It's a pleasure to be hosting today's blog tour stop for 'Legendarium'; the spectacular blockbuster sequel to 2020's 'Wonderscape' (my review of that book here). My full review follows and if you click on the link I'm also hosting a Q&A with author Jennifer Bell too.
Play the game. Brave the legend.
Arthur, Ren and Cecily are stuck in Legendarium in the year 2493, where the secretative villain Deadlock has discovered dangerous time-travel technology. To save the universe, the friends must enter the deadly Irontide Tournament, where legends are real and one wrong move could cost them their lives...
'Legendarium' is pure adrenaline-fuelled, cinematic entertainment, upping the ante in terms of action, world-building and intrigue from its predecessor. Like an immersive video-game, the story is tense with peril and a ticking clock, while never taking itself too seriously - there's lots of humour and fun to be had along the way!
The concept of a world where legends exist in an 'I-RAG' real-life video-game world is great and will delight children, and it's perhaps more consistently realised than the world of Wonderscape. It's surprising and refreshing that Jennifer Bell has also included legends that aren't obvious but are fascinating and fun nonetheless, such as with the legendary lost oasis of Zerzura and the discoverer of coffee! I was expecting someone like King Arthur to show up - he does but only because a toasted sandwich is named in his honour. There's a lot of playfulness in the world-building and Jennifer Bell's imagination has no bounds. On top of this, the story itself is propulsive, as Arthur and his friends must locate the only existing time-key to get back home by playing in the Irontide Tournament. There's something of 'The Hunger Games' about it as the tournament is broadcast live in 2493, hosted by the mysterious Lazarus Sloane. All of this adds further weight to the adventure. Expect twists and turns - many characters are not what they seem.
While the action and world-building is first-rate, Jennifer Bell also succeeds in bringing to life the flesh, blood and heart of Arthur, Ren and Cecily. They learn a lot themselves through the tournament and it's touching how they realise that they are legends too in their own way.
This is a tour-de-force sequel and one I enjoyed immensely. I'm looking forward to the third book. Will it be called something like 'Mythopoeia?'
Thank you to Walker Books for my copy to review and for including me on the blog tour.