Tag Archives: Merlin

The Seven Songs of Merlin [The Lost Years of Merlin book 2 by TA Barron] Book Review

Seven Songs of Merlin (TA Barron)

 

 

 

This series is a prequel of sorts to the legend of Merlin beginning in the early years when Merlin is first coming into his magical powers. This is the second story in the five book series chronicling the great wizard’s youth.

As the story opens, Merlin is 13 years old and has the privilege of attending the great council meeting with the ambassadors of nearly every race of fantasy that reside on the enchanted isle as they must decide what to do with the Treasures of Fincayra. He has been charged with the guardianship of the Flowering Harp to heal the lands for the harp only responds to a heart true and wise – the heart of a wizard.

Having toppled the evil King Stangmar (his estranged father who was bewitched) and freeing Fincayra from a terrible blight Merlin sets out with the magical harp to restore the enchanted world into a flourishing Merlin has only one month to complete a quest to find the soul of the Seven Songs of Wisdom and journey to the Otherworld in order to obtain the elixir that can save his mother’s life. On his quest he makes a number of discoveries not only about his past, but about what lies within. The challenge is enormous. He has begun to discover the powers within him, but has not as yet mastered the ability to control these emerging powers. He has learned some of the stories of the wisdom of the Druids, the Greeks and the Celts, but us far from truly understanding the true meaning of it all. He has learned his true name and pieces of his past but now must also learn the secrets that sleep within his innermost being. He has already lost his father in the battle, and now his mother, poisoned by a deathshadow meant for her son, is the first victim of the renewed surge of evil sweeping the land.

Merlin is an emerging personification of yin and yang. He is full of contradictions that compliment each other and open his eyes to the possibilities of what destiny has in store for him as he follows the winding path to wizardry. Contradiction and controversy are rampant in the epic Arthurian legend, and Mr. Barron has imagineered an early life worthy of these legendary roots as the keeper of knowledge, particularly of the arcane secrets.  

As in all epic journeys, great adventure and unfathomable danger lie in wait for the boy who would be wizard. He must battle the ogre Balor He is accompanied on his great quest by a merlin hawk named Trouble, the forest girl Rhia, and a mournful jester named Bumbelwy. There are captivating characters and backstory for the Arthurian legend that begin to emerge through this tale. This is a tale that will not disappoint the most demanding Merlin fan. It will engage you and take you of the ride of your life.

 

THE SEVEN SONGS OF MERLIN

By TA Barron

Publisher:  Philomel

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy

ISBN:  978-0399250217

Hardcover:  336 pages

Recommended for ages 9-12

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Filed under Fantasy, Mid-Grade, Tween, Uncategorized, Young Adult

Wizarding Genesis [The Lost Years of Merlin book 1 by TA Barron] Book Review

Lost Years of MerlinThe Lost Years of Merlin is the initial installment of the five book series chronicling Merlin’s life as a boy, a prequel to Arthurian legend. It follows the ambiguous details of Emry’s obscure youth and the path he followed leading to the emergence of his magic and the wizarding name he proclaimed of Merlin. Barron’s imagineering of this portion of the great wizard’s life gives new depth to the renowned character as we see his life through the eyes of a young boy.

 The story opens with a dream sequence foreshadowing a time magic escaped his fingertips to unleash a fire kindled in Branwen’s defense (the woman claiming to be his mother) the very fire whose flames took his sight leaving him blind until he learned to use his gift of “second sight”.

 Emrys, now 12, is desperate to know of his past and why he has no memory of a time before five years ago when he and Branwen washed upon the shore. She claimed to be his mother but would not speak of their past or where they came from. Instead she taught him the lore of the Celts, Druids and those more ancient. She felt his lost memory was a blessing, the young boy considered it more of a curse. The pair shared a lowly hut they constructed themselves on the outskirts of a small village. Whenever anyone from the village was ill or injured, they would come to Branwen bartering for her services as a gifted healer as she was well acquainted with the old ways and herbal remedies. When in need of her services the villagers sang praises to her unique talents, but the truth of the matter was, they were afraid and thought her to be a sorceress or demon. One day the village bully came to their hut and set fire in an attempt to free the village of this “she-demon”, as he and two of his minions grabbed Branwen by the legs and began dragging her into the fire, Emrys’ fear and rage swelled within, coursing and raging as he ran forward trying to help his mother. He could not control it any longer and felt the bully, Dinatius, should burn for this. He could envision the fires and wished they would consume the bully. At the thought, an enormous tree branch shuddered and cracked as if struck by lightening; it fell upon the young bully trapping him as the branches exploded into flames. As the spine shivering shrieks erupted from the inferno Emrys knew what he had done as he plunged into the flames trying to save the boy. His dream vision had come to pass.

 As the young half-blind Emrys struggles to learn the secrets of his past, the magic within him, and his true identity he comes to the realization he must leave this place, returning to the place he had washed upon the shore to make the attempt to voyage back to the mist-shrouded isle of Fincayra, an enchanted isle that lies between earth and sky. He asks the woman who calls herself his mother to join him in his quest. With great sadness she declines, but takes a jeweled pendant from her neck, presenting it to him. She calls it the Galator and tells him its power is great – if it cannot keep him safe it is only because nothing outside of heaven can. Mighty waves crashed over his feeble raft tossing it about as a mere twig on the outraged sea. The storm swelled and he thought about calling upon his powers to save him but after the last fiery encounter with his magic, he became less afraid of the violent storm than trying to unleash a magic he might not be able to control. The waves pounded over him and when he felt he could hold onto his little wooden raft no more the mysterious shrouded isle appeared and he is again washed upon the shore.

 As he comes to and regains a bit of strength he ventures further into the strange land. The colors are so vivacious he can sense them, even through his half-blinded eyes. He can feel the plushness of the forest floor and he meets a merlin, its wing broken in battle with a rat, a strange girl of the forest called Rhia, and a tiny but brave giant named Shim. Emrys discovers that blight has come upon the isle that is somehow entwined with his own destiny.  He must decipher the riddle of the dance of the giants to change the fate of this land and discover the secrets within himself.

 This is an engaging and enjoyable tale you will want to experience many times over. It explains the roots of the greatest wizard of legend and myth in an epic saga filled with wonder and adventure.

 

THE LOST YEARS OF MERLIN (book 1)

By TA Barron

Publisher: Philomel

Genre: Juvenile Fantasy

ISBN: 978-0399250200

Hardback:  336 pages

Recommended for Ages:  9-12

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Filed under Fantasy, Writing, Young Adult