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Review: Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur by Tony Lee and Sam Hart

in a sentence or so: Albion is at war and Arthur knows he is destined to unite the land. the problem is, there are many who stand in his way - purposefully or unintentionally.

Uther Pendragon makes a deal with the fae of the Unseelie Court that results in the kidnapping of Arthur (for his own safety) and the abduction of Morgana (not for her own safety). Albion is in turmoil as they wait for the once and future king to return and rescue them from craptastic King Ulrich. just when Arthur starts to believe that Merlin was in fact lying about his destiny, that wily wizard pops up and facilitates a showdown between Arthur and Ulrich. winner takes Albion, loser takes death.

i am a huge Arthurian legend geek. i'm pretty sure it started with watching The Sword and the Stone when i was a wee one (i wanted my very own Archimedes SO bad), but whatever the roots - i'm a die-hard. i love reading about the legend of King Arthur and his knights and Camelot and Albion and all that jazz, so i was pretty stoked to get this graphic novel retelling of the story.

i did not expect for there to be so much mention of Avalon, the Seelie and Unseelie courts (light fairies and dark fairies), and the back story of why Morgana is such a nut. however, i was pleasantly surprised to read and see the background of the boy who becomes King.  the bulk of the book focused on leading up to Arthur's death, with very little spent on his time in Camelot. and honestly, i liked that a lot. i felt like i knew enough about the Camelot days (and obviously wouldn't mind reading about them again), so reading and experiencing some of the coming-of-age lore was super fun.

the imagery was a perfect compliment to the story.  i loved the tonal shifts - purple at dusk, orange at daybreak, vivid contrast in Avalon.  you get your basics - Lancelot/Guinevere, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, The Lady of the Lake, Merlin, Mordred, etc...but to have it delivered to you with intentionally bare-bones dialog and heavy imagery is quite a treat.  the images helped me slow down while reading and absorb the emotions that were developing within the plot. if you're looking for a new way to experience the Arthurian legend, give this a shot.

fix er up: everything ended up a bit too saccharin for my liking. i wanted more death! and revenge! etc!

title: Excalibur: The Legend of King Arthur
author: Tony Lee
illustrator: Sam Hart
genre: Fantasy, Graphic Novel
publisher: Candlewick Press
drop date: March 8, 2011

[ftc notice: i received a copy of this book for review from Candlewick Press, but not for compensation or anything.]

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. hmm...why must all women in arthur's life cause strife?

  2. i blame uther for the morgana debacle, honestly.

    and lancelot + guinevere totes share the blame.

    it ain't easy being the once and future king.

  3. Thought you might be interested to see my King Arthur's Summer Solstice at Stonehenge machinima film in which the returned King Arthur narrates his own poems for this film
    Bright Blessings, elf ~


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