Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood

This RITA® Reader Challenge 2017 review was written by Spice. This story was nominated for the RITA® in the Paranormal Romance category.

The summary:

An ancient evil rises. An ancient warrior awakens. 

In an age clouded by legend, Gawain was one of King Arthur’s greatest knights. When he awakens centuries after the fall of Camelot, he faces his most daunting quest yet—the search for his missing companions. His hope is that Tamsin Greene, the alluring historian at Medievaland Theme Park, can help him. Then he senses the magic within her… Gawain will now have to trust a witch—and his own heart—to rouse the knights of the Round Table and save humanity from a faery onslaught.

Here is Spice‘s review:

I was excited at the thought of snagging a book for the Smart Bitches Trashy Books RITA Reader Challenge. SBTB is the first book blog I read, and a great example of what I want our blog to be when it grows up. I carefully went over the list (well, what was left of the list, it was kind of slim pickings by the time I looked) and Enchanted Warrior stood out.

The King Arthur theme did worry me a bit. I have a love/hate relationship with adaptations of my favorite stories from childhood. Some of them blow me away with the creativity and fun in how a beloved character or story line is portrayed. Others crash and burn in a big way for me, usually because the basic essence of the story or a beloved character changed so much, everything that was so wonderful about them is lost.

Tamsin is a modern day witch desperately trying to prove herself worthy of being the loremaster for the Shadowring witches. This would get her out of the small town her coven is based at and also out of danger of an arranged marriage. She was a brave little thing and seemed super smart which is why I thought it odd she had no idea how powerful she was. In fact, the farther along in the book we got, the more powerful she became with no explanation really of how or why.

As for Gawain, his armor might shine, but only to distract us from the fact he was a wishy washy asshat. He wasn’t just a knight: Gawain is a witch who comes from an evil family full of witches, the LaFayes (as in Morgan LaFaye). Between his family and the fact he had a tragic magic-gone-wrong mishap as a child, he hates witches and anything to do with magic. This seemed at odds with allowing himself to be magically turned to stone for centuries in order to fight some evil later, but I guess we’re supposed to ignore this. The final straw for me with Gawain was he is the one who graced us with the most TSTL moments of the book. It’s no secret I can’t stand TSTL heroines, but now I know a TSTL hero is much, much worse.

I’m also not big into heroes who indulge in self loathing. It drove me crazy when Gawain would completely dislike what Tamsin was (even though he is one too) but then use her powers to help him find the other knights. She proved her loyalty and heart to him time and time again, but it was never enough because she was a hated witch. Maybe if he had gotten over himself early on, but nope, he kept this attitude up until almost the end of the book, even after he acknowledged he loved her. See… Asshat of the first degree.

While making use of her witchy powers he had no issue embracing some of her other, ahem, charms. In fact he stormed her castle as often as he could and in some situations that had me thinking things like “I realize you are horny and all, but shouldn’t you be worried about the flying demons coming at you?”. Usually for a good, hot, smexy scene I’ll look past a few anomalies, but the ridiculous floweriness of the dialogue had the effect of a wet blanket on any sex scenes, fizzing out the potential sizzle.

With just a handful of other characters making cameo appearances, this was mainly the Tamsin and Gawain show. Mordred was an antagonist who was so OTT evil I had a hard time taking him seriously. Refreshingly, Nimueh, the Lady of the Lake’s character, captivated my interest. At first she glance she was unfeeling due to repercussions of the same spell used to freeze Gawain and the knights, but there were glimmers of humanity that made me want more from her.

Angmar, one of the few fae who escaped that same spell, is who I wished had been the hero. He was haunted, driven, and smart which made me want so much more of him. When King Arthur makes his appearance he was no better than Gawain. In fact, he owned the asshat crown, IMO, which completely sucked since I basically hero worshipped him as a child.

Nimueh and Angmar saved this book for me, but they just weren’t enough to override the absolute asshattishness of the hero, and King Arthur.

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Enchanted Warrior by Sharon Ashwood

February 1, 2016

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