“My name is Morgan,” I said, “and there aren’t enough words for all that I am.“
Sophie Keetch ~ Morgan is My Name
When King Uther Pendragon murders her father and tricks her mother into marriage, Morgan refuses to be crushed.
Trapped amid the machinations of men in a world of isolated castles and gossiping courts, she discovers secret powers.
Vengeful and brilliant, it’s not long before Morgan becomes a worthy adversary to Merlin, influential sorcerer to the king.
But fighting for her freedom, she risks losing everything – her reputation, her loved ones and her life.
Wow – just wow! I absolutely loved this book. I’m fascinated by Arthurian legends, so was suitably intrigued by Morgan is My Name. I was immediately swept up in Morgan’s story and had no problem sympathising with her tale of woe; when Arthur is finally introduced, I found myself distrusting him, having readily shrugged off the traditional expectation of King Arthur as our hero and Morgan la Fey as evil.
As this is the first book in the trilogy, there is a lot of scene setting, but this is handled well and it’s lovely to learn more about Morgan’s childhood, especially her time at the convent where she grapples with justice, morality and power. By meeting her as a child, we see her grow up and come to realise that her understanding of events and people’s decisions when she was young, may not have been correct. Her relationship with her mother and sisters changes over time, as she realises why they submitted to Uther Pendragon’s demands, as she did not.
Some have described Morgan as a similar storyteller to Madeline Miller’s Circe. I vehemently disagree; Morgan is very much at the centre of the action, has her own story and character development. I would also argue that Sophie Keetch’s writing and pacing are better, as is her sense of place.
The book is also extremely vivid and engaging. For reasons I won’t go into, I have bad memories of Cornwall, but after reading Keetch’s book, I think it may be time to revisit and let bygones be bygones. For it is almost another character; it’s moody, rugged, breath-taking and dangerous; we see the hazards early on and learn how something so beautiful can also be deadly. And this may also be the case with Morgan herself; we know she will eventually grow into her powers and become a sorcerer, but how this will occur, we know not…
The character development was excellent, not just Morgan herself who is feisty and stubborn, but also her friend Alys, who supports and pacifies her throughout. Alys’s romance is well-written and I was so pleased when the hints were confirmed, as I was rooting for them to get together! I also enjoyed the brief scenes that Morgan has with Merlin, where we see a hint of how much power she will possess when the time is right. Morgan’s dalliance made me nervous, but I also found it touching and showed her passionate side.
Morgan is My Name is an outstanding debut that is a true feminist retelling, and I am so pleased that this is just the start of what promises to be an excellent trilogy.
Thanks to Oneworld Publishing for my proof copy. Opinions my own.
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