I loved this simple tale of good versus evil. Varian de Luc knew who he was, accepted it, and his fate. The "Knight of Darkness" (aka Varian)was mistreated all of his life by those who were suppose to love him and those who should have respected him. Determined not become the one thing that everyone expected (evil), Varian set out to save his kingdom and everything that he believes in, Avalon and King Arthur. Born of deceit to Lancelot (thinking his wife was Guinevere) and his wife, Varian was always the one symbol of Lancelots weakness and his wife's betrayal. Never loved or respected by anyone, including his natural mother Narishka, or his fellow Knights, Varian worked tirelessly to fulfill his destiny. Although throughout the novel, we (the reader) know Varian's true heart but we see him struggle with the fact that he is unsure if he will become a Dark/Evil knight, or a good one. Sent to discover who has killed one of the Grail Knights, Varian returns to a time where his mother, Narishka, now rules Camelot with the evil Morgen, who has risen to power following the death of King Arthur. While hoping to attract her son to the dark side, Narishka uses Merewyn to tempt her son. Merewyn once made a pact with a Adoni in an attempt to circumvent her father's desire for her to marry someone she did not love, and who she feared only loved her for her beauty. As they grow to know each other, he vows that he will protect her, no matter what! He is trying hard to return Merewyn to Avalon to Merlin so that they can determine who the traitor is. Along their way, Merewyn and Varian meet a caste of characters (among them Blaise, a half blind/half dragon; triplets who use to be the lovers of Morgen; a loving rock/gargoyle named Beau) who all accompany them on their journey. While fighting those things that they can see and not see, the dynamic duo find love. Read this whimsical tale and I am sure it will leave you wanting more. Enjoy!
on November 3, 2006
Centuries ago, Merewyn made a bad bargain with Narishka, one of Morgen Le Fay's chief allies. To escape an unwanted marriage, she surrendered her beauty and gave herself into Narishka's service for one moon cycle, not realizing that in Camelot, the cursed land where Morgen rules, there is no moon cycle. For ages, she has suffered her deformity and the abuse heaped upon her by her mistress' minions. That all changes when Narishka and Morgen decide that it is time that Varian, Narishka's son by Lancelot, join their cause. Thus, Merewyn's beauty is restored and she will be allowed to keep it and be free if she can seduce Varian into their service. Since Varian is considered evil by those who are good, though it is not an opinion shared by those who are truly evil, Merewyn sees no harm in trying. Then, she truly gets to know him and can no longer betray him. Instead, she helps him escape. Together with Blaise, the mandrake, the trio takes flight to the Valley of Despair that lies between Avalon and Camelot. If they can get through it, they will reach this generation's merlin and safety. First, they must get past THE Merlin, Nimue, and all the dangers inherent in the valley, as well as avoid the revenge of two scorned witches.
***** The legends of Camelot have been done so often that even if you love the story, it almost gets old. Then, something like this comes along, and makes it all new and wonderful again. Ms. MacGregor has given the Grail quest new life. The story is fun and fresh, loaded with amusing moments, passion, and heart-rending choices. This series is even better than the Night Hunters, and that is saying a lot. *****
on June 7, 2007
I didn't realize until about halfway through that I was reading the second in a series. It didn't detract from the story, and I didn't feel like I'd missed anything.
Sherrilyn Kenyon (writing here as Kinley MacGregor) continues to surprise me with her depth of imagination and skill at taking well known stories and bending them just enough to be unique yet still familiar.
This series revolves around the knights of the round table and King Arthur's tale. It exists both in and out of time which threw me when the opening scene is a knight solving a Soduku puzzle. The anachronisms later cause some of the funniest scenes in the novel. Not only did I get used to the "timeless" idea of the setting, I appreciated it's novelty.
Both the hero and heroine are well developed characters with believable backstories, although the heroine does seem (at first) a bit vain even after having centuries to reflect on how that vice got her into trouble.
