Oy! I’m backkkkkk!!!!!
(NOTE: please read this in a sing songy voice for the full effect)
Ok. Technically it’s only been like a week since I last posted. But it has been a solid month since I’ve had my head in the blogging game. The last month or so has felt very… foggy. There was so much going on (read: school was kicking my ass) that everything sort of blurred together into a giant bucket of mind-soup.
For the first time for many weeks, I am feeling motivation to blog again. And that makes me so happy, because I love blogging and it’s made me so sad not to have the mental energy to create content or interact with all you lovelies as often.
And truly, is there way to come back than with a good ole ARC review?? (the answer is no!). A big thanks to Netgalley and the Pengiun Teen for sending me a eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review!
Book: The Other Merlin
Author: Robyn Schneider
Expected publication: September 21st 2021 by Viking Books for Young Readers
homophobia, sexism, violence, dead parents (past)
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? (from Goodreads)
This book is kind of ridiculous, and I say that in the most endearing way possible. It is the perfect combination of quality while not taking itself too seriously that just works so effortlessly. It allows itself to be fun and goofy at times, while not losing direction of the narrative. I straight up had fun reading it.
Especially when flipping genres, getting my mind to get with the switch-a-roo pov program is a bit of a struggle. I don’t know, but I kind of get into a certain groove that becomes hard to break after a long time (like, idk, a summer full of reading contemporary only). The Other Merlin has this great way of being in third person without being too heavy. Yes, it is fantasy, but it felt like a light fantasy. Very easy to get lost in the story and breeze through it all.
Bonus points for the multiple pov situation that was going on. You know what the added perk of hearing the thoughts of a bunch of characters??? We get double sided pining for the romance. Which obviously makes it better. Oh! And did I mention the fact that both of the main characters are bisexual? Yep. That is pretty fantastic too.
The final battle is reliant on the main character to make a kind of reckless choice. Which really is in character for Emry to make these ridiculous life choices, but still. I would have liked a bit more groundwork for it so it would’ve been like no no no no no no no no no no. Some more foundation and depth so Emry’s motivation could have been clearer.
To be completely honest, the use of the word “battle” is probally overexaggerating things. The end was the tiniest bit anticlimactic. We didn’t get a clear cut “villian” until later in the book, which means the progression of that storyline felt a little bit rushed. The villians motivations and whatnot are still clear and well developed, but I feel like there could have been more drama at the final showdown.
As for the ending beyond the final confrontation, the whole thing was just a touch rushed. The supporting cast gets the attention they deserve, with their storylines being tied up and their own moments to shine. But because there was so much focus on all of these subplots and character arcs being tied up, I felt like Emry and Author’s stories were left slightly unattended. But then again, maybe that’s just to leave more room for them to grow in the second book (which i need asap btw).
Overall, I had a blast reading this one. The story kept me hooked, the banter had me cackling, and it was light and exactly what I needed to kick of the fantasy reading season. I’d recommend this to fans of retellings and to those looking for a fast paced book you won’t be able to put down!
Are you excited for The Other Merlin??