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Damosel: In Which the Lady of the Lake…

Damosel: In Which the Lady of the Lake Renders a Frank and Often Startling…

by Stephanie Spinner

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This ya fantasy re-interpretation of the Arthur story is an interesting take, though I didn't find it as engaging as others (say, Gerard Morris' Squire's Tales) but it sticks with the classical plot and introduces an intriguing non-human narrator, as well as a sympathetic human one. I'm not sure whether the non-humanness of the Damosel, the floating-in-water feeling of her narrative, is what made it feel so ... odd. Nevertheless, I am glad I read it. ( )
  bunnyjadwiga | May 5, 2010 |
Reviewed by Jennifer Rummel for TeensReadToo.com

Damosel plays by the rules.

The Lady of the Lake creates the sword Excalibur for Merlin's new champion. Damosel doesn't like crowds, so when she receives an invitation to Camelot, she sends her cousin, Nimue, instead.

Nimue craves power and she finds herself drawn to Merlin. When Merlin teaches her a powerful spell, she traps him in a cave with magic.

With Merlin out of the picture, Camelot could be in serious danger. Damosel finds Merlin and promises him to watch over Arthur and guide his decisions. Unfortunately, she finds Pelleas, a heartbroken knight. When she heals him, she falls in love with him. All other thoughts, including her promise to Merlin, fly out of her head. She doesn't realize that while they become content in their lives together, Camelot's falling.

Can she stop the fall of a kingdom?

With DAMOSEL, Stephanie Spinner pens a unique tale of the Arthurian Legend from the Lady of the Lake's point of view. ( )
  GeniusJen | Oct 10, 2009 |
Damosel is a retelling of the legends of King Arthur, from the perspectives of the Lady of the Lake, Damosel, and a dwarf named Twixt, who serves at Camelot as court jester. Damosel follows all the rules required of Ladies and lives a fairly quiet life in her Lake. When Merlin seeks her out to craft Exaclibur, it begins a series of events that will lead to Arthur's rule, Merlin's entrapment, and plots to overthrow the king.

I've never been all that into reading Arthurian legend. I just don't get the appeal. I do like retold fairy tales and myths, though, so this story intrigued me. Hearing Damosel's perspective on Arthur, Merlin, and Camelot is interesting and may appeal to others who have had trouble latching onto stories of King Arthur. That said, the book seems to assume you already have some familiarity with the stories, giving readers a very minimal explanation of characters and events.

I enjoyed the first half of the book, where Damosel is trading for materials and crafting Excalibur, or speaking with her cousin Nimue about Camelot and Merlin. Stephanie Spinner spends this time developing Damosel and presents us with that alternative point of view we expect in this premise. However, the moment that she meets and falls for the knight Pelleas, the plot becomes painfully slow. All of the action that's been built up, the promised conflicts, they either evaporate or take place off the page. The ending felt sudden - but I feel that way about all version of King Arthur's story... except perhaps the King Arthur and the Knights of Justice comics!

Twixt's parts are enjoyable and do indeed give you a unique perspective. Who doesn't love to hear from the court's fool? I was disappointed that in the summary of the many characters, we didn't hear anything about what happened to Sir Tor... did I just miss if he was killed? ( )
  tiamatq | Mar 1, 2009 |
So, this is hands down the most boring retelling of Arthurian legend I've ever read. It didn't even hit 200 pages, and it took me six weeks to read. I spent a lot of the book wondering why someone had even written it. It doesn't really bring anything new to the Arthurian legend except the first instance in which a court jester has played a part in the story (I think). Although the author's intent in writing this was to make sense of the Lady of the Lake's rather ambiguous role, it would have been more interesting to just read a summary of what she believed about the Lady of the Lake. The narrative lacks inspiration, tension, and beauty. The only parts I found really interesting was the fool-proof Lancelot-Arthur-Guenevere love triangle, and a depiction of Guenevere that probed the surface of making her three dimensional. ( )
  sedeara | Dec 13, 2008 |
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A Lady Always Keeps Her Promises

- from The Rules Governing the Ladies of the Lake
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I am so well versed in The Rules Governing the Ladies of the Lake that I could recite them backward on a dare, but the wisdom I treasure most was gleaned not from that vast, ancient compendium, but from my own earnest blundering.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0375836349, Hardcover)

WATER SPIRIT DAMOSEL, the Lady of the Lake, glides through Arthurian legend like a glamorous wraith, shimmering and shifting between the worlds of fairies and humans. Her knowledge is vast (magic, metal, men’s hearts) and leads to her greatest honor—and worst mistake. Damosel makes a promise to the wizard Merlin to protect young King Arthur, and then dares to break it—with devastating results. All the while, 17-year-old Twixt—a dwarf in a world where difference can be deadly—finds himself freed from his cruel masters and moving closer to the one place he never expected to see: King Arthur’s court at Camelot.

Stephanie Spinner intertwines the two narratives of Damosel and Twixt to draw us straight into the rich Arthurian land of enchantment.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:14:30 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Damosel, a rule-bound Lady of the Lake, and Twixt, a seventeen-year-old dwarf, relate their experiences as they strive to help King Arthur face Morgause, Morgan, and Mordred, one through her magic and the other through his humble loyalty.

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