A King Arthur–based fantasy set in modern-day Canada.
High school student and inveterate reader of fantasy Ariane Forsythe is haunted by her mother’s supposed descent into insanity, which preceded her disappearance two and a half years ago. Only recently out of foster care (now in the care of her aunt, who was previously too sick to care for her niece), Ariane is used to bullies, and these find her almost as soon as she has started her new school. Through a magical encounter with the Lady of the Lake, Ariane discovers she is the Lady’s heir, accepting the Lady’s power and a quest to retrieve the shattered shards of Excalibur before Merlin—still alive and the story’s villain—can. Aiding Ariane is her schoolmate, the endearingly geeky Wally Knight. Together they use Ariane’s new powers to seek the shards and face Merlin, readying themselves for the sequel. The fantastic elements work better than the realistic ones. Readers will be struck at the way the girls who prey on Ariane vacillate between laughable immaturity and more plausible tactics, such as force-stripping Ariane with the intention of texting her picture to their schoolmates. Nevertheless, though it’s not fast-paced, it’s a tight story (all the details make sense), and characters exhibit honest emotions.
Fantasy references galore should ensure that readers who enjoy fantasy—and Arthurian legend in particular—come away satisfied. (Fantasy. 12-16)