Spear by Nicola Griffith - Book Review

Write on: Thu, 31 Mar 2022 by  in Natasha's Reviews Read 686

Spear is the story of a young girl raised by her mother alone in the woods, who knows destiny is before her and hears the lake calling to her, knows she must find her way to Artos' court. It's excellent retelling of sorts; I really enjoyed my time with this. The writing is beautiful, and the setting vivid. The story was given exactly the length it needed.

I loved the way Peretur interacted with the world, how we saw her growth and several pivotal moments of change. Her magic and strength and empathy and self-confidence just made it a really fun perspective to read from. If I'm being honest, I very much enjoyed the fantasy of existing as a women but with others seeing and respecting her as a man. (And the fact that every time she chose to reveal herself, that respect remained.)

There's an understanding in this story that finding yourself means finding connection and community. There's acknowledgement of class differences and the inability to ever truly go back to where you came from. And yes it's sapphic (with a side throuple!) which was wonderful.

Even with how short this was, almost every named side character stood out to me. This may be my favorite rendition of Nimüe and Lancelot I've seen, but there were also less well known characters like Cei and Angharad who carved out their own space. The explanation of Cei in the author's note is spot on - that friendly asshole himbo you've probably met.

I'm not going to say much about the plot both because the book is short and because the plot was what mattered least to me. You'd probably have more fun picking out deliberate narrative choices if you had a better grasp of the Authurian legends and this time in history than I do, but I didn't feel like I was missing anything.

I'd recommend this to anyone looking for an Authurian tale or simply a quick read in a medieval setting with that classic optimistic hero's quest vibe.

Last modified on Thursday, 31 March 2022 23:47

Natasha's passion for reading was kindled by her parents and the local library that allowed her family to checkout 50 books at a time. She first fell in love with fantasy through Arthurian retellings whereas her love for science fiction began with Star Wars novels. Nowadays, she still spends her free time reading but also gaming, running a blog (natrosette), and obsessing over TV shows. Maybe if she spent as much time reading as she does looking for books to read, she'd actually make a dent in her TBR.