Review: The Return of Sir Percival: Guinevere's Prayer

The Return of Sir Percival: Guinevere's Prayer The Return of Sir Percival: Guinevere's Prayer by S. Alexander O'Keefe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I was quite intrigued with Sir Percival. I can see a lot of merit in the story, and great attention to researching the times of medieval England.

There is a LOT of telling story instead of showing story, although I'm not a fan of flashbacks so I'm grateful there was a telling not a showing around the campfires with the back story--but, there is way too much back story that does NOT move the story along. The reader gets bogged down in back story. Maybe this story should have started in the back story since the author is so interested in it.

On the other hand, the author has done a really good job with creating the life and times of medieval England. There were tons of nuances throughout that paints almost photographically clear pictures of what it was like to live during that time (both those with money and those without), except the ability to read and write. There is a network of spies for the Queen that can read and write, and that just wasn't the case back then. Character development is subtle, and that is exactly how I like it. You get a feel for what each character cares about through their actions and their words. Great development, except there is too much back story.

The story, on the other hand, is full of rehashes as if the reader can't remember from one chapter to the next the character motivations. There are zero transitions when head jumping happens (that's jumping from one character's viewpoint in one part of the story to another character's viewpoint in a different part of the story). This results in jerky, stop/start story flow, which deflates story momentum and tension. Leaving a character in "dire straits" does not create story flow tension that would amplify white-water story flow; it dilutes it into confusion. If you are going to jump from one character to another (this story has basically three POVs), then you really need transitions from one section to another. Transitions are a primary tool in writing that are rarely used correctly. When used to best advantage, the reader never notices. The reader gets to that holding-breath, edge-of-seat reality, and he/she can't put the book down. That's the kind of writing that can pull off more than one point of view. Unfortunately, O'Keefe needs a lot more practice before she can pull off that kind of story.

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