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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be longer
The Merlin Conspiracy is a good basic story, the characters are beautifully developed and the various links and connections between them both compelling and enthralling.
The only problem is it seems to take forever just to build up the story. Don't get me wrong, I've no problem with big build ups, they usually lead to big climaxes.
However, the climax to this...
Published on 3 Mar. 2004 by Ms. Jennifer J. Mable

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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The balance of magic
There are so many things that I usually love about Diana Wynne Jones' books and while there is plenty to be marvelled at in "The Merlin Conspiracy", I have to say it isn't a book that I would read again.

The enjoyable parts are that the multi-world universe, the magical and mythological descriptions are beautifully-written. The plot itself; the balance of...
Published on 16 Sept. 2011 by Belochka


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13 of 14 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good, could be longer, 3 Mar. 2004
By 
Ms. Jennifer J. Mable "Jen M" (Portsmouth) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Paperback)
The Merlin Conspiracy is a good basic story, the characters are beautifully developed and the various links and connections between them both compelling and enthralling.
The only problem is it seems to take forever just to build up the story. Don't get me wrong, I've no problem with big build ups, they usually lead to big climaxes.
However, the climax to this story while exciting seems rushed. It seems to me The Merlin Conspiracy could do with being a series of books, and the end is left fully open to a sequel, it just seems that the real story doesn't start quick enough to enthrall a less than dedicated reader.
In a time where big action is the big thing this wonderful fantasy might be lost to most readers who prefer the short more action filled journeys. It should not be overlooked however as the characters excel at being intresting, from the complexities of the main characters Roddy and Nick, to the sublimely awful Izzies.
A compelling read that, while it could be longer, is still a fantastic and classic story.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The land is Blest..., 14 April 2003
This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Hardcover)
This is a great romp through familiar DW-J territory - alternative worlds, and magical families. Arianrhod (Roddy, one of the two narrators) and Grundo are part of the King's Progress, the travelling Court, but have to travel alone through the Isles of Blest (a "squished and stretched" British Isles) to stop a plot to take all the magic in the land and use it for evil. The Little People advise Roddy to raise the land to stop the plot, but she has little to go on until she figures out her inherited magic "database".
Meanwhile Nick, the other narrator, already a refugee from one world, gets drawn through a few other worlds looking for Romanov, a man who might just have the power to solve the mystery of who is trying to kill whom and why. He promises to help Roddy as part of a journey quest, befriending an elephant on the way, and encountering a malevolent goat named Helga.
The plot's intricate but all comes together in a satisfying ending as Roddy works out just what "raising the land" involves - dragons, Stonehenge, and all her extended and rather mad family...
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars The balance of magic, 16 Sept. 2011
This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Paperback)
There are so many things that I usually love about Diana Wynne Jones' books and while there is plenty to be marvelled at in "The Merlin Conspiracy", I have to say it isn't a book that I would read again.

The enjoyable parts are that the multi-world universe, the magical and mythological descriptions are beautifully-written. The plot itself; the balance of entire worlds being threatened by a conspiracy in the Isle of Blest is an interesting idea. The world building is so believable that you feel you could almost get there by turning the next page. I loved the descriptions of the magical folk, the great powers and the personification of entire cities in Blest. The details of weather, houses, animals and landscape are also wonderfully atmospheric.

With the vast imagination on display it really is a bit of a shame that I couldn't like all of it.

The biggest problem is really to do with the characters. *The next part of the review does include a spoiler*.

Nick Mallory is certainly the best of the bunch, he is written as a conscientious boy with a thoughtful and practical mind. Even he gets a little tedious with his unrequited crush on Roddy though. As a lead character Roddy (Arianrhod) Hyde is a disappointment. She comes across as snobbish and patronising much of the time and then given to bursting into tears when she is under pressure. One particular scene that almost made me give up reading is the discovery that Roddy has been manipulated by a friend. There are several problems with this; her reaction is to run off, have a good cry on Nick's shoulder and feel bad about herself. Given Roddy's temperamental nature it would have been a redeeming moment to give the friend a hard thwack with some of her vast array of spells but, alas no, it doesn't happen. It's also rather irritating that the scene comes rather late in the book. Roddy has already been in a dozen situations where this could've been spotted.

I just couldn't take to the female characters in this book. Most of them appear either meek and anxious mousey types or arrogant, self-centred, hysterical harridans who are not very intelligent. The female villain is scarcely credible (for a lead conspirator) as her intelligence seems to be equal with a piece of boiled string. You won't find as scintillating a figure as The Witch of the Waste (from Howl's Moving Castle) here.

I still very much like other DWJ books and this is worth a read for the incredible world-building. However, be prepared in case you find the lead characters to be mostly unlikeable.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great! If only it could be 5 stars, 21 May 2003
By 
Miss Franks "Kyrissaean" (Hampshire, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Hardcover)
I would like to say that this book is great. The storyline is amazing, especially how their lives come together and you find out who everybody is. But, sadly, I can't give it the 5 stars it deserves because I feel that if you are one of those people who needs the end of a book to be good expect a disappointment as this one isn't. I couldn't put the book down and I was reaching the end and you get to the climax, it calms down once more and then it stops. As if she just stopped writing, not even as if she got fed up and brought it to a quick close. It just finishes, and I'd like to say I'm disappointed. Yet, even so, I would still recommend you to read this book. As it is one of the best.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Utterly spellbinding, 1 Sept. 2012
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This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Paperback)
This book is an indirect sequel to Deep Secrets, though this fact isn't very well publicised. I ended up reading this first, but since this is technically a stand-alone book, I had no trouble diving right in. It takes place in a number of different universes, and the plot is pretty complex, involving time travel and things nobody in-story can quite understand (it's not a bad thing, I swear!). Despite that, it's an easy read, breathtakingly written, though as others have noted it does take a while to get to the climax. I only wish that there had been a little more epilogue- by this time I was very attached to the characters and didn't want to let them go. Actually, I'd have loved a sequel or two.

This is probably my favourite DWJ book, and like most of her novels, they are perfect for all ages. Adults will get a kick out of it, and older children will be entranced. Diana Wynne Jones' books made up a lot of my childhood, and all I can do is advise you to give this a try. You won't be disappointed. There are no loose plot ends, everything is explained brilliantly but not boringly, and I still love this book after my sixth or seventh read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Follows on, a great sequel, 5 