logo
Wrong email address or username
Wrong email address or username
Incorrect verification code
back to top
Search tags: Merlin
Load new posts () and activity
Like Reblog Comment
review 2016-12-21 00:00
Chasing Merlin
Chasing Merlin - Sarah White

What a great book! I loved it and Dyllan. I wish I could meet her in real life because we could get along so famously. :) I didn't care for Emrys, but I loved his opinions on various takes of the Merlin legend. He thinks the BBC Merlin series got it wrong, but if so, I am glad they did. Their take on Gwen and Lancelot is so much better, and I love Merlin. Fun to see a mention of such a marvelous series.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-30 10:11
The Fire of Merlin (The Return to Camelot #2) by Donna Hosie
The Fire of Merlin - Donna Hosie
The Fire of Merlin starts where Searching For Arthur finished. Natasha is racing towards Bedivere, her world once again in its rightful place now that he is back in time! Of course, in time in this phrase means quite literally that, as he has moved through from his time to hers. So we start off quite humorously as the Knights of the Round Table try to fit in with modern life. We also get another glimpse of Natasha's home life, which isn't so good. Before too long, we are heading back into the past, to fight for the future. 
 
This book is once again extremely well written, with comments and snarks completely in keeping with a 17-year-old, and her relationship with her older brother. The made up insults with Guenivere had me laughing out loud, whilst other parts of it had me welling up. Natasha doesn't have an easy ride of it again, but she is strong and resilient, and is determined to fight for those she loves. 
 
With a smooth and flowing pace, the plot is never confused about where it is going or which time it is in, which makes for excellent reading. There were no editing or grammatical errors to disrupt the reading flow. A wonderful addition to the series, and highly recommended by me.
 
*Verified Purchase on Amazon - June 2016*
 
Merissa
Archaeolibrarian - I Dig Good Books!
Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-20 16:37
The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
The Crystal Cave (Merlin, #1) - Mary Stewart

Series: Arthurian Saga #1

 

Completely unmemorable.

 

The old man telling the child and then the young man’s story sounded stale to me. Merlin seemed to be more of a sock puppet than a person. I didn’t really care about anyone in the story, and most of the dialogue rang false, somehow.

 

The prose was so unmemorable that I’d pick up the book where I’d left off the night before and be completely unable to find my place because nothing sounded familiar (specifically in Book IV). I generally have a much better memory than that, so there was something about Stewart’s words that just wouldn’t stick in my head. In fact, it happened frequently that I’d discover that although I’d read every word in the preceding paragraphs, I couldn’t remember what they’d said. I don’t know why, but the book couldn’t hold my attention. The threads just slipped away.

 

I don’t blame my 8-year-old self for giving up even after passing the halfway point. The book adds nothing as an interpretation of the legend, or at least nothing interesting. My rating reflects the fact that the book completely failed to engage my interest and attention. Others evidently had different experiences.

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-07 22:50
Reading progress update: I've read 249 out of 928 pages.
Merlin Trilogy - Mary Stewart
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

 

(Note: the page number is for the trilogy's omnibus edition, which is the book I'm actually reading.)

 

"Thanks" to having contracted some sort of cold or flu bug and having been out of commission for pretty much all other purposes over the weekend, I've progressed fairly well with this book -- well there has to be at least one upside to fever, perpetually running nose and clinging headache, I suppose.

 

Anyway, I'm enjoying this enormously, and I'm so glad I joined this buddy read, so a big thank you to Moonlight Reader for setting this up!

 

I confess I'm not, or perhaps just "not yet" reading Merlin as the same person as the old wizard known from most other incarnations of the Arthurian saga, though.  It actually struck me, especially in Part 1, how similar this trilogy's young Merlin is to the young Arthur of some of the other narratives -- a misfit and a loner, the kid that nobody really knows where and how to place him, entirely too bright for his own good, and intensely interested in books and learning (even though that doesn't mean he wants to be shut up behind the walls of a monastery),

 

And in Parts 3 and 4 we're now getting the one thing that I sorely miss in accounts like T.H. White's Once and Future King, great series though that is in all other respects ... a glimpse of our hero's coming of age and (with apologies to James Joyce) a Portrait Our Hero as a Young Man.  So, yey for that, too!  The magic stuff starts when he's still a boy, but he's learning more about his own magical powers as we go along now, too, as well as how to deal with other people's expectations of him (well, that's bound to happen, I suppose, especially looking at Stewart's source material and the story -- or throw-away line -- that she herself says inspired the whole trilogy).

