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text 2016-11-23 04:54
The Crystal Cave – Section 2: The Falcon
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

The Crystal Cave Section 2 – The Falcon covers the adolescence of Myrddin Emrys.  His years from 12 to 18 were spent in Less Britain (aka Brittany) in the household of the exiled Ambrosius

who it is revealed is his father

(spoiler show)

This section is again mostly stage setting, though there are a few memorable visions, most notably the vision of Ambrosius slaying the white bull and those following the encounter with human sacrifice at the hands of arch-druid Belasius.  

 

 My reading experience improved after I summoned a copy of the book from the library with larger type than the paperback I started with. I can see how the allusions to pre-Christian religions would have titillated the teenage me during my first reading, but as a more mature reader I’m finding The Crystal Cave somehow flat.  Not sure how much of that is the book and how much is from my emotional state following the US election.  

 

My gut sense is that the original schedule would have had us finishing The Crystal Cave this week.  I’m unlikely to do so, as I’ve been alternating sections of The Crystal Cave with several other reads, but will keep going even if the buddy read has officially moved on to Volume 2.

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text 2016-11-20 16:54
Reading progress update: I've read 340 out of 928 pages.
Merlin Trilogy - Mary Stewart
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart
The Hollow Hills - Mary Stewart

 

(Page numbers are for the omnibus edition.)

 

Well, I finished The Crystal Cave (a while ago in fact) and have now moved on to The Hollow Hills, which picks up right where the first book of the trilogy ends.  Merlin is still rather unlike the wise old wizard as whom I'd so far seen him and is becoming ever closer to what I'd so far imagined young Arthur to have been ... but I'm still enjoying the read as such.

 

For those who care, I thought I'd share a couple of photos from the location of the final chapters of The Crystal Cave and the first chapters of The Hollow Hills, Tintagel, where legend has it that King Arthur was conceived ... or, well, photos of what's left of the Tintagel castle ruins (which incidentally date from the 12th, not from the 6th century), as well as the paths that Merlin and Uther would have had to climb, first down to the beach and then back up along the face of the cliff, to get to the castle high up on the promontory:

 




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text 2016-11-16 03:34
The Crystal Cave Read-Along | Week Two Update
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

The Crystal Cave
by Mary Stewart
Book 1 of Arthurian Saga (a.k.a. Merlin trilogy)

 

This series is being read as part of a Buddy Read @ BookLikes, to be read over approximately three weeks.

 



I got a lot of reading done this week, but since I got a late start on The Crystal Cave last week, I'm still a little behind in the tentative scheduling, so I'm just going to have to make my own schedule.  Anyway, it seems that much has been happening, and each section of The Crystal Cave almost feels like a new story unfolding.

A new chapter in Merlin's life, maybe?

 

 



Book II: The Falcon -- Completed
Progress on 11/10/16:  232 of 519 pages (45%)

"This is a strange meeting, Merlin.  So much to say, and yet so little.  Do you see now why I asked so many questions?  Why I tried so hard to find what had brought you here?

"The gods at work, my lord, the brought me here," I said.

-- Page 223


I'm starting to get a sense that everything that's happening is very much a work of fate.  Or the gods, I suppose.  There is a lot of destiny at work here, and yet, at the same time it feels really deliberate in the story line's set up.  Was it deliberate?  Or are we trying too hard to give Merlin a magical presence?  Except that I feel like it's doing the opposite and making me question everything that's going on around Merlin.

Because how is it that one moment he's still a child, and then the next he can see everything that will happen without actually seeing?  It's more like knowing.  His Sight seems a little flighty, really.

And then, on top of that, we've got family secrets being revealed and all that jazz going on here.  All of the events that lead up to Merlin's current position, at this point in the book, feels too coincidental to be realistic.  His travels were not random at all, and again, he seems to have an on-again-off-again Sight that is telling him where he needs to be, how he needs to act, and what he needs to say.

I suppose with the gods being at work, this is entirely believable...

 

 



Book III: The Wolf -- In Progress
Progress on 11/14/16:  310 of 519 pages (60%) 

This third section of The Crystal Cave is actually getting quite exciting, and I attribute that to the fact that there's more action.  Merlin hasn't changed much from his childhood, and to be honest, I'm detecting no difference between twelve-year old Merlin to his transition to seventeen-year-old Merlin.  The voices are the same and the penchant for being omnipotent is also the same.

But there is a lot more going on in the world around him now that even if nothing about the boy stands out, at least the rest of the story in the background with war on the horizon is kind of interesting.  But to be honest, I often find politics and war strategy a bit boring, depending on how it's presented.  In this case, it's not capturing my attention all that well.

