An Unexpected Favorite

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libbypaulson Avatar


I honestly did not expect to like this book as much as I did. While the premise was intriguing and I'm a sucker for King Arthur retellings, I thought maybe it would be a 3 star read. I didn't really have any expectations when I sat down to read it. . .and then four hours later I had finished it in one sitting.

Basically, it's a retelling of King Arthur except Merlin is the last name that belongs to a pair of twins, Emry and Emmett. When Emmett is summoned to become the court wizard, Emry, who is better with magic, takes his place, disguised as a boy. As expected, shenanigans ensue. This book was actually funny, too, which was a pleasant surprise –– a lot of times, when a protagonist is described as sarcastic, it comes off as cringy, but I found myself smiling at some of Merlin and Arthur's quips.

Another plus is that the main cast is explicitly confirmed to be LGBT. Emry and Arthur are bi and I believe Lancelot is gay (mlm for sure, though). While there are some people in the novel who aren't supportive, the majority are –– there are some really great lines, especially in a conversation between Lance and Lord Agravaine at the end that genuinely made me tear up a little.

The writing was quick-paced and the chapters were easily devoured. My only complaint is that the final showdown at the ending went too quickly and I think it could have used more time spent on it. It felt like an afterthought more than anything else. Regardless, it does set up the next book well, which I am excited to read! Overall, 4.5 stars rounded up to 5.