Winter of Magic’s Return – Pamela F. Service

Read for the Once Upon a Time VIII Reading Challenge.

Well here’s an interesting combination – an Arthurian post apocalyptic tale.    And it’s from the 80s, so it predates the current post-apocalyptic YA trend.

The story is set in a boarding school in what used to be called Wales.    It’s about 500 years past a nuclear disaster (oh end of Cold War – I’ve forgotten how much we used to think about this kind of thing…), and the world is much colder than it used to be, due to nuclear winter.     Sea levels have also fallen (increased polar ice caps – nuclear winter again), and there are marauding mutant beings, both human and animal about.

Three of the less popular kids at school – Welly (the chubby one), Heather (the girl), and Earl, who has no memory of who he was before he was found as the only survivor of  a devastating fire, have become friends, united in their unpopular-ness.    One day, a women claiming to be Earl’s aunt arrives, which sets off a chain of events that regains Earl his memory, and the knowledge that this woman is evil.     So they set off on a quest to escape her, and find King Arthur.    (Can you guess who Earl and the woman really are?    If you’re at all familiar with the Arthur legends, you’ll get it immediately.)

This is a serviceable little book, but I admit, the story seems a little lacking.      I think it’s because of the current post-apocalyptic craze – they’ve now gone darker, and more detailed than YA ever considering being in the past, and this older book just isn’t holding up.     Shame really, it’s a cute little book, and it’s happier in tone, which I sometimes wish the current books would try to aim for, at least a little more.

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