The new developments in Merlin's adventure are still quite intriguing though, and his return to his homeland is a nice new story spin.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-crystal-cave-read-along-week-two.html
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text 2016-11-09 06:33
The Crystal Cave Read-Along | Week One Update
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart

Book 1 of The Arthurian Saga (a.k.a. Merlin trilogy)

 

This series is being read as part of a Buddy Read @ BookLikes, to be read over approximately three weeks.

 

 


 

I'm a little behind in the read-along, but it looks like everyone else is sort of at the same point I'm at, so I'm not too concerned.  Life has been a bit chaotic and distractions aplenty (both books and other).  I'm hoping that with my weekend off coming up, I'll be able to get more of The Crystal Cave read, to a point where I don't feel guilty veering off onto another book for a couple days.

Anyway...

I've decided to do a weekly update for this book, and each update will be broken down into each section of the book.  Mainly because, so far, I've had little to say about it and haven't really come up with anything significant or productive to share.

The Crystal Cave is well written and is proving an interesting, yet slow-paced adventure that is a little focused on set-up right now.  I'm enjoying it, but it's still very easy for me to set it down and end up falling into a cozy mystery instead.

 



Book I: The Dove -- Completed
Progress on 11/05/16:  118 of 519 pages (23%)

To be honest, it took a little bit of time to get into this book because I might have gotten a little lost.  But even so, I'm finding myself enjoying it, though I remain still slightly confused about all the events playing out.  There are a lot of names and places and relationship connections that might have gotten a little muddled in my mind.

And at times, I swear, I forget that Merlin is only a twelve year old boy at this time--he sounds, literally, wiser than his years, which I assume is deliberate.  Of course, I suppose that with everything he's been going through, and how he's been treated while growing up, you kind of have to be a bit ahead of everyone else to survive.

While the beginning of the book seemed to build up in a rather slow pace, by the time we reach the end of Book I, things seemed to have escalated very quickly.  And now young Merlin is off on his official adventure, I assume.

Up to this point, it all just feels like world-building, which I appreciate, but at the same time, doesn't bode well for my blogging since I don't really have anything productive to say about it.

 



Book II: The Falcon -- In Progress
Progress on 11/08/16:  143 of 519 pages (28%) 

Okay, it took a little bit of thought to realize that twelve-year-old Merlin sounds wise beyond his years, because the story is sounding more like an account of Merlin's life by his older, and wiser self.  I think there's a sentence that even intuits that older and wiser Merlin is penning what he remembers of his childhood.

Except that, having noted that twelve-year-old Merlin sounds more mature than one would expect a child to sound, there are times where I have a hard time connecting the twelve-year-old child to the old wizard we all know as Merlin.  I know it sounds like I'm contradicting myself, but I truly am seeing two different sides of this kid: on the one hand, he sounds older; on the other hand, he really DOES come off as just a kid.

Anyway, the adventure starts now and I'm feeling really excited about it.  It gives me impressions of some young children's fantasy adventure I might have read a long time ago.  We've got a catalyst for Merlin to travel aimlessly, we've got sticky situations, and now we've got some significant scenarios to continue propelling young Merlin's journey to his fated destiny.

I'm only four chapters into the second section, so the action so far still feels like world-building, but at least there are some potential significant events happening.

Again, I'm finding I don't really have much of significance to say about what I've read so far, though hopefully I will by the time week two of the read-along is over.  It's taking a while to get into this book, but I'm still really drawn to it.

 

 

Source: anicheungbookabyss.blogspot.com/2016/11/the-crystal-cave-read-along-week-one.html
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text 2016-11-09 02:22
The Crystal Cave -
The Crystal Cave - Mary Stewart

Mary Stewart’s trilogy about Merlin was my second exposure to the Arthurian Cycle, the first being John Steinbeck’s The Acts of King Arthur and His Noble Knights. I remember reading The Crystal Cave, The Hollow Hills, and The Last Enchantment several times (and based on the original publication date probably also read The Wicked Day shortly after it was released).  I haven’t re-read any of them since my days as a teen bibliomaniac, and the details have faded other than the memory that I found them revelatory when I first discovered them.

 

Since this is a group read, I thought it might be fun to post after each section though I’m finding myself with not much insightful to say.

 

The Crystal Cave – Section 1: The Dove

 

The section entitled The Dove briefly dips into Merlin’s childhood.  While there are a few moments of prophetic vision, the magic of the story hasn’t yet grabbed me.  

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