I was pleasantly–very pleasantly, as you’ll see–surprised to discover a review, the first I’ve seen, of Shards of Excalibur: Song of the Sword in the September issue of Quill & Quire, Canada’s magazine of book news and reviews.
The review, by author Robert J. Wiersema, almost gave me a heart attack with the first sentence, though. It begins:
Authors who incorporate, interpret, or subvert Arthurian legends in works of contemporary fantasy take a huge risk: the failure rate of such books is staggeringly high.
Gulp. Fortunately, he continues with:
Every so often, though, a writer is skilled enough to utilize the stories of King Arthur and Camelot to significant effect. Guy Gavriel Kay’s Fionavar Tapestry trilogy is definitely on the list. So, too, is Song of the Sword, the impressive new YA novel from Regina writer Edward Willett.
Whew! That’s all right, then. (Me, compared with Guy Kay? It is to blush. Although we both have a connection to Weyburn…he was born there, I lived there many years…so, who knows? Maybe it’s something in the water.)
Wiersema goes on to summarize the story (very well), and then adds:
It’s an audacious conceit and a daring subversion of the Arthurian mythos, and Willett backs it up with a taut, compelling narrative, well-drawn characters, and a keen sense of genuine peril and true wonder. It’s a powerful, fun, engaging read, and it’s the first of a series, so readers have much to look forward to.
His only caveat: he wonders if young readers may not be familiar enough with the Arthurian legend for my reworking to resonate as fully with them as I’d like, and worries that if this is the first time they run into the Arthurian cast of characters, my book could “skew” their initial reading of their legends.
I hate to sound heartless, but…I think I can live with that!