When Merlin, suffering from a case of severe amnesia, discovers his strange powers, he becomes determined to discover his identity and flees to Fincayra where he fulfills his destiny, saving Fincayra from certain destruction and claiming his birthright and true name. (goodreads.com)
The plot of the book is pretty simple, but still entertaining. I thought this was a great book, and a good beginning for the entire series. There isn’t a terrible amount of violence or bad language, and it has a lot of similarities to Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series. I actually like the similarities between the two different series, although I am sure Barron could have thought of something else. However, it doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people.
T.A Barron’s descriptions are what really make this a fantastic read. It is not overly detailed like some fantasy novels. He provides enough detail to create a vivid picture of your surroundings, but still leaves something up to the imagination. I like how he describes the trees with their colorful, oddly shaped fruit, and then later gives you quite the opposite by describing the dark, blackened, scarce forests as Emrys gets closer to his destination. Gives you a real overwhelming feeling of doom. I noticed this because Barron spends a lot of time around the subject of trees.
Although it is a little slow at times, I still found it interesting because I liked the characters, especially Shim, who is a tiny giant, and Trouble, who is a Merlin. Rhia is a pretty interesting character too, though I prefer Shim and Trouble. I also liked that we get to meet Merlin as a young boy instead of a great, powerful, old wizard. It is entertaining to see him being afraid to use his abilities and learning about the history behind his powers. I believe the characters are pretty well developed, especially for the first novel of a series. Though I am not at the point where they become real people for me.
Merlin: The Book of Magic is an awesome companion to the series! It provides information about the characters and places, as well as the creatures and some magical terms found in the series. This book is written for younger audiences, so if you don’t like simple, easy to follow plots, with a few unoriginal aspects, then this series probably isn’t for you. I really like that this book, even though it is a part of a series it can easily stand alone. I would recommend this book to anyone eight and older or those who love fantasy. It would be a great book to read with your children!
My Rating: 4.5/5 stars!
Author’s Website lists all the books in the series and other information
Video Interview discusses author’s inspiration for the series
My other reviews in this series:
BBC’s Merlin Review (anrisaryn.wordpress.com)
Merlin, Harry Potter or Camelot? (moremerlinsweden.wordpress.com)
The Young Merlin Trilogy – By Jane Yolen (homeschoolhorsegirl.wordpress.com)
*photo provided by goodreads.com