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Reviewed by Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
Merlin Ragnarr & The Book of Lies by Ivan Holiday Arsenault is a YA fantasy story. Merlin Ragnarr has finally reached the magical age of sixteen. His gifts include a watch he loves and a magick amulet that, for some reason, won't come off his neck. A sorcerer rescues him from an attack by a Draugr and a Warlock, and his savior tells Merlin he is Thor’s grandson and must go at once to the Seiðrune School of Viking Sorcery in Antarctica. There he meets Frost Blakewell and her twin sister, Raven. Both were conceived of Dark Magick, cursed at birth to love, feel, and die as one. Merlin is torn between getting to grips with his new powers and falling in love. Frost has fallen hard for Merlin, and Raven is trying oh-so-hard not to. As the teens battle their emotions, they must also fight the evil that comes at them from all sides. Can Merlin find some direction in life? Can the curse be broken?
Merlin Ragnarr & The Book of Lies by Ivan Holiday Arsenault is an exciting story and a unique take on the fantasy genre. The novel feels like it should be the start of a series, that there’s far more for Merlin to face after this initial setup. It’s a well-written story, perfectly penned for its target audience, with descriptive prose that places you front and center of all the action, of which there is plenty. The characters are well-developed, relatable in as much as any character from a fantasy story can be, and easy to get to know. It has the perfect mix of good vs. evil: a young Warlock learning his powers, curses, and a bit of romance thrown in for good measure. An action-packed story, Merlin Ragnarr & The Book of Lies was an enjoyable read, and I hope there is more to come.