half-brother King Arthur, and turn away the only man she will ever love. In destroying King Arthur and Camelot, Morgana sets into motion a catastrophe that can only be reversed if she can learn from the past in time to protect our future … and so fulfill an ancient prophecy.

In the tradition of The Mists of Avalon comes a new story of Morgan La Fey, of one of the most enigmatic—and reviled—characters in Arthurian legend.

Review

I hate to say it, but I did not finish reading I, Morgana. I’m very stubborn and determined so I tried. Oh did I try! I tried my best to finish and made it halfway through, but I couldn’t go any further. Although I DNF’d it, I would like to share my thoughts and reasons as to why I could not finish I, Morgana.

There’s always going to be stories where a certain amount of telling works for it. They’re definitely not the more popular young adult novels out right now, they don’t do well by telling. In my experience it’s science fiction and fantasy that can survive a healthy balance of telling and showing. Telling doesn’t necessarily have to be an overwhelming dump of information, but it can be used to bridge the gap between smaller scenes.

I’m ok with some telling, but not ok with telling all the time. I could not tell you an instance of showing in I, Morgana if you requested it. It doesn’t matter when Morgana was engaged with other characters, it doesn’t matter when conflict arose, it doesn’t matter when she became introspective and noticed her faults. None of it matters. It was all told and not shown.

The reason I had to give up on it is, due to being told, I wasn’t able to really gauge what any of the characters were like. I couldn’t connect with characters, I couldn’t read their emotions, and all I got from Morgana was whinging. She whinged. She whinged so much that in the end I’d gone beyond pity to loathing. I can’t read a story if I loathe a character. I can read stories with detestable characters, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I loathe them.

It’s a shame I, Morgana didn’t work for me. I think the concept had potential and there’s always a story to be made of the legends of Morgana and King Arthur. I would have loved to have more scenes involving the otherworlds and how they could connect to Morgana’s world. I would have even enjoyed Morgana’s time at court and the priory if the story was given time spent in those areas via more robust descriptions and scenes.

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