Spear by Nicola GriffithSpear by Nicola Griffith is an engrossing historical fantasy and queer retelling of Arthurian myth and legend and there are a lot of magical elements embedded within it.

She was destined for greatness. She left everything she knew and loved in order for her to find her true self…

She grows up in a wild sequestered forest and she lives in a cave with her mother—but she has visions of a beautiful, far-off lake and she wants to find out if it is a part of her destiny. Her curiosity becomes limitless when she hears a traveler speak of Artos, King of Caer Leon and she firmly believes that a glorious future awaits her at his court. She’s restless, filled with magic and eager to put her strength to good use so she breaks her promise to her mother and sets out on a long, arduous journey to Caer Leon.

Armed with just her stolen hunting spear and repaired armour, she is an unlikely hero to everyone she helps. She isn’t a chosen one but she is determined to blaze her own bright trail because her journey is filled with magic, secrets, tender love, desire and deadly battles. While she is on the greatest adventure of her life, she will claim the hearts of beautiful women, fight warriors, bandits and sorcerers, and she’ll finally be able to settle down and make a home for herself.

Pros And My Favourite Parts

I’m a huge sucker for queer retellings of classic stories and I must say that this enchanting novel has definitely lived up to the hype. Nicola Griffith’s prose is beautiful in every sense of the word and this story left me sleepless and begging the literary goddesses for a sequel right after I binge read this entire book in one night. I was living my best life when I was following Peretur’s journey from an unnamed young girl who was raised in a secluded cave with her mother to King Artos’s Court in Caer Leon. Plus, I love the fact that this awesome story was set in the early medieval period in Britain because I’ve always wondered what had happened during that period and the vivid descriptions in this book made me feel as though I was seeing the people and the landscape with my own eyes. I’m not ashamed to admit that it was love at first glance when I saw this stunning book cover and I wanted to read this story immediately!

Cons And Heads Up

There are a few scenes that contain moderate descriptions of physical assault and murder.

The Conclusion

aprils favourite booksIf you’ve been searching for a delightfully queer novel that portrays a Welsh protagonist who has an uncanny connection to nature, possesses magical powers that she wasn’t even aware of and sets out on a quest to find out who she is so that she could fulfill her destiny, then this is definitely the story for you!

Excerpt from Spear by Nicola Griffith

It was lovely here, and she was alone. Slowly and with care she relaxed, let her senses uncurl. She listened to the liquid ripple of blackbird song and let herself feel the rise and fall of its tiny breast; watched the scudding approach of cloud from the southeast and let herself feel the gathering of droplets within. She had her name, her good name. She was here in Caer Leon, and she had beaten the king’s general in challenge. But still she had no home, and she was struck with yearning: to talk to her mother, the one who knew her best; to hear the little catch of her mother’s voice when she called her Dawnged. She wanted more than anything to be Dawnged to her mother now: a gift, a blessing. She was tired of striving, tired of the sideways look of those who did not trust her. She wanted to belong; to sit before the hearth and dip soup from the hanging bowl, or sit cross-legged before her mother who perched on a stool that she, her daughter, had made, to hear Elen use her name, Peretur, with love while she combed through her gold-streaked brass hair; to pause, between sips, and tell her mother of Bony, her horse; of the queen who grew peas just like theirs; and of the soft little coneys warm together in their burrow.

Mother, she called, and listened. Mother! She listened again. Almost.

Out here, away from walls and shade trees, some dandelions were already ripe and going to seed. She bent and picked one, twirling the white puffed globe in her fingers.

Mother, she thought, and this time as she reached she pushed against a barrier like skin, soft, and then unyielding. She drew in a breath and closed her eyes, pushed harder, then pushed in one sharp stab, and punched through. Mother, I am well. I am here. I am safe and cradled in the hand of fate. And she blew, one long breath, sending the seeds purling into the wind, sending them west with her message. She imagined the tiny seeds rising, drifting, lifting over the hills, over the river, down with the stream, drawing along the invisible line now stretched taut from her to her—

“Close yourself! Close! You’re so wide open I could walk right in and take your mind.”

A woman with hair a dusty black-brown and eyes of deep blue—the deep dark blue of the dome of sky late in summer when the day turns towards night, but dark won’t fall, not quite, because summer wants to stay, hold on to the world, linger forever. Blue eyes, royal blue, endlessly deep, and Peretur, helpless, fell in. A roar in her ears, a rush, a gush and cataract of self, one into the other, poured back and forth, back and forth: a man lying on his back, face shimmering with waterlight, a lake—the lake, her lake—Nimuë’s lake, so—

With a snap, the way closed and Peretur was sitting on the stone, swaying, holding a bald dandelion.

The woman knelt by Peretur, close enough to touch her on the knee, though she did not. “Peretur,” she said, tasting the name.

For a moment Peretur could not speak, only sit with sensation flickering up and down her belly and back, like a school of fish swimming in and out of the light. She reached out to the woman before her, slowly, with a hand that felt torn off and reattached, as though it were not hers. The woman before her was closed now, tight as a fist, but they had just lain open to one another, and she knew her. She touched the tips of the woman’s hair where it curled on her collarbone. It looked dense and soft as powdered charcoal but felt sleek as a seal. “You’re Nimuë. You drowned the king’s sorcerer. And I’ve been looking for your lake all my life.”

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Bits and Bobs

ISBN number: 9781250819321

Publisher: Tordotcom

Nicola Griffith Online

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