I found the hero amazingly sexy, attractive and just the sort of hero I like in my romance. Protective, but not overbearing. And very hot.
I mentioned the humor, but I prize an author's ability to make me smile and laugh as well as keep me on the edge of my seat with action and plot and this book delivers.
I can't wait to get my hands on a copy of Sword of Darkness, the first in this series.
on November 28, 2012
First off, I have not read the first book of this series nor anything else from this author. Let me say, this was not a good introduction to her. I remember I had gotten the second one for free a few years back and found it absolutely dreadful -- to the point where I couldn't even finish it. It seems everyone hates the main character, Varian, because he is the son of Morgana's right hand. What's more is he is the bestest fighter/assassin there ever was. Now, I hadn't finished the book, but I remember the characters being one dimensional and Morgan le Fey and her right hand were depicted as sexy because they had large breasts. Seriously, I believe it has been six years since I picked this up, and I am still remembering how awful this book was. I think one of the worst things was the dialogue however. It was so ... modern that it always threw me out of the book. Now, when I say modern, I mean modern. I had lost count of all the Monty Python and Spamalot references (and note, I am a HUGE Monty Python fan). I realised the author was trying to be funny, but it was an annoyance more than anything else.
on March 23, 2012
Where do I start? The Lords of Avalon series the only thing I can say is that this is the best spin on the Arthurian myth thus fair. This book brought so many emotions out me as I read it. I wanted to cry, I was laughing, and just gripping the book with anger. Varian DuFey son of Sir Lancelot and the Adoni Narishka right hand women to the Morgen Le Fey (all around evil bad ass). He has been through hell and back with his upbringing and being a Knight of Roundtable literally. He walks on the edge of the light and the darkness, the good and the bad. Then comes a women who will make him love, laugh, and feel balance for the first time in his hellish existence. Merewyn made a deal with Varian's mother and was punished taking her beauty and making her a hag/servant for the deal she strike with her. She gets a chance to reclaim her beauty, but didn't expect to fall for the one person she must betray. This story is amazing and I will probably read it again and again. Kinley Macgregor takes you to a whole other world and stories like this I truly enjoy. This book deserves nothing but five stars if not more. A must read.
on November 17, 2006
I loved all the characters and especially Varian and his mother Narushka. Kenyon never fails to deliver supreme evil and cruelty in her characters that in the end show their other side more clearly. Of course, this does NOT pertain to Narushka. At times I found it a little hard to follow between the nether Camelot and Avalon. The author brought in a plethora of odd characters besides the good guys and bad guys. I also found the continuing reference to Monty Python's movie distracting and over done and also the fact that everbody seemed to have a brash answer and quip over used. This is my only pet peeve in many of Kenyon's stories. Not everyone is a comedian! The ending was unpredictable. The author delivered the goods as usual and I look forward to the next book.
on December 5, 2006
This was without a doubt, a can't put it down read.....I absolutely loved it. I am an total DarkHunter junkie but agree with some of the other reviewers that recent DH stories have been lacking, but definately not this series. It is a great storyline with very well developed characters. Awesome book, I think it was better than the first book in the series.
on June 3, 2009
I have just finished reading Knight of Darkness for the third time. Once I put the book down, I felt compelled to write a review. You do not have to be a Kinley MacGregor/Sherrilyn Kenyon fan to enjoy the Lords of Avalon series. This book was by far MacGregor's best. I think it was more creative, original, and entertaining than half of her Dark-Hunter books combined. There were many times when I found myself laughing out loud, on the verge of tears, or happy beyond belief.
Varian duFey is the son of Narishka, evil Adoni as well as right hand to Morgen, and Lancelot deLuc, knight of the round table. Varian is enormously powerful, darkly dangerous, and unexpectedly vulnerable. He has suffered great misery over his mixed blood. When his mother decides she "needs" him, Varian is captured and his future tied to the beautiful Mereweyn.
Merewyn was once a princess from Mercia. "More beautiful than Helen of Troy". Human and foolish (although not vain), she made a pact with Varian's mother and has been her slave ever since. Now she must trust Varian with her life despite centuries suffering under Narishka. Will either be able to trust the other? Hero and heroine are a perfect match. They have so many things in common, such as a sarcastic wit and yearning to be loved.
I had only two real problems with this book. One was that my copy was slightly misprinted. About 20 pages in total, have extremely blurred lettering that gives me a headache while reading. My second problem was MacGregor's contradiction of something in the first Lords of Avalon book. In Sword of Darkness (Book 1), Varian's stepmother Elaine made an appearance. She was quite alive. Yet in this book, it is said Elaine has been dead for centuries, since Varian was twelve (he is immortal). How is that possible when there is only approximately one year between these two tales (as evident by Book 1's heroine's baby)?
It will be quite a while before I can reread Knight of Darkness. That is why I hope that others take the opportunity to read this amazing book in the mean time.
on December 13, 2006
I usually enjoy Kinley MacGregor books but after reading the second book in her Avalon Series, I have decided not to buy anymore Lords of Avalon. The first one was okay, but it did not inspire me to buy the second installment. However, after seeing the cover and reading the description of the second book I thought it might be better than the first book--it was worse. I agree with other reviewers about the Monty Python and Spamalot references, there were just too many. I have had limited exposure to Monty Python for a reason--I do not find it funny. Thus I found the book not funny.
Also, there were too many characters and alternate realms (it sometimes got confusing) introduced that the hero and heroine got lost and I had to force myself to finish the book. The storyline got repetitive about how unfairly and horrible everyone in the hero's life treated him--I kept thinking okay already, I get it, the hero's life sucked. Why is he even living in that realm and not living it up as a Hollywood hunk? Why is he even helping the "Good Guys" which I found hard to like and felt they were worst than the "Bad Guys" since the Bad Guys are supposed to be bad. Why not live in current earth time away from them and leave saving the world to the ungrateful jerks? I could have forgiven MacGregor if the book was more comedic than romantic. But the story was NOT romantic, NOT funny, NOT sexy and NOT interesting. Maybe if the setting took place in the present it might have been better since there were so many pop culture references.
I use to find MacGregor's books refreshing, but lately the heros of her stories are all beginning to seem the same--whether she's writing under MacGregor or Kenyon. The hero died a horrific death, the hero has a horrific life, the hero was treated horrifically......yada yada yada. I hope her Dream Hunter series proves to be better than the Lord of Ava-yarn I am almost reluctant to buy the book when it comes out in 2007.
This is the second in the series of Good, Merlin, Avalon - vs - Evil, Morgen, Camelot. The son of Lancelot and an evil fey, Narishka, is Varian duFey. He has been the assassin of Merlin for centuries. Because of his parentage he is outcasted with all the knights of Avalon. He has never betrayed the cause and his devotion to Arthur. Now there is a betrayer amongst them. Someone told Morgen of the knights of the grail, they murdered one all ready. Merlin asks Varian for his help to find the traitor. While investigating his mother tricks him and binds his power, she chains him up and tries to beat him into submission. Narishka and Morgen want Varian on their side - he will never do that. Narishka's slave, Merewyn helps him escape in exchange to take her with him. Together they have to travel through the valley of death to get to Avalon.
I liked this book. It is just as creative as the first. Merewyn is a little judgmental and shallow in the beginning, but that changed. Varian's story reminds me of Zarek's of the Dark-Hunter series. They both were despised simply for parentage, grew up being loved or touched by no one unless it was in anger. That makes me sad, no one should grow up like that. It makes for a good story tho, Varian's whole life changes by one person, Merewyn. Their relationship was very slow going, but by the end it was very believable. The pace is very fast and interesting enough to keep me interest. I really liked all the secondary characters as well, especially Blaise. He was in the first too, hope he gets his own book! A brand new Lords of Avalon book is about to come out! I will happily keep reading this series!