Saturday, June 14, 2014

Book Review: The Death of King Arthur

Last year in the fall I had purchased The Death of King Arthur: A Retelling by Peter Ackroyd. In the book, Ackroyd takes Sir Thomas Malory's Le Morte d'Arthur and turns the language into modern English. The book was on sale, so I snatched it up; I have a hard time understanding old King James language, so this sounded perfect to me. (Plus, after finishing the BBC series Merlin, I wanted to learn more about the real Arthurian legends.)

Unfortunately, I've been less than thrilled with this retelling.

First of all, I do want to say that the book has been a good, basic introduction to the Arthurian legends. I've learned some things that I'd never heard concerning the legends, and some of the ideas in the book have been quite thought-provoking.

However, the style in which this retelling is written, though meant to be understood in modern language, is extremely simple. As I was reading, I felt like I had picked up a middle school book. It just all seemed very odd to me for the reading to be so incredibly simple, but the subject matter not always for young children.

For my reading experience, it felt unnatural and plain. This book might be preferable to keep on the nightstand for late at night when you're too tired to do any serious reading; The Death of King Arthur is broken down into several books and sections for each little story, so it's easy to choose one or two 3-7 page stories to read and then set aside. This is what I'm going to do and move on to another book for the majority of my reading.

My rating: 3 out of 5 stars
Would I recommend this to a friend?: For a fairly light read or, as I mentioned, night time book, yes.

Have you ever read this book? What was your opinion?
Have you read the original Le Morte d'Arthur?
Let me know your thoughts in the comments!

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