 

A great read so far, in any event; here's hoping it's going to continue this way!

 

I'm reading this book both for the Merlin Trilogy Buddy Read and for The Twelf Tasks of the Festive Season (Task the Twelfth: The Wassail Bowl).

 

Merken

Like Reblog Comment
show activity (+)
review 2016-11-03 20:45
The Dragon Queen
The Dragon Queen - Alice Borchardt

This novel, by the late and sorely missed Alice Borchardt, is the fantasy version of the legend of Guenevere (here Guinevere, Gwynaver and Guynifar). ("You must understand, my name was not written down. Those who say and sometimes write it use what form they care to. So the spellings sometimes differ greatly. So much that it might seem as though I had many different names; but in reality, I still have only one. And, like all true names, it was a word of power.") The book is filled to overflowing with the magic and mystery one has come to expect of Alice Borchardt including, of course, shape-shifting: Maeniel ("The Wolf King") plays an important role in Guenevere's upbringing, is indeed the father-figure.

In this version of the story, Merlin and Igrane [sic] are lovers. They are also sorcerers, and the villains of the piece: young Arthur is being reared by them, a virtual prisoner and destined to rule in name only as their puppet. This long-term plan of Merlin's was supposed to include Guenevere; she would also have been brought up by them, then married Arthur (this marriage has been foretold far and wide) and become a puppet queen. However, she was rescued as a baby by Dugald, a druid, and Maeniel, the werewolf. Now, as a pert teenager (everyone calls her "pert", and she is!) she faces a series of superhuman tasks, the accomplishment of which will prove that she is the hero destined to both occupy the dragon throne of the Painted People and rescue the Fisher King (Arthur) from an Otherworld. (Another world? There seem to be several.)

Guen, then, is of the Painted People, the Picts: no new idea (for a full discussion of this possibility, indeed probability, see Norma Lorre Goodrich's "Guinevere"), but here in "The Dragon Queen" the Picts are made flesh.

"The Painted People are great artists. I cannot think they will be appreciated as the Greeks and Romans are, for they work in ephemeral materials, cloth and wood, not stone. Their silver and gold work is magnificent, and some of that may survive. They all seem to be warriors, even the women [...] The bull, boar, snake, wolf, salmon, dragon, and the patterns of each dance, the colours of the wind and sea, were all met in their clothing. The designs picked out on their skins in blue, green, red, gray and gold."

These are the people to whom Guen comes after a great fight, with the head of her enemy in her hand: "With my cracked ribs searing, I ran up the nearest housepost, using the carvings to climb. I should be ashamed, I thought. The armor set off my bare body the way an enameled setting displays a rare jewel. Even the blood streaming from the gashes Merlin's champion inflicted were part of the grim beauty of my flesh. I knew the eyes of every man, and not a few of the women, were fixed on me, and that fear alone hadn't saved my life."

Now she must lead them against the Saxons: "We all knew what they were after - women, ivory, walrus, sealskins, wool. Pictish wool is the best in the world. But above all, slaves. The eastern countries had an insatiable appetite for them, and a beautiful girl would bring a dozen pounds of gold on the block in Constantinople, especially if she were blond. As the woman in Igrane's hall had suggested, the slave trade was booming."

Meanwhile, Arthur (having met Guen and witnessed a clash between her and Igrane where Igrane came off worst) has also rebelled and in consequence been consigned by Merlin to another Otherworld, where he finds that the test is simply to stay alive: in order to do so, he takes the shape of first a salmon (shades of T.H. White!), but as a salmon faces death every instant. Then a snake, which he finds more "wholly other" than the salmon. And finally a young female eagle, a creature "capable of both love and loyalty".

My only problem with this wonderful book is the continuous switching of viewpoint. In the opening chapters it is truly confusing and quite off-putting. Then it settles down, and the reader becomes used to the First Person Guen as opposed to the Third Person of alternating chapters, which is more and more usually Arthur. But by this time there is no confusion, we know all the characters, we know what is happening; now the problem is that we are (or at least I was) far more interested in what was happening to Guen, and each cliffhanger meant a chapter with boring Arthur till I could find out what happened to her next. However, when Arthur becomes a salmon, things improve, and even I forgot poor Guen for a moment.

A thing that needs saying always about Historical Fantasy is that the fantasy should be real fantasy, in the sense that it is what people believed, that it is in accordance with the mindset of the people of the time. To them the notion of space-travel would have been fantasy.

In this book, the fantasy is always real; scrupulously so.

More posts
Your Dashboard view:
Need help?