Title: The Camelot Kids, Volume 1
Author: Ben Zackheim
2014 – KidLit/YA – Fantasy
I’m something of a sucker for a good, engrossing middle grade or YA fantasy. So when I was contacted by TLC Blog Tours about being part of a blog tour for a recently published title about the legend of King Arthur in a modern context, I was game! I eagerly checked the mail every single day as I waited for my copy to arrive, and as soon as it was delivered, I buried myself in this ancient legend made new!
The Story: Simon hates King Arthur. He doesn’t even believe in him, but he still hates him regardless. Why? Because Simon’s parents died on an expedition in search of Camelot, leaving Simon alone. After spending two years in an orphanage and on the streets, Simon is sent to an uncle’s house. But shortly after arriving, Simon is invited to a mysterious meeting, kidnapped by a troll, and rescued by Merlin. Then he’s taken to New Camelot, told he’s a descendant of Lancelot, and given an intense training regimen.
The Opening Line: Simon Sharp’s normal life ended when he was twelve years, 217 days, 14 hours, and 12 minutes old.
What I Loved: You know what this novel reminded me of? Harry Potter mixed with Percy Jackson. And y’all should know that coming from me, comparing any book to Harry Potter is the highest praise. But seriously. The world-building in this book was just fantastic. From the descriptions of the castle to how I could almost see and smell the treats from the festival, I wanted to visit New Camelot. Add in some snarky, confused, flawed teens, a host of mythical creatures, and a timeless legend, and you gotta admit that this book has something for everyone!
What I Didn’t Love: Even though nothing happened, I could sense a love triangle in the works…and to be honest, I feel really meh about love triangles. They’re getting a little old hat and seriously every YA book I read seems to have one. But maybe in the second volume it will resolve itself?
Final Thoughts: This novel was really well-done. The writing was fantastic, I could relate to the characters, and like I said, I actually wanted to visit New Camelot. The art was amazing as well, though I could have used more of it. It was really helpful when there was a particularly inventive description that I needed a visual to even imagine. I don’t know a ton about the Arthurian legend, but I feel like I have a better grasp on it now. I really can’t wait for the second volume, because I need to know what happens and I really want Simon to embrace his destiny.