January 2, 2022

ARC REVIEW: Tess Pendragon and the Wand of Avalon by K.R. Matthews

Tess Pendragon & the Wand of Avalon by K.R. Matthews
Rating: 3 Stars
Release Date: September 14, 2021
Format: eARC
Publisher: Greater Path LLC

Tess Pendragon and the Wand of Avalon by KR Matthews is a delightful children’s retelling of the legend of Arthur Pendragon and the wizard Merlin. It’s a little slow to get into the action, but once it does it’s a very engaging and fun read. I’m a huge fan of stories about Arthur and Merlin so I was very excited after reading the blurb. The fact that the story features a female lead character was like the cherry on top of an ice cream sundae.

The magic and the worldbuilding of the story were quirky and fun. I loved seeing all sorts of creatures like trolls and goblins and pegasus. The dynamic of how the magic works and the wands were innovative and cool too. And, of course, dragons always make a story better. In addition to the fantastical elements and the references to Arthurian legend, I appreciated how the author touched on issues like belonging and class disparity.

Unfortunately, I struggled to connect to the characters in the book. It completely makes sense that with Tess’ age, she would gravitate toward asking adults and those who are more experienced for help. However, with her heritage, I would have loved to see her take more initiative and demonstrate more leadership qualities. A quest featuring those her age (akin to Percy Jackson) would have been more exciting than Tess traveling with adults. I was intrigued by Tess’ connection with the antagonist of the story, but again I was more connected to the story aspect of it than the characters themselves.

Overall, the book is a quick adventure-filled read. I would compare it to series like Harry Potter and the Chronicles of Narnia. I would recommend the book to those looking for a new middle-grade fantasy. The plot might be a bit hectic for older readers, but younger readers should enjoy it with little to no issue. For those who have Kindle Unlimited, this book was available to members at the time this review was written (January 2022).

Thank you to the author, NetGalley, and the publisher Greater Path LLC for allowing me to read an early copy of the book! I appreciate the opportunity immensely. Please note - I voluntarily read and reviewed Tess Pendragon and the Wand of Avalon. All opinions are my own and not influenced in any way.

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