Carry On meets Arthurian legend in this funny, subversive young adult fantasy about what happens after the chosen one wins the kingdom and has to get married to keep it…and to stay alive.
Arek hadn’t thought much about what would happen after he completed the prophecy that said he was destined to save the Kingdom of Ere from its evil ruler. So now that he’s finally managed to (somewhat clumsily) behead the evil king (turns out magical swords yanked from bogs don’t come pre-sharpened), he and his rag-tag group of quest companions are at a bit of a loss for what to do next.
As a temporary safeguard, Arek’s best friend and mage, Matt, convinces him to assume the throne until the true heir can be rescued from her tower. Except that she’s dead. Now Arek is stuck as king, a role that comes with a magical catch: choose a spouse by your eighteenth birthday, or wither away into nothing.
With his eighteenth birthday only three months away, and only Matt in on the secret, Arek embarks on a desperate bid to find a spouse to save his life—starting with his quest companions. But his attempts at wooing his friends go painfully and hilariously wrong…until he discovers that love might have been in front of him all along.
I adored Rainbow Rowell’s Carry On, and I’ve been a fan of Arthurian legend since childhood so it was a no-brainer to request this book.
Arek, Matt, and the rest of their quest companions are loveable, quirky, and hilarious, but trust me when I say it’s a miracle they removed the Vile One from the throne. They’re not exactly a strategic bunch, but do share a strong found family bond. After finishing a heavy dark fantasy, this novel was a delight to read, and I snickered and laughed from beginning to end.
After Arek finds himself bound by magic to the throne of Ere in the realm of Chickpea, he learns he must marry (create a soul bond) before his eighteenth birthday – only three months away – or he dies. Figuring he’d rather entwine his soul with someone he knows rather than a stranger, he begins very awkward attempts at wooing his friends. It’s clear to their friends that Arek and Matt, BFFs since childhood, are in love with each other but both are completely oblivious to that fact. Throughout the story they teeter on the edge of revealing their true feelings for each other, but are either misunderstood, petrified, or interrupted every time. It’s both painful and highly amusing to watch.
If you’re looking for a light-hearted, feel-good, comedic read, look no further. I enjoyed every minute of this book, and although it seems to be a standalone, I’d love to see what happens next with these characters. Surely there’s another prophecy in store for them.
I received a complimentary copy of this book from the publisher through NetGalley. Opinions expressed in this review are completely my own.