Review: The Camelot Code by Mari Mancusi

The Camelot CodePublished: April 16, 2014 by NLA Digital LLC
Format: e-ARC
Pages: 295

All fourteen-year-old gamer girl Sophie Sawyer wants to do is defeat Morgan le Fay in her favorite Arthurian videogame.  She has no idea the secret code sent via text message is actually a magical spell that will send her back in time to meet up with a real life King Arthur instead.

Of course, Arthur’s not king yet – he hasn’t pulled the sword from the stone – and he has no idea of his illustrious destiny.  And when a twist of fate sends him forward in time – to modern-day high school – history is suddenly in jeopardy.  Even more so when Arthur Googles himself and realizes what lies in store for him if he returns to his own time – and decides he’d rather try out for the football team instead.

Now Sophie and her best friend Stuart find themselves in a race against time – forced to use their 21st century wits to keep history on track, battle a real-life version of their favorite videogame villain, and get the once and future king back where he belongs.  Or the world, as they know it, may no longer exist.

I worked toward a medieval studies minor in college, so I’m fairly familiar with the story of King Arthur, though I haven’t read those stories in quite some time. That said, The Camelot Code was a nice trip back into that world, and gave me a bit of a refresher on the legend, too.

I thought this was a fun novel, though I’m not sure I would personally describe it as YA – it read more like a middle grade novel to me – but I still enjoyed the story quite a bit. It was humorous in parts, and ridiculous in others, but not in a bad way. It also has a pretty large cast of characters, and while some of them could be a bit stereotypical, some of them also broke away from those stereotypes fairly cleanly, and I liked that. It was amusing in the right parts, and I enjoyed the MMO aspect, though I think several of the terms might go over the head of someone who wasn’t familiar with them, since the terms weren’t really explained that I can recall.

The dialogue felt a bit stilted at times, but over the course of the book, it improved. I did find a few things a bit awkward – I thought the culture shock for both characters from the past and from the present would be a bit more pronounced, and they all seemed to get over it fairly quickly, and I also found it a bit odd that everyone just assumed that because Arthur and Guinevere were from England, they wouldn’t really be acquainted with a lot of modern things. That was definitely strange and not very realistic, haha, but those issues aside, there was a lot to have fun with here. The nod to Medieval Times definitely made me smile, having been there a few times myself, once fairly recently.

Overall this was a pretty fun book, and while it read a bit younger than I was expecting and I had a few issues with how things were handled, it was an enjoyable read, especially for someone familiar with the legends of King Arthur. I didn’t realize it wasn’t the first in its series, so I might check that out at some point!

I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Review: 3 out of 5 stars

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