Twist of the Blade

11 December 2014

Twist of the Blade
Published by Coteau Books
Review by Courtney Bates-Hardy
$14.95 ISBN 978-1-55050-599-3

Twist of the Blade is the second book in Edward Willett’s Shards of Excalibur series, a clever and modern adaptation of the legends of King Arthur.

Ariane Forsythe has inherited the magical power of the Lady of the Lake, along with a quest: she must find the five broken pieces of the sword of Excalibur before the evil reincarnation of Merlin, Rex Major, gets his hands on it. If Rex Major gains control of Excalibur, he’ll have the power to wage war on Earth and the world of Faerie. With the help of her friend, Wally, Ariane has retrieved one piece of the sword, but now she must find the second piece quickly. She thinks it’s somewhere in France but she’ll have to find a way to get herself and Wally across the ocean first.

Things get complicated as Wally begins to suspect that Ariane’s power is changing her. Ariane isn’t sure if she needs Wally anymore and begins pushing him away. Rex Major has a plan to get to the second shard and his power over technology is only helping him act upon it. Will he succeed in tearing their friendship apart before they reach the second shard? Can Ariane control her ever-growing power without losing herself, and her friend?

Canadian readers will find themselves among familiar geography, as the series is mainly set in the author’s home city of Regina, Saskatchewan, as well as Toronto, Ontario. Of course, the setting begins to expand into other geographical areas as the characters race to find the separated pieces of Excalibur. Fantasy readers will be delighted by the subtle and not-so-subtle blend of the Arthurian legend and modern life that has Merlin texting a demon, the Lady of the Lake’s heir travelling through sink drains, and a clumsy sidekick named Walter Arthur Knight III, who may have more power than he realizes.

Anyone who enjoys other young adult series, such as Percy Jackson and the Olympians, will find much to revel in here, as these seemingly normal high school students deal with discovering their magical powers, navigating relationships, and the struggle between good and evil.


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