Sunday, May 01, 2011

Review: Percival's Angel by Anne Eliot Crompton

Book Description via Goodreads:

Paperback, 224 pages
March 1, 2011, Sourcebooks Fire

Lili, an apprentice of the Lady of the Lake, is the childhood friend of Percy, the boy who will become one of Arthur's greatest knights. But as they grow older, Lili begins to see their differences. She has otherworldly magic while he has the magic that lives within the Human Heart. Lili dreams of knowing human love while Percy dreams of finding the Holy Grail. Neither can succeed without the other. Once again Crompton weaves together nature, feminist perspective, and Arthurian legend for a tale that is sure to appeal to readers of all ages.

Source: Sourcebooks Fire & Katie (Thank you!)

My Thoughts:

Once upon a time my mom went to Washington DC for business. She came back with a grand hardcover of The Once and Future King by T.H. White – a gift from an American co-worker. I didn’t even know that it was about the Arthurian Legend until I Started reading it! It was a thick book and I spent days – maybe a week reading it. To my surprise, I liked it! When I was contacted to review Percival’s Angel, I said yes right away because it was a retelling and because it was from the perspective of a female. So here’s my review:

Percival’s Angel had a rich history, a merging of the human world and the fey world that I enjoyed. Naturally, I was more drawn to the fey world. Lili’s forest – her home – was exquisitely marvelous. I found myself entranced with the ways of the Good Folk. One of the things that really struck me was the Night of the Flowering Moon during which the Fey danced and mated. I found this very inhuman, disturbing and intriguing. In the fey forest, Alanna, Ivie and Percy lived. They were the only humans there, hidden from Arthur’s Kingdom and his Knights, isolated because of the rule of the forest: once you enter, you may not leave.

Outside the forest, Lili discovered that the Kingdom was harsh and cruel and that the Human Heart was not easy to find. It came at a high price. Once she gets it, she would know pain and sadness like never before. She would sympathize and share others’ pain with her own heart. Percy found the Knight within himself but he was made of ice, basking and enjoying his victories throughout the novel. He was incompetent and unprepared but he managed to take on the challenges of the world, proving himself worthy of his title.

In the beginning I struggled but after the first 25 pages, it had my attention. The narrative was not something I was used to but after being able to read The Children of Hurin by Tolkien and several historical novels, I adjusted to it quite easily. The story came from the perspective of Lili and Percy, passed from one to the next so I suggest that readers pay attention to it otherwise it would be hard to keep track of what was happening. I did not have a hard time with it though.

At times, I was surprised and even shocked at the way things turned out. This was the advantage of the cut-off or breaks of the narrative. But on the other hand, I wished that I could have seen the entirety of the development of Lili and Percy’s relationship as it transitioned from friendship to something more. The unfolding of these feelings was usually only explored in Lili’s narration and only subtly in Percy’s.

Percival’s Angel was an enchanting story of strength and love in a world where death, danger and pain dwells. The feminist perspective was enough to satisfy me – especially from a female fey. The strong trio of the fey forest – Nimway, the Lady of the Lake, Alanna, Percy’s mother and Lili – had very strong emotions: of pain, of sadness, of love, of hope and of despair. Each of them had their own stories and I loved reading about them. I recommend this to readers who like retellings and the Arthurian legend, to patient readers and to those who like this kind of narrative.



  1. Yet another well written review, Precious! I haven't read any Athurian legend books, but this one does sound interesting. Although it's a shame there wasn't more development with their relationship. This usually isn't my normal read but I'm learning lately to branch out and try new things, so I'll definitely keep this on my radar!

  2. Thanks, Brodie! :) It does! Love the fey world! The human world? Not so much though. Women there were...close to useless. Tsk!

  3. Thank you guys! I really recommend this. It's unique. The writing is wonderful and the romance? Satisfying! :)
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