Book Review: The Millennial Sword by Shannon Philips

The Millennial SwordMy rating: 3 of 5 stars

The Millennial Sword is an Arthurian tale set in modern day San Francisco. It follows the exploits of Viveka Jansen, a PR accounts junior and the newest Lady of the Lake. Her adventures begin when she is given a sword by an old hippy lady and informed that it is Excalibur. Most Arthurian tales, the hero has only to contend with trolls, sorcerers and dragons, and their derivatives, but Viveka has another layer of challenges to master; namely finding a decent but inexpensive flat in a new city, turn up to work everyday looking presentable, negotiate the usual office politics and try and have a social life.

The story is well-written with an almost whimsical style and it is clear that Philips has done her research without info-dumping or the story reading like an interesting history lesson. The lead character is likable in that she feels compelled to her duty by her employer, her colleagues and the mantle of the Lady of the Lake, but selfish enough to make her more human and interesting. The dialogue reads smoothly enough and the other characters fit “the office” stereotypes, except for Viveka’s geeky sidekick who is also into reenactments and therefore doubles as her guide in the world of faerie and sword instructor.

The book cover is a slight let down and would have done better if it had featured the duality of Viveka’s reality rather than trying to resonate with the more familiar image of a maiden submerged in water.

Overall, the book is a decent read, with a few interesting characters and unusual dilemmas and would appeal to young people who enjoyed reading the Percy Jackson books, or mature readers of Harry Potter.

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