This book came from the library, and I will never give you less than an honest review, no matter its source. I do provide informational and purchase links to make it more convenient for you to access the book. I also receive a percentage of the sale if you use one of my links to buy it. And that's not enough money to be less than truthful *grin*.
Series: Shadow Grail #4
Other books by this author that I've reviewed include Unnatural Issue, "The River's Gift", Finding the Way and Other Tales of Valdemar, Foundation, Intrigues, Gwenhwyfar: The White Spirit, Owlknight, Charmed Destinies, Changes, Beauty and the Werewolf, Invasion, Home From the Sea, Dead Reckoning, Conspiracies, Bedlam's Edge, Crown of Vengeance, Redoubt, Harvest Moon, World Divided, Elemental Magic: All New Tales of the Elemental Masters, Sacrifices, Steadfast, Bastion, Blood Red, The House of the Four Winds, Games Creatures Play, Closer to Home, Born to Run, Wheels of Fire, When the Bough Breaks, Chrome Circle, Changing the World: All-New Tales of Valdemar, Under the Vale and Other Tales of Valdemar, Arcanum 101, A Tangled Web, Winter Moon, Moving Targets and Other Tales of Valdemar, Elementary: All-New Tales of the Elemental Masters, No True Way: All-New Tales of Valdemar, From a High Tower, Hunter, Closer to the Heart, Silence, A Study in Sable, Elite, Closer to the Chest.
Genres: Urban Fantasy
Fourth and last in the Shadow Grail urban fantasy series for YA and revolving around Spirit, Burke, Loch, and Addie.
I think Lackey/Edghill were impatient to get this series over with and crammed everything into this one. Not to its enhancement. For all the build-up the Shadow Grail series receives, Victories is a major disappointment. After everything everyone has gone through, the complicated twists, and then Lackey/Edghill suddenly drop the ball. I had thought finding the Hallows, that oh-so-critical quest, would take up the whole story. After all, the Hallows are an essential. But no. One quick shopping trip and, voila, they’re all found.
The pluses were the brief confusions the kids had as they tried to assimilate their centuries of knowledge with their current-day personas. The leadership worries were good as well. The twist on the story of King Arthur and Queen Guinevere with Mordred in the hot seat was fascinating, and I enjoyed this, ahem, rearrangement. It’s another sort of twist to see what Mordred believes is the ideal world. I do not see how Mordred can be that lame in his outlook. If Ambrosius is Mordred, he must have had some exposure to the world as it is now. How can he possibly think serfs and primitive living is a plus?
QUERCUS is a disappointment. The backup the four are expecting? Oh, well. Then there’s Spirit’s unwillingness to allow any Reincarnates to remember. What’s with that? I suspect most of the irritating questions Spirit got so frustrated with would have gone away if the Reincarnates had gotten their memories back.
There’s a bit of background on Spirit’s family life with all the major low points.
And there ya go, it’s Vivian’s statement about how useful looking at the past can be. A very good reason for not re-writing history to suit today’s desire to whitewash the past.
The negatives were the rush to end this, the lack of strategic planning on the foursome’s part; the numerous occasions when Lackey/Edghill ignored great opportunities to develop tension and drama — why not go somewhere with Allan Tate’s mental chat and what’s with Mark’s so very convenient stance?; and, then one computer gets bombed and it affects the whole Internet?
Then there’s the ending…oh, brother.
The Roundtable was bound to be reborn lifetime after lifetime as Reincarnates until Mordred could be defeated. Only able to remember who they were if Merlin or Mordred caused them to remember.
Now Spirit, Burke, Loch, and Addie are on the run, relying on obscure instructions from QUERCUS.
The Grail Knights
Spirit White wields Spirit, a gift of which no one knew. She and Burke Hallows, a Combat mage, are together. Spirit is also Guinevere, the White Mare’s Daughter, while Burke is Arthur, the brother of Morgause and uncle of Mordred. Fee was Spirit’s sister. Lachlan “Loch” Spears‘ gifts are Shadewalking with a secondary gift of Pathfinding; he’s also Lancelot of the Lake. Addie Lake is a Water Witch and Vivianne, the Lady of the Lake and Lady of Avalon.
Vivian is their contact, a Water Witch, and an escapee from Oakhurst years ago. She was also Nimue. Elizabeth Walker reappears; she’s Iseult. Seems Burke’s parents also escaped. Until they died.
QUERCUS is the mysterious computer contact; he’s also Merlin.
The Shadow Knights work at Breakthrough Adventure Systems
Breakthrough is headquartered in the Fortress near Oakhurst. Anastus Ovcharenko, a.k.a., Prince Agravaine, is Mordred’s pet assassin. Madison Lane-Rider and Muirin Shae were sisters: Queen Morgause, a.k.a., the Black Hound, and Queen Morgaine. Only Muirin died in Sacrifices, 3. Mark Rider is also Mark of Cornwall who betrayed Arthur. He’s married to Madison. Teddy Rider is Tristan. The Gallows Oak is where Mordred was imprisoned. Clark Howell is a regular human and a brilliant computer nerd.
The students who joined the Shadow Knights included Joe Rogers.
…is a boarding school for orphans who wield magic. And if you’re not an orphan when the headmaster learns of your magic, you will be. Dr. Vortigern Ambrosius is the headmaster, a.k.a., Mordred. Dylan Williams had helped them in earlier stories; he’s also Gareth Beaumains. Other students who were in lockdown include Emily Davis; Vanessa Cartwright; ; Angelina Swanson; Troy Lang; Maddie Harris is Brangane; Kylee Williamson is Bertilak; Russell Frazier; Renee Trueblood; Allan Tate is Dagonet, Arthur’s Court Fool and the Illusion Mage, Arthur’s spymaster; Mike Sherwood; Blake Watson is Peredur; Noah Turner is Cei; Andrew Hayes is Bedivere; and, Chris Terry is Gaheris of Orkney are the current-day students.
The Grail Knights whose current-day names we don’t know include Morholt, Olwen, Laudine, and Loholt.
Passelande is the White Horse of Britain; Hengroen is the horse Arthur rides into battle. Cafall is Arthur’s Hound.
The town of Radial
Brenda Copeland is the first of the townies they encounter. Veronica Davenport has been playing along. Brett and Juliette Weber are weak idiots. Macalister High School is their school. Adam and Tom Phillips and Kennedy Lewis also join them. The Basses lost their daughter Erika to a Shadow Knight attack, but they still have Damien.
There are four Schools of Magic, well, actually five, now that they know about Spirit’s gift: Spirit, Water, Air, Earth, and Fire. There are four Hallows of Britain: the Sword, the Shield, the Cauldron (or Cup), and the Lance (or Spear).
The Cover and Title
The cover is snowy, all white and silver with a white horse rearing up in the swirling misty background as the blonde Spirit in her snazzy white ski jacket and jeans wields a beautiful sword.
The title is how it ends, in Victories.