Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding
|Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding|
|Category: Confident Readers|
|Reviewer: Linda Lawlor|
|Summary: When the Fey stole Rick, centuries before, they told him he had been abandoned by his parents. All his life he has been trained to believe that humans are the enemy. Now there's a rumour that the Knights of the Round Table are re-forming to defeat Avalon, and he is sent to stop them. Once there he faces two challenges: firstly he discovers that the Fey have been lying to him — and secondly, he has to cope with being a modern teenager.|
|Buy? Yes||Borrow? Yes|
|Pages: 368||Date: April 2013|
|External links: Author's website|
Rick is thirteen hundred years old — not bad going for a teenager. He has been living in Avalon, where time moves differently, and training (along with another two hundred human changelings) to get his revenge on the human family which abandoned him so long ago. And now he has his chance.
Certain places on Earth are 'hotspots', from which the Fey draw their energy. But everything must remain in balance, and so in return humans receive the gift of imagination. Without it there can be no progress, no exploration and no new thought. One of these spots is Oxford, and it is there that Rick is sent with Roxy and Tiago to stop whatever is draining power and destroying Avalon.
So far so good: three young people sent to defeat the bad guys and save their home. You've probably read a dozen books like that already. What is so original and so captivating about this book is that the legends of Arthur and Merlin and the Round Table are turned on their head: the Knights are the bad guys, and Oberon, Morgan La Faye and the Fey are the victims. Well, that's their story, anyway. The three changelings go through a terrible struggle to overcome the centuries of military-style training they have undergone when they begin to realise that they may not be in possession of all the facts, and that the Fey clearly do not have the best interests of their young charges at heart. In fact, the Fey are cold and heartless, prone to swift and violent punishments for failure.
All this might sound a bit heavy, but it's not: in fact, it's really very funny at times. Rick has not been as diligent as the others at studying their human enemies, and his attempts to settle in at school are at times bordering on hilarious. He bows to teachers, he treats girls with the formality and courtesy of another age, and his clothes . . . let's just say he does himself no favours by ironing nice straight creases down the front of his jeans! So, while he believes he is subtly infiltrating the enemy camp by making friends with a classmate, Linette, she is busy working out how to rescue him from himself by turning him into a normal guy. In one very funny scene, she even conspires with Roxy to buy him some new clothes.
At heart, though, this is a tale about knights, about valour and justice and defence of the weak. There will, therefore, be epic battles and casualties, dark magic and divided loyalties, villains and heroes. Linette's wheelchair does not prevent her being a true and valiant friend to the changelings, and Rick grows to understand much about himself and his place in the world. He may be a little foolish, but he is a likeable, brave and true-hearted young man, and readers will be delighted to know that his adventures continue for another two books. Award-winning author Julia Golding has clearly received an enormous dollop of the imagination Oxford provides, and we can be sure Rick's next adventures will be just as thrilling as this one. For all fans of Arthur and his Knights, this will prove to be essential reading – don't miss it.
If you fancy a more light-hearted approach to chivalry, you could try Measly Middle Ages (Horrible Histories) by Terry Deary, which practically guarantees that your sides will ache from laughing. Older and more serious fans of the Middle Ages may like Belle's Song by K M Grant, which introduces a chap called Chaucer. And in the modern day, Charlie Bone encounters a fair number of courtly warriors: Bookbag really enjoyed Charlie Bone and the Red Knight by Jenny Nimmo.
You can read more book reviews or buy Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding at Amazon.co.uk
You can read more book reviews or buy Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding at Amazon.com.
Young Knights of the Round Table by Julia Golding is in the Top Ten Books for Confident Readers 2013.
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