Knight of Darkness
Imagine you’re me…
The new Kinley MacGregor comes in the mail. While not a fan of her alter ego Sherrilyn Kenyon, you have enjoyed her historical romances in the past. They might have been a shade wallpaper-esque, but were entertaining reads. Knowing that MacGregor has now stepped into the legend of Arthur and Camelot, a myth you’ve always enjoyed, you are more than excited over Knight of Darkness.
You open the book.
Read a short, yet intriguing, prologue.
Settle in for a good time.
Chapter 1. Third paragraph. First sentence out of one of Arthur’s knights, our hero Varian duFey’s mouth: “No shit, Sherlock”
What would you do? Me? I closed the book ever so slowly and hid it under a pillow until the urge to throw it had dissipated.
Varian duFey is an unlikely knight. He might be the son of the great Lancelot, but he also the son of Narishka, an evil sorceress and the right hand of Morgen la Fey. Varian is equal parts good and evil and an extremely powerful sorcerer. Merlin has charged him to leave Avalon, the land of light and good, and enter Camelot, a place of darkness since Arthur’s death, to bring home the body of a tortured knight who was murdered by Morgen’s henchman in effort to gain knowledge that will lead her to the all powerful Grail. Once his task is completed, he is tricked by his mother and taken captive. Narishka wants Varian to join the dark side and use his superior powers for their benefit. Varian is tortured and beaten but will not submit. A beautiful young woman who is a servant to his mother tends to him during his imprisonment.
Merewyn of Mercia was once a beautiful princess until she made an unfortunate deal with Narishka to try to avoid an unwanted suitor. She was turned into a deformed hag and beaten and belittled for centuries. She jumps at Narishka’s offer to have her beauty and freedom restored in exchange for her help in turning Varian. However, he is one of the only people to show her any kindness in her disgusting form and she feels a twinge of guilt for her role.
The opportunity arises for the pair to escape with the help of a spy amongst Morgen’s minions. The three find that their only escape route lies within The Valley – a land that was originally created as a prison for Morgen. The Valley has since been known as a place that Morgen sends unwanted lovers and other people who have peeved her, a place from where no one returns. It is here that the trio joins forces with a set of triplets and a baby gargoyle and search for a way back to Avalon.
Kinley MacGregor pulled out all the stops trying to make Knight of Darkness humorous and campy. Sadly, it was too campy and not very humorous. The worst offense is the frequent pop culture references. I composed myself after the Sherlock incident. When Varian mutters a “Yee Haw” I merely flinched. Some of the Monty Python/Spamalot quotes made me smile but I draw the line when one of the lead characters starts singing the Supremes’ Ain’t No Mountain High Enough. Thankfully, these annoyances puttered out two-thirds of the way through the book.
Sarcasm runs throughout all characters, which makes it hard to delineate their characters. Everyone spoke the same, acted the same, and made the same snarky comments to each other. This really hampered the romance between Varian and Merewyn and I never felt the two connect. They either lusted after or pitied each other. When Merewyn realizes she’s in love with Varian it was rather surprising…I know that I didn’t think she was in love with him.
What saves this from the F bin is the plot. Once things start to fall into place with Varian’s past and the Grail knights, it did become more interesting. It took a bit of coercing myself to look past the characters and dialogue and read simply for the overall story, but it is what finally kicked my butt into gear to get this monster finished.
I don’t think I will be picking up any of the future Lords of Avalon books if this is what I have to look forward to. I will, however, reread some past Kinley MacGregor books to remind myself why she is a bestselling author.