So. Recently, I’ve been rereading ‘The School For Good and Evil’ series, and I can finally say that I’m onto The Camelot Years (click here for the adult references I found whilst reading the first three). Now, whilst I was originally opposed to the idea of even more books, I can’t say that I hated them. It’s not love either, but whilst the first three are superior, sadly they lack the best thing about these latter three.
Quests For Glory
The Camelot Years: the Holy book Of randomly Capitalising things.
Now, whilst this might be fine when our beloved Margo Roth Spierman does it, but someone needs to tell this author that Capitalising the Word ‘pen’ doesn’t Make the idea of magical biros Running the world any Less weird (more on that later). The alternate POV were sort of interesting, but it became pointless to put a name at the start of the chapter because the style of the writing didn’t change that much.
But, despite my misgivings about the author, I have nothing against the illustrator. THAT COVER – by far the ultimate front of the series (although I don’t want to know where Tedros is looking?). It was honestly what made me buy it… and I can’t say the plot was worth it. Or maybe plot is a too strong word?
The blurb promised us the biggest, boldest adventures of their lives; I can’t agree. 200 pages in, the only adventure I can find is high action castle redecorating. I sort of liked this slow introduction to how Agatha and Tedros’ relationship had changed since book 3, but slow really is the operative clause here. There was some romance if you count disturbingly descriptive accounts of how great Tedros smells, and between the fights there was a thin backstory of some teenagers who didn’t want to get married but that was about it. Whilst I enjoyed the ending, I can’t say I was the biggest fan of this book. Plus, WE HAD TO WAIT A WHOLE YEAR TO REVEAL THE CLIFF HANGER. That was a long 12 months.
The pace did pick up eventually, but there was no real character development, with Tedros and Agatha and Sophie going round in endless circles: Why doesn’t she like me avoiding her? Am I too good for him? Will I ever get a real personality? I still think that Tedros has gone downhill since the first book; his only character trait in this book seemed to be either freaking out or being a control freak. But, I understand that he’s under a lot of pressure, so I’m sure he’ll be a lot nicer towards his fiancé in The Crystal Of Time.
A Crystal of Time
I have a question. How can you summon every leader in the Endless Woods? The entire plot of this book revolved around burning the Rings of All of the Leaders of the Endless woods (more excessive capitals) to keep the Storian alive… but I thought that if the Storian was having problems, the sun died? Book Three?
Again, a pretty cool cover – I love how Tedros’ entire face shape changes between each book (and how I kept picking this one up upside down!). One of my other favourite things about this book was how it really expanded the world past the School For Good and Evil – all of the Camelot Years books do. Agatha visits a Sherwood Forest that’s described as a humid jungle… which is hilarious because the author clearly hasn’t been to the real Nottingham! However, of course, we manage to end up back at the school before the end. Which brings me to my next problem.
‘You’ll love the new Everboys, charming little foxes. Especially the boys of Honour 52.’– Princess Anemone, page 123.
Ew ew ew. Teachers can’t hit on students, whatever age the book is aimed at. Sophie, the DEAN, literally describes some of her students in the last book as ‘scrummy’ – and she’s sort of the same age as them. Princess Anemone is an adult… and some of these kids could be 12. Hort and Nicola’s relationship honestly made me so uncomfortable, first of all because he’s literally her history teacher and also because Nicola could do so much better.
The One True King
From the cover to the story, ‘The One True King; was such a let down. First of all, I thought we were going places with these covers… but wHaT iS tHis?! Honestly.
I wish I’d had this series when I was younger because I feel like I’m missing some of the magic by hating on the abundance of illustrations, or by overanalysing Tedros. But seriously, that kid needs to stop. His weird possessive (I don’t even know what to call it) with Agatha really bugged me – I felt like he and Hort really didn’t treat the girls well and whenever Agatha tried to actually make a plan she was called a control freak. But then Sophie would make a joke about how Tedros smells and it’s all good? That’s not a good message.
We did see more of the Woods in this book, but I though some of the places were painfully stereotyped. Every adult had a life lesson that I’m pretty sure random bar maids wouldn’t express so eloquently to a bunch of teens at a pub. Tedros would perform lengthy (a bit too lengthy) monologues that spanned double pages: typical teen behaviour! I liked the new cast of characters from the first years at the school – including one spanish girl? – otherwise it literally isn’t about the school. Speaking of characters, I liked how Japeth’s character developed; whilst I might not like him, I understood where he was coming from. The author included an impressive amount of speculation about his parents without mentioning the ‘s’ word – although all of the parentage stuff was pretty confusing. I would have benefited from a family tree or something!
Now for the best part. I have a few more ideas from these books, but I really don’t have the time… or the laptop battery. At first, I thought it was a weird choice to turn Merlin into a baby (don’t ask), as if it was only a way to make Agatha act maternal – all though that did happen. However, he turned out to be honesty such amazing comic relief. He was this adorable baby, then the best five year old I have ever read, then this grumpy teen binging magical chips. Would recommend these later books for Merlin alone… and all of the great storylines, scenery and dialogue? Sort of.
Have you read this series? Got any thoughts on it? Like and let me know in the comments!