Kay, one of the immortal knights of King Arthur, has found his soul mate, his other half. His Tresor. The only problem is that Charles, a Knight Hospitaller, isn’t like any other Tresor. For one, he seems to be almost as immortal as the knights, possessing powers that are far from mortal. For another, he seems to be sworn to a powerful deity or magic user, being moved from time to time to help where needed. Charles also denies the pull of the bond he and Kay share.
For the knight who finds his Tresor, such as Lancelot and Lucan, they are suddenly made whole, a wholeness Kay longs for in the hopes that it will made him happy. Kay has never felt accepted or loved or like he belongs. Even with Lance and the other knights, he knows that he’s missing something, that he isn’t good enough. Kay goes from bed to bed, lover to lover in the hopes of finding his Tresor. So far it hasn’t worked, and each encounter leaves him more and more despondent. While he isn’t trying to kill himself, he isn’t exactly against the idea of dying … which causes him to throw himself between his friends and danger at every opportunity, because he knows his worth is so much less than theirs.
Like Kay, Charles has lived a life of service, sworn to a power he neither understands nor wants. He wakes up, knowing what his task is — given as much information as he needs to complete his task — and then, once all is said and done, is whisked away, without even memories to keep him company. As much as he wants to love Kay, Charles knows he isn’t a Tresor, and that Kay is meant for someone else. He, too, would die to protect others. He, too, would give everything for others.
I very much enjoyed the first two books in the Guardians of Camelot series, and this one picks up directly following the events of book two. For those who haven’t read the other books, you’ll have a very difficult time following the plot of the third volume. This is definitely a series that needs to be read in order. The knights of Camelot, sworn to Arthur, were granted immortality in order to keep fighting after Arthur’s death, but for a price. They surrendered half of their souls in order to heal faster, endure more, and gain strength and speed no human could possess. But Merlin tried to balance out the spell, promising them that their missing halves could be found in the form of Tresors, soul mates and one true loves.
Victoria Sue has a gift for conversation and complex, three-dimensional characters, but I felt very little connection with Kay or Charles, either separately or as a couple. The doubt and insecurity was there at the beginning, especially with Kay, but as the story began to focus more on the action and plot, the characterization began to fall by the wayside. The relationship between Kay and Charles became more exposition than examination, and the characters were less consistent in their interactions with one another.
While Charles mentioned to another character that Kay balanced him, I saw very little evidence of it. They were both too much birds of a feather to balance one another out. That isn’t a bad thing. In fact, I think the similarities they shared in upbringing — both abandoned as children, raised knowing they were unwanted, knowing they were being used for someone else’s purpose — could have made for an interesting bonding moment. But rather than deal with their issues, or even have a moment where they turned to one another and came together as a couple to take the Knight and Tresor bond, they were forced into it to wrap up a scene.
There’s a lot of plot in this book, and some very interesting moments of both magical and military action. But the whole thing felt unbalanced to me, especially when yet two more Knights and Tresor pairs are found and bound together in a way that feels more convenient than compelling. I truly enjoyed the first two books, but some of the feelings of being unwanted feel like a lukewarm rehash of Tom and Lucan’s story, and the idea that Charles may be something more powerful and supernatural than has been seen before was done better in Lance and Mel’s story.
Overall, this is a fine if lopsided story with more attention paid to the plot and tying up lose ends in preparation for the next book. The lack of focus kept me from investing in any one particular character or thread. While I’m curious to see where the plot goes and I think the world building and storytelling are still very worth the read from a romance and character standpoint, this is the weakest of the three books.