The Once and Future King

The Once and Future King -

This is really four books in one. I'm not sure why I love it this much. It got very frustrating at times.



My main pet peeve were the modern terms.

I'm not sure why the author used them. It feels like he was trying to make things sound more approachable to general audience, but it gets frustrating to people who know such terms did not exist then. (Which is nearly every reader, because this goes way beyond modern anachronisms. Or was he trying to make as many parralels as possible to more modern politics?


Another frustrating part was the love triangle. Yes, it is one of best-known parts of the legend. But the way it is portrayed here, it looks like it could have gone better if participants weren't so...stupid. And it's was very frustrating. White excuses this by explaining how values used to be different back then, but it's still not helping.


On the other hand, this complexity is one of better parts of this book. It won't let you get away with just placing the blame on one party. Everyone has their reasons.


Which brings me to the main strength of this book: philosophy. White does not preach about the ideal society. He does paint a picture of it, but he also explains why it cannot work as well as we want it to. This book contains some great musings on ruling and law.


I also liked the atmosphere. Here is the actual Medieval life: there is grandeur, but there is also mud. I'd recommend this book to anyone who feels like writing about Medieval times, whether historical fiction or medievalesque fantasy, original or fanfiction. Here, knights, maids and castles are stripped of their glamour. Maybe it's brutal, but it's way better than yet another story where female MC gets heaps of gowns, scented oils, jewelry and hot bath at their disposal without having to lift a finger. Or where male MC (or female, for that matter) is a natural prodigy at figting and wears that heavy armour like it was made of scraps of silk.


White loves to refer to Mallory a lot.


The end is unusual.

One could say the focus on this book is philosophy rather than romance. (In either sense of the word.)


Somewhere between four and five stars as far as quality goes, but I liked it despite its flaws and will definitely reread it too many times to count. So five stars, in my completely biased opinion.