The sequel to The Song of the Sword (2014) improves on its foundation.
Ariane Forsythe is changing. She can
feel the recently claimed shard of Excalibur, the legendary sword of King
Arthur, infecting her thoughts and feelings with its cold desire to kill. It’s
this drive to violence that leads to Ariane’s vigorous defense of herself
against school bullies landing said bullies in the hospital. Wally Knight,
Ariane’s friend and partner in her quest to reclaim the shards of Excalibur, is
shocked when Ariane doesn’t visit him when he is hospitalized after an accident
and is further horrified to learn Ariane’s powers have hospitalized his sister,
one of the bullies. Wally’s discomfort with Ariane’s recent behavior is further
deepened when Rex Major (Merlin, in his contemporary guise) encourages Wally to
question the motives of the Lady of the Lake, who tasked Ariane and Wally with
the quest. When Ariane discovers new powers, she uses them to travel to the
location of the next shard—but her unpredictable actions there lead to danger
and distrust. Willett realistically explores the difficulties Ariane and Wally
face and paints Rex Major in such a light that readers may be unsure as to
whether he is a master manipulator or misunderstood hero.
Engrossing and more nuanced than its predecessor.