An issue that I came across whilst writing up my notes for this book review was identifying the correct year in which this book was published. Online the publication date varies between 2005-2007 and the copy of the book which I own also stated that the novel was first published in 2006, whilst the edition itself was published in 2007. The novel itself was written by Meg Cabot and whilst it is a stand alone novel, a trilogy of manga comics act as continuation of the story. The 280 paged novel follows teenager Ellie Harrison as she enrolls at Avalon High where she discovers that the legends surrounding the Once and Future King, Arthur Pendragon, may not be just a myth but true and that she is to play a crucial roll in this modern day tale of the reincarnated figures that define medieval mythology.
The novel is written using a 1st person narrative which presents the events which occur throughout the story to the reader from Ellie Harrison’s point of view. The first chapter works well in establishing the Ellie as the main character and making clear her love for water which cleverly plays into the blog later on in the story. The chapter also introduces us to Ellie’s parents who are academics ironically obsessed with medieval history and in particular the Arthurian legends. It is due to them that Ellie is forced to move continuously throughout her life which leads her to Avalon High’s doors. Whilst the first chapter itself is somewhat slow and merely acts as an introductory chapter, it concludes with a cliff hanger which makes the reader which to continue in order to find out more.
Good thing my legs were so strong. If someone did jump out at me from the trees, I was pretty confident that I could deliver a good kick to his head. And keep stomping on him until help came.
It was right as I was thinking this that I saw him.
– Avalon High by Meg Cabot; Chapter 1, Page 15.
One of the clever things which Meg Cabot also incorporates into this fictional piece is some facts, such as the clever play on the characters names which link to their ‘true Arthurian identity, as well as the similarities between this modern day tale and the legends of King Arthur’s time. The plot itself takes a while to finally reach its climax, however as it nears there are many tense moments in which the reader may be holding their breath and whether they are a fan of the Arthurian legends or not, they may find some outcomes of the situations which arise within the novel surprising.
The ending of the novel itself is highly satisfying to read after the steady build of both tension and anticipation and is open for continuation which, as stated at the beginning of this review, takes its form in the three part manga series.
This novel is intended for Young Adult readers, however, I feel that depending on which types of novels you enjoy reading then it is a book suitable for anyone. Of course, if you have an interest in the Arthurian legends as I do this book will be one which you will enjoy reading far more than if you were not. However, that does not mean that you are forbidden to give it a try! For the reasons stated above, I recommend this book to anyone.
Here’s a few of my favourite parts:
Favourite Chapter: Chapters 13-15: These are my favourite chapters as they all contain what is one of my favourite moments within the book in which Ellie and her friends are on board Will’s boat.
Favourite Character: Marco Campbell
Favourite Quote: “There’s no point now,” he explained. “Once Guinevere leaves him, Arthur is vulnerable to what-ever Mordred has in store for him. We’ve seen it happen time and time again, no matter what we’ve done to try and stop it. Mordred – with the help of the dark side, of course – will rise to power, as he has in so many different incarnations in the past. Think of the most diabolical political leaders in history and you’ll have a good idea what I’m talking about. All of them Mordred. And Arthur will . . . well . . . “.
– Avalon High by Meg Cabot; Chapter 19, Page 199.