Updated: Dec 20, 2021
I have mentioned my love for second hand books. I have also mentioned my love for fairytale twists.
Have I mentioned my more recent love for King Arthur twists?
I acquired a version of the King Arthur stories by John Steinbeck (The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights) not long before the pandemic hit. I knew some of the basic elements of the stories but really wanted to learn more and understand the stories to the fullest. The book is great. I don't usually enjoy John Steinbeck (who else hated reading Of Mice and Men in high school?) but his version of the King Arthur story is beautifully written, not at all difficult to read or pick up and so incredibly enjoyable. The only issue: he only tells half the story, leaving off where Lancelot gets together with Guinevere and missing the Holy Grail story and so much more. I wanted the next installment so bad. But he never did another installment. (and never will)
So what did I do? Of course, I added the original King Arthur books to my wishlist (Le Morte d'Arthur or The Death of Arthur. Not a spoiler at all!) but thrift books didn't have it for a good price and I wasn't going to pay full price (that's not a very me thing to do).
So to fill the gap left by my desire to read more King Arthur stories, I decided to get into some twists on the stories.
I started with Merlin (which by the way is incredibly inaccurate to the stories given that Uther was dead not long after Arther's birth and never met his son among other things). But the series (though really good in its own right) didn't fill the thirst for King Arthur twists.
So when I saw Cursed come across my suggested shows on Netflix, I immediately watched it. And loved it.
When I heard it was originally a book, I of course wanted to read that too but, of course, popular as it was, it wasn't on thrift books for an acceptable price.
Finally, when mum was going to the library, I asked her to search for the book there for me.
I quickly read the book.
I immediately picked up on it to be different than most books I had read but could not figure out why until much further into the book. Cursed's sentences are all incredibly long. Most books vary the length of their sentences which I believe is a better way to write and I do believe that some shorter sentences could have improved the book. But I nevertheless enjoyed it.
I particularly loved the sword fights. Bloody as they are in both the book and the TV show, they are well described in the book and for an author like me looking to learn some new sword fighting words and tricks, it was an excellent read and an excellent lesson.
I also found some of the language interesting. I found it interesting that the writer would choose to describe the horses by their breed but not as often by colour etc. It left someone like me, who does not know horse breeds, out of the loop as to what the horses looked like. At the same time, however, I do think it gave the book the right feel given that the characters (the main character in particular) were supposed to be close to nature.
I enjoyed the overall closeness of the book to the tv series, probably brought on by the fact that one of the book's creators was also involved in the creation of the series. I did find that there were some translation errors but rather than pieces of the book missing from the series, pieces of the series were not in the book. It was as though they needed to elongate the book to fit the series. I found that I was not at all angry with how it was done given that, aside from a few places where the book and tv show seemed to disconnect, the book and show were very similar.
What I did find in reading the book was one or two places where the writers twisted the original stories into the book that were not present in the tv series (or at least, not visible yet as I am hoping they do create more episodes). While, when watching the tv show, I had been frustrated at a few twists in particular, feeling that they were done incorrectly so that the two did not connect, I felt that once reading the book, there were ways it could be interpreted to see that it was not twisted away from the original as much as I had once believed.
Overall, an excellent book with characters I did not want to leave behind and a plot I longed to see more of. I do hope to get myself a copy if for nothing more than to mark it up with post-its where the fight scenes are at their best and where I could learn from the author.