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ARC Review: The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider



Welcome to the great kingdom of Camelot. Prince Arthur’s a depressed botanist who would rather marry a library than a princess, Lancelot’s been demoted to castle guard after a terrible misunderstanding, and nothing is going according to plan. Then Arthur accidentally pulls the sword from the stone (in his defense, he was drunk and mostly kidding), and now everyone’s convinced he’s some prophesied hero.

Emry Merlin is stuck in her small town. Her father, the legendary court wizard, disappeared years ago, and Emry’s been peddling theater tricks to make ends meet. When a royal messenger arrives summoning her far less talented twin brother to serve as Prince Arthur’s right-hand wizard, Emry is understandably upset. But after Emmett becomes indisposed thanks to a bad spell, Emry disguises herself as her brother and travels to the royal court to impersonate him until they can switch.

Studying magic at the castle is everything Emry hoped for. But life in King Uther’s court is full of scandals, lies, and backstabbing courtiers. What’s a casually bisexual teen wizard masquerading as her twin brother to do? Other than fall for the handsome prince, stir trouble with the foppish Lord Gawain, offend Princess Guinevere, and make herself indispensable to the future of Camelot?

When the truth comes out with disastrous consequences, Emry has to decide whether she’ll risk everything for the boy she loves, or give up her potential to become the greatest wizard Camelot has ever known.

Channeling the modern humor of A Knight’s Tale, bestselling author Robyn Schneider creates a Camelot that becomes the ultimate teen rom-com hotspot in this ultra-fresh take on the Arthurian legend.

My Review:

Rating: 5 out of 5.

It’s obvious from the blurb that this is not trying to be a ‘historically accurate’ retelling of King Arthur, but rather a more modern version, with all the humor that entails. Which is a lot.

I found the story hilarious. I also found it to have great messages around gender and sexuality. Namely, it has a determinedly feminist heroine who knows she can do anything her brother can and do it ten times better and is also bisexual (or possibly pansexual) and thinks looking down on people for their sexuality is ridiculous.

The best part, I think, was the friendship that developed between Arthur, Emry (Merlin), and Lance. In fact, if I could have had the three of them adventuring for the entire novel I would have been happy. There’s a tease at the end of expanding their group to include Guinevere, Emmet, and Percival. I hope that continues in the second book.

Emry’s magical talent is astounding, especially compared with her brother’s, and I greatly enjoyed her penchant for cheekily showing it off.

I will definitely be picking up the next in the series as soon as it is available.

*Thanks to Bookishfirst and Penguin Teen for providing an advanced copy for review.

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