Hey all, Dani here.
I think I’m ready to talk about one of my new favorite books. But I suppose I should preface this whole review by saying that I have been pretty much obsessed with Arthurian legends for a large portion of my life, reading books inspired by it, watching TV shows and movies, and all of that. So finding a futuristic reincarnation of Arthur (who happens to be female) in space just sounded so wildly entertaining to me, and I had to pick it up and read it ASAP.
Okay, let’s get started with the review.
I’ve been chased my whole life. As a fugitive refugee in the territory controlled by the tyrannical Mercer corporation, I’ve always had to hide who I am. Until I found Excalibur.
Now I’m done hiding.
My name is Ari Helix. I have a magic sword, a cranky wizard, and a revolution to start.
When Ari crash-lands on Old Earth and pulls a magic sword from its ancient resting place, she is revealed to be the newest reincarnation of King Arthur. Then she meets Merlin, who has aged backward over the centuries into a teenager, and together they must break the curse that keeps Arthur coming back. Their quest? Defeat the cruel, oppressive government and bring peace and equality to all humankind.
Rating: 5 stars
So. Much. Diversity! Oh, and apparently recently Cori proposed to Amy, so congrats to both authors on your engagement. But anyway, Amy identifies as she/her and Cori identifies as they/them, which I feel makes the diverse representation of this story that much more natural. Plus this story takes place in the future, and shows a hopeful time when gender identity can be varied and fluid and it is completely normal and accepted.
Ari is a pretty cool character, and you can see the personality traits that she shares with the original Arthur. I thought the current incarnations of Gwen and Kay and all the other classic Arthurian legend characters were well done. In fact, it got to points where I was very unsure of where I stood on trusting either Merlin or Morgana, because they both seemed to be more grey on the morality spectrum.
It was cool to have a planet that was basically a Renaissance Faire, where there was squire camp and a castle.
Oh, and can I just admit that it bothered me every time I read the words Mercer Corporation? And for the silliest reason ever. It’s because it made me think of Matthew Mercer, the Dungeon Master on Critical Role, and he is such an awesome and sweet marshmallow of a man, so having this evil corporation sharing his name was making me upset. Obviously this point of the review doesn’t affect my rating at all, but I still feel the need to point it out.
I was so absorbed into this story, and had such a great time reading it. There was action and adventure and a little bit of mystery and romance. It honestly had a little bit of everything. I really enjoyed having the blending of sci-fi with Arthurian mentalities; it made for a really interesting tale.
And then the way it ended…oh man, I will definitely be counting down until the release of the sequel. I need to know what will happen next.