Prairies North Review - Song of the Sword
Reviewed by: Ashleigh Mattern
With the Lady of the Lake appearing in Wascana Lake in Regina, and Merlin disguising himself as a tech mogul in Toronto, Song of the Sword by Edward Willett has an entirely different take on the Arthurian legends.
The first book in a five-book series, Song of the Sword sets the stage for an epic, worldwide adventure with Saskatchewan as the starting point. It's not often you seen this humble prairie province taking centre stage for a fantasy adventure, and it's a lot of fun to imagine magic happening close to home. And while the story starts in Regina, it quickly expands from there, taking us to Toronto and the Northwest Territories -- and that's only the beginning; subsequent books have settings around the world.
Wascana Lake plays a pivotal role in the magical beginnings of the heroine's story, as do bathroom showers and kitchen sinks, but the action isn't ruined by the sometimes silly circumstances. There are humorous moments throughout the book, which is part of what makes the book so enjoyable.
The two main characters, Ariane and Wally, are relatable. When we first meet Ariane, she's a typical teenage girl, dealing with bullying and all the other problems of high school; and Wally is a hopelessly nerdy teenage boy. Both are dealing with difficult family situations, and both rise to the challenge of being sent on a quest to save the world. From the beginning, you're rooting for them to win.
Willett also tells the story from the antagonist's perspective, giving us a view of the world from Merlin's eyes. While it's harder to relate to a millennia-old magician disguising himself as an ultra-successful business person, the author does a great job of showing us how the bad guy sees himself as the hero of his own story.
Ariane and Wally have a long road ahead of them (four more books of adventures), but they're off to a good start.