Who was Merlin? Was the famed magician of Camelot & King Arthur's court really a sinister, all-powerful being from another world? Was he truly a Prince of Darkness? Or was he a man with the passions of other mortals? A man with unique intelligence & unusual gifts? Why was he so feared? How did he come by his occult powers? Why was the crystal cave so important to him?
5th century Britain is a country of chaos & division after the Roman withdrawal. Born the bastard son of a Welsh princess who will not reveal to her son his father's true identity, Myridden Emrys--or as he would later be known, Merlin--leads a perilous childhood, haunted by portents & visions. But destiny has great plans for this no-man's-son, taking him from prophesying before the High King Vortigern to the crowning of Uther Pendragon & the conception of Arthur--king for once & always. (Summary and cover courtesy of goodreads.com)
This one took me a while to get into, but once I did, I really enjoyed it! I’m typically not a huge fan of Arthurian retellings, but this one was extremely well done. With this perspective, one feels like they can get to know Merlin as a person and the burdons he must have carried having been privy to the future. There are not as many books from Merlin’s perspective (or perhaps I just haven’t gotten into the sub-genre enough) so I found that intriguing. It also is funny to see Merlin’s idea that he is not so much gifted, so much as well-educated and guided.
The one complaint I would have is that the female characters in the book really are pretty depressing. In the context of historical fiction I can forgive it, but in the context of a modern viewpoint I definitely had some head shaking. (Ex: There’s some character’s’ referred to as “Dinia’s slut” etc.)
Warning: Contains sexual content and repeated violence.
Rating: 4 stars!
Who should read it? Fantasy Fans who don't mind think a "light dive" into the Arthurian legend from Merlin's perspective sounds intriguing.
- Want to read the whole series?
- The Hollow Hills (Arthurian Saga #2)
- The Last Enchantment (Arthurian Saga #3)
- The Wicked Day (Arthurian Saga #4)
- The Prince and the Pilgrim (Arthurian Saga #5)