From School Library Journal
Grade 5-8–During a feast to celebrate the beginning of the Grail Quest, Arthur, the knights, and every other adult in Camelot fall under a sleeping spell, and Merlin is nowhere to be found. Three teenagers don't know what to do, so Gerard, the oldest and best-trained squire, decides that he must locate the magician. He is joined on the road by Newt, a stable boy, and Ailis, a maid. They follow a map stolen from Arthur's study, which leads them to a house of ice in which Nimue has imprisoned Merlin as a prank. He charges them with finding three talismans that will release the spell on Camelot and gives them only seven days in which to complete the task. Along the way they must figure out what the talismans are, battle monsters and dragons, and win the ultimate battle against Morgain, who cast the evil spell. The episodic story is largely plot driven, following the standard quest formula. The squire proves himself worthy, the stable boy is a little less rough around the edges, and the maid shows that she's just as smart and tough as the boys. The characters, though fairly one-dimensional, are likable, and readers will be engaged in their struggles. At first readers may be surprised at the contemporary tone of the characters' language and speech patterns, but it does make them seem more real. Gerard Morris's The Squire's Tale series (Houghton) is more substantive and wittier.–Cheri Dobbs, Detroit Country Day Middle School, Beverly Hills, MI
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Gr. 5-8. This first offering of the Grail Quest trilogy introduces three young teens on a mission to save King Arthur's court. On the eve of Arthur's quest for the Holy Grail, a strange sleep falls over the castle, affecting all the adults. Convinced that only Merlin can undo the magic, Gerard, a young squire; Newt, a stable boy; and Ailias, a maidservant with magical powers, set off to locate the wandering enchanter and secure his help in reversing the spell. The main characters are nicely developed. They spar incessantly (many of the story's lighter moments arise from this verbal jousting), and although each teen is convinced that his or her particular training is what's needed to accomplish the task, the three eventually learn they can succeed only by working together. A fine addition to the growing body of Arthurian spin-offs, this will be popular with fantasy lovers and Merlin fans. Suggest books by T. A. Barron or Jane Yolen for starters. Kay WeismanCopyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved