YA Historical Fiction / Arthurian Legend (349 pgs.)
Newly crowned King Arthur rules the kingdom... but not the people's hearts. Unless he proves his worth, his power will always be in question. Too many want him dead, and treachery is everywhere.
So the wizard Merlinnus secretly creates a test for Arthur...
A sword in a stone is discovered--a stone that bears a legend promising that whosoever draws out the sword will rule England. If all goes as planned, King Arthur will draw the blade from the stone (with the help of magic from Merlinnus, of course), and the people will at last rally around the young king.
Except someone pulls the sword out first...
Yet another retelling of the Arthurian legend? Sign me up! I found this title when I was perusing through my ordering options on PaperBackSwap.com.
I cannot even begin to tell you how glad I am that I ordered this book, and how glad I am that Jane Yolen shared this incredible story! So far, out of all Arthurian re-interpretations, this is one of the best interpretations of Arthurian legend I have read. Yes, it was that good.
Two things really stood out to me as I made my way through this story... characters and plot.
Don't expect the traditional Arthurian characters in this book. Ms. Yolen gave them such fresh traits and stories, it was remarkable! It was so refreshing. The best thing about that was that the characters didn't hurt the story of Arthur in any way... in fact, they enhanced it, and made it even more of a joy to read.
The dialogue between the characters really kept the story moving, and lent so much more dimension to these familiar faces. Each character has their own voice, their own motives.
OMG the plot. I want to tell you about it so bad, but I don't want to ruin it! I can only say that it's not Arthur who pulls the sword out of the stone. And that one of the characters isn't who you think they are... But even so, the plot was excellent. It kept me on my toes throughout the entire novel. After a while of reading, you just have to learn to let go of your pre-conceived expectations, and relish in this new retelling.
Ms. Yolen did such an excellent job of telling this story, I cannot even stress that enough! There are so many twists and turns, it's completely unexpected! But still wonderful at the same time. She's made me fall in love with Arthurian legend all over again, and for that, I have to thank her. This was just a fantastic story!
In the back of the books, there is a short Q&A with Jane Yolen. One of her answers I absolutely loved:
"I am an Arthurholic. If a story is about Camelot, I am there! Quite simply, I think it is the greatest story ever told, or more accurately, the greatest collection of stories ever told." (354)
I couldn't agree more!
Book #7 in Historical Fiction Reading Challenge