Friday 20 October 2023

Set in Stone (Disney: A Twisted Tale #15)

Set in Stone (Disney: A Twisted Tale #15) by Mari Mancusi (Scholastic) PB RRP $17.99 ISBN: 9781761293825

Reviewed by Kellie Nissen

Whether or not you’re familiar with the traditional legend of King Arthur, you’re going to love Mari Mancusi’s reimagining of this classic, which starts with the age-old question: What if?

What if Arthur was never supposed to be king? What if pulling the sword, Excalibur, from the stone was all a trick? A magical mishap? And what if the scheming sorceress Mim badly misjudged not only Arthur’s ability to rule but also the loyalty of her foster daughter Guinevere.

What if?

The story picks up just after 12-year-old Arthur has pulled Excalibur from the stone and is about to be crowned as King of England. He’s as bewildered as the next person; more so when the whole town seems to freeze in time with the exception of a peculiar lady who urges him to rise and destroy his enemies. This does not sit well with Arthur, however, who is more concerned with bringing about peace – and locating his mentor, the wizard Merlin, who has mysteriously disappeared after the pair argued.

Once Mim realises Arthur is not going to be as easily manipulated as she thought, she has to resort to plan B – sending in her young foster daughter, Guinevere, whose sole role is to bring Arthur undone.

Adventure, magic, humour and a touch of romance – Set in Stone has it all as the story sets out to ‘uncover the truth’. Told from the alternating perspectives of Arthur and Guinevere, readers are drawn into this long-ago world, inside the walls of Camelot, to walk alongside the two unlikely pre-teen heroes as they unravel who they are, what happened to Merlin and where they all truly belong.

I love a good ‘prequel’ – the story before the story that gives the reader background and insight into what went on prior to the main event. Set in Stone does this, with a few twists along the way.

Listed under the genre of young adult, Set in Stone will captivate younger readers between the ages of 10 and 14 with its magic and adventure, but will also intrigue readers of all ages who are fans of the legend.

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