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Ratings and Book Reviews ()

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  • a hilarious and fresh take on the King Arthur myth

    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.

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  • A great retelling of a classic tale!

    As someone who loved the Merlin TV series, and fantasy books in general, I was excited to see the concept behind this book! Its obviously a bit different than the traditional tales (cue Merlin being a girl) but it was still amazing! The characters were fresh and exciting, and the whole book was uplifting and a fun read. I also always appreciate it when books can include queer characters, but not make that the one and only aspect of their personality. I think the author did a great job of giving the characters a multi-faceted personality, and then adding in or hinting at their sexual orientation. This is always the way straight characters have been written, and it great to see some representation being given to other sexualities. Overall I thought this book was great and can’t wait to read the next in the series! To comment on the cover, it does read a bit young for me, but the bulk of the book is what matters most!

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  • An exciting new feminist take on Arthurian legend

    Thank you to Viking Books and Bookishfirst for this ARC in exchange for an honest review! The Other Merlin by Robyn Schneider is the first book in a series and an exciting new feminist take on Arthurian legend. The story revolves around Emry Merlin, the famous wizard Merlin's daughter. One day, she's playing a boy in a theater when a soldier arrives summoning Merlin's son, her twin brother Emmett, to court. She decides to take his place and arrives at the castle disguised as her brother. Soon, she's catching feelings for the handsome prince Arthur and entangling with other famous characters like Lancelot and Guinevere. Will Emry be able to keep up the ruse? And how will she be able to find true love when everyone thinks she's a boy? Here is an interesting excerpt from an opening chapter, which is from Emry's point of view: "It was all so enormously unfair. This was why their father hadn’t wanted to teach her. Why he’d brought her dolls and ribbons and had frowned when she’d mastered spells faster than her brother. He’d known this would happen. ... Emmett drained his second glass of wine and rambled on about his day, but Emry had stopped listening. All she could think was, Emmett’s going to London, to live in a castle and learn magic. And not because he’s smarter than me, or older, or more talented. Because he’s Merlin’s son, and I’m just his daughter." Overall, The Other Merlin will appeal to fans of Tamora Pierce's classic Song of the Lioness quartet and this year's Half Sick of Shadows. This book was one of my most anticipated reads of 2021. I was so looking forward to a book that combined "teen rom-com" and high fantasy, according to the synopsis I read. I enjoy both of those genres, so I was expecting to really enjoy this book. Unfortunately, I was a bit disappointed. I took off one star, because the characters barely leave the castle. I was so interested to learn more about the world, but I didn't get to see much of it. I took off another star, because the jokes felt a bit "young" / immature to me. A lot of YA fantasy books appeal to adults, but this one did not appeal to me. If you're intrigued by the excerpt above, or if you're a fan of YA fantasy in general, you can check out this book when it comes out in September!

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