Book Review: Victories

Victories (Shadow Grail # 4)
By: Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill
Publisher: Tom Doherty Associates
Publication Date: April 22, 2014
Page Count: 256
Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble
Source: e-book purchased by reviewer
Audience: Young Adult – Fantasy, Arthurian Mythology

Victories is the much anticipated conclusion to The Shadow Grail Series by Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill.  I would love to go back and review the first three books, but for now will stick to the fourth.  I will give a quick overview of the first three without giving away any spoilers.

Lackey and Edghill have successfully woven Arthurian Mythology and Legend into the modern day world with their own twists on the actual tales.  Spirit White is orphaned in the first book, Legacies, and sent to a school for young magicians who have lost their families.  Soon she realizes the school is hiding much more than the fact that there is magic in the world.  Students are disappearing and no one seems to care or notice.  Spirit and her new friends strive to find out why and how before the next ones vanish.  The first book ends with them stopping the disappearances.  In the second book, Conspiracies, there is still danger and evil lurking outside the walls – and inside – that threatens Spirit and her friends.  They again search for the hidden truths that will save them.  In the third book, Sacrifices, the evil is very clear and near, but there seems to be no possible way to defeat it or escape until a couple friends sacrifice themselves for the others.

The fourth and final book in the series, Victories starts up right where Sacrifices ends with Spirit and her friends on the run, being helped by an unknown entity.  They are running from Mordred and his Shadow Knights, who are preparing to destroy the world and send it back to ancient times where magic was power, not technology.  Spirit and the other students, the Grail Knights, must find a way to stop them.  The first three books are a build up to the final battle.

I love how well the Arthurian characters and stories are blended into the modern day woes of teenagers.  You encounter Merlin, Arthur, Lancelot, Guinevere, Mordred, and so many more.  The fourth book was truly my favorite.  I would have read it in one sitting if I would have had the time.  The magic and twists to the tales were so fun and engaging to read, you almost think you are there on the final battlefield, fighting alongside the Grail Knights to save the world.

I have always loved Mercedes Lackey novels and these did not disappoint.  The story is definitely written for a young adult audience, much less wordy than her more adult novels, but it gives you almost everything you look for in a good read: adventure, love, history, magic, and mystery. 

The fourth and final book in the Shadow Grail series by the "New York Times "and "USA Today "bestselling authors Mercedes Lackey and Rosemary Edghill

Spirit White and her friends Burke, Loch, and Addie have escaped from Oakhurst Academy. But their freedom has come at a terrible cost--a dear friend sacrificed her own life to save theirs. In the wake of Muirin's death, they are also forced to deal with the terrifying truth behind the facade of Oakhurst Academy: all of the legends are true.

Queen Guinevere, King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table really had existed. With the magic of Merlin, they were able to imprison their greatest foe, Mordred, before he could plunge the world back into the Dark Ages. But Mordred is now free, in charge of Oakhurst Academy, and determined to finish what he started so long ago.

Pursued by Shadow Knights, the reincarnated remnants of Mordred's original army, Spirit's small band undertakes a quest to recover the Four Hallows, objects of immeasurable power. Memories of a past life have begun to surface, one in which Spirit wields a legendary sword. She comes to realize that these memories are the true key to Mordred's defeat. Can Spirit and her friends manage to recapture the magic of Camelot in time to save their fellow students and prevent the end of the world?