“The strengths of Willett’s series really shine in these two recent books. Throughout both, the plot moves with enthralling velocity as Willett heightens the tension for Ariane and Wally. Not only does the race for the shards of Excalibur build momentum, but the challenges Ariane and Wally encounter from family, friends and enemies consistently deepen their characters and force them to grow in significant ways.
“Moreover, Willett provides a wonderfully evocative sense of place. From Regina, Saskatchewan, to Lyon, France, to Queenstown, New Zealand, and the rivers and lakes and clouds through which Ariane and Wally travel, Willett crafts immersive locations that lend genuine vigour to the story…
“At the heart of these two novels, however, is the evolving relationship between Ariane and Wally. In a world of absent parents…they must rely upon themselves and upon each other. They must learn to trust each other, for they are being changed by their contact with and use of old magic steeped in old conflicts, desires and mysteries — all of which become particularly vital in Lake in the Clouds. How Ariane and Wally deal with such changes, and with the increasing responsibilities of their quest, makes them truly admirable characters.
“Willett’s The Shards of Excalibur series…gives fresh life to the Arthurian legends, and there is, indeed, much to look forward to in the next two instalments.” – Matthew Johnstone, Canadian Children’s Book News
“Well written, and fast moving, with touches of humour, The Lake in the Clouds will appeal to young readers who enjoy adventure as well as adults who might like a modern visit to the timeless story of King Arthur and his knights. Recommended.” – Ronald Hore, CM Magazine
“The overlay of the Arthurian legend on a modern Canadian context works surprisingly well. Merlin’s magical powers are invested in Rex Major’s spyware embedded in the internet. Wally’s loyalty and courage accurately reflect both Arthur’s strength and his fatal flaw. Ariane’s coolly calculated actions echo the dispassionate deeds of the Lady of the Lake . . . Readers who are invested in the series will eagerly anticipate the final two books.” – Patricia Jeremy, Resource Links Magazine
“By continuing to develop his characters so that they never remain good or evil or secondary, Edward Willett has ensured that the plot doesn’t stagnate…With Ariane and Wally both being affected by the shards and learning of new abilities, as well as other characters being drawn into the story in different ways, The Lake in the Clouds becomes a fuller story. The plot itself continues to evolve and the adventure is grand…The journeys are part of the quest but hold on because your travelling companions are switching places and your next seat mates may be a surprise in Cave Beneath the Sea…” – CanLit for Little Canadians