Tuesday, December 11, 2018

The Once and Future Geek (The Camelot Code #1)

Mancusi, Mari. The Once and Future Geek (The Camelot Code #1)
November 20th 2018 by Disney Hyperion
E ARC from Netgalley

Guinevere and Arthur get along quite well, practicing their fighting and trying to stay out of the way of the knights who terrorize the peasants they are trying to help. They are young, and Arthur's position is precarious, but they care for each other deeply. In modern times, Sophie and Stu hang out together and are big fans of a video game where they must defeat the evil Morgana. However, Stu's step brother Lucas has gotten Stu to try out for the soccer team, and Sophie feels him slipping away from her. When Guinevere and Arthur accidentally lose a very important sword from Merlin's collection right before  a big tournament, Merlin has to use his powers to get the weapon back, and this includes sending Sophie a computer code that makes her travel back in time! When Arthur gets pulled to the present, and Stu goes back to impersonate Arthur and pulls the sword from the stone while under a glamor to look like him, things get oddly complicated. Add to this the trouble the kids have with their romances (Arthur Googles himself in the present day and finds out about Guinevere's relationship with Lancelot, which doesn't make him happy!), and the precarious situation that time travel and changing the course of history puts them in, and this is a harrowing twist on the Arthurian cycle.
Strengths: Camelot and Arthurian legend is always popular, and this is an interesting cyber twist, sort of like VandeVelde's 2002 Heir Apparent series. Since that is falling to bits, I should get this as a replacement and weed that. Fiction involving video/computer games can date fairly quickly. Fun story, and my hard core fantasy fans will love it.
Weaknesses: The love interests, combined with the time travel, made this a little confusing and slow in the middle for me, but I think my students won't feel that way.
What I really think: I like this author's Gamer Girl (which I've had for almost ten years!), and she clearly has some gaming chops. I'd love to see her write a book about students and video games only in the modern world. I'll buy this one, but it will circulate primarily to students who love Arthurian legends and fantasy.

Side note: Heir Apparent has a book BEFORE it-- the 1991 User Unfriendly, which I never had in the library. I do have the 2012 Deadly Pink, which has only gone out seven times in as many years. I've been finding it hard to weed this year, but I think these two books are an easy removal for me!

1 comment:

  1. We have a lot of Vande Velde's books in our system, going as far back as User Unfriendly. In fact, we have 47 of her books but about two-thirds of them are ebooks.