My Review | Half Sick of Shadows

Photo shows the book cover of Half Sick of Shadows by Laura Sebastian - Photo by Peri McKinnis - Peri Reads -

Everyone knows the legend. Of Arthur, destined to be a king. Of the beautiful Guinevere, who will betray him with his most loyal knight, Lancelot. Of the bitter sorceress, Morgana, who will turn against them all. But Elaine alone carries the burden of knowing what is to come–for Elaine of Shalott is cursed to see the future.

On the mystical isle of Avalon, Elaine runs free and learns of the ancient prophecies surrounding her and her friends–countless possibilities, almost all of them tragic.

When their future comes to claim them, Elaine, Guinevere, Lancelot, and Morgana accompany Arthur to take his throne in stifling Camelot, where magic is outlawed, the rules of society chain them, and enemies are everywhere. Yet the most dangerous threats may come from within their own circle.

As visions are fulfilled and an inevitable fate closes in, Elaine must decide how far she will go to change fate–and what she is willing to sacrifice along the way.

This is the story of Arthur of Camelot but with a fun twist. Seen through the eyes of his seer, Elaine of Shalott, we are brought with a new perspective of how the old tale is told. I’m a big fan of classic tales with new twists and I never was one to read stories of Camelot but BOTM had this book available and I was hooked with just the little bio. Though there’s a lot of details spread throughout the book I enjoyed every last page. Getting to see characters that I’ve seen before with a fresh look and different attitudes, I just absolutely loved it. Laura Sebastian spins the tale away from just Arthur and giving us a glimpse of their lives and quests and even future prospects from a character that usually lingers in the shadows. 

“The wise ones know that there is much to fear in the world; it’s the foolish who claim that nothing frightens them because they don’t have the foresight to know what to be afraid of until it’s too late.”

We are introduced to Elaine’s life-story in a series of past, present, and future. Her past she was just a girl who lived in the castle of Camelot, mocked and ignored, due to her powers. It isn’t until she fully accepts her prospects and runs away to the isle of Avalon, where the fay and other mystical beings live out their days after the Fay War. Here we see our beloved characters Arthur, Morgana, Guinevere, and Lancelot. They live out their days playing, partying, and being kids until their time to help Arthur take back his throne has come. The quest is hard and every choice made Elaine is cursed to see how how their actions will effect them in the future. I was impressed with out effortlessly Sebastian was able to weave in the future with the present without it feeling too heavy. I wasn’t taken out at all, rather intrigued with how much weight Elaine’s presence has on her friends. There was a good balance of love, friendship, and melancholy strung throughout the book which I was relieved by because there were points where I was just felt bad for Elaine, being plagued with visions of questionable moments with her friends. 

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After reading this book I noticed there were some mixed reviews. Honestly I can see why. As much as I enjoyed the details that go back and forth it does get a bit repetitive at times. At first I thought it was fun as obviously you need to show Elaine’s oracle powers but there’s no real build up to her prophecies. They seem to just happen and sometimes they are a bit random. Of course they are necessary I just feel Saint could have embedded them in a more organic way. Also the story is a bit slow at times. Understandably the group have to go on these quests so Arthur can become the king of Camelot but the scenes are drawn out with nothing going on. I appreciate someone who pays attention to detail but I do like when action happens. I know it sounds confusing but I do enjoy the details at times and I like getting to see Elaine’s possible prophecies but I understand some people won’t. I like to give a little heads up when I can.

“I wanted it more than I could put into words: a place where I belonged.”

The book had moments of chaos, madness, and beauty scattered within the chapters. I loved the world building and overall descriptions of the settings from the magical safe haven of Avalon to the treacherous monsters of Lyoness and the tyranny of Camelot I was hooked with each word. I will say as much I liked everything about the book the ending felt a little flat compared to the intensity of everything else. It just sort of ended. It wasn’t like I was dissatisfied with how it ended rather the quest built up for a grand ending and then it wasn’t that grand. Rather a summary. I wish I was able to see more from the characters at that time but other than that I really liked this book. And now I’m curious about reading more retellings of Arthur and his pals. 

Honestly I think the most shocking part of this book was the mixed reviews that it brought. I genuinely enjoyed reading about Elaine and her visions but others had pretty strong opinions about it. Now do I think this is the best book ever written? Not really. But did I have fun? Yeah! I know I may be one of the few people who did but I’m no afraid to admit it. If you want to read more about Camelot and get to know some of the beloved side characters of Arthur’s life definitely check this one out!






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Hey! I’m Peri McKinnis

Peri McKinnis of Peri Reads

I’m a creative, I’m a dreamer, and I’m an Aries. I’ll read any book with enough convincing, I enjoy weird movies, and I’m a caffeine fiend. From the day that I brought my first book catalog home from school I knew that books were going to have a special place in my heart. Now I want to spread that love here, to talk about the books that made us cry, fall in love, and scorn because we couldn’t finish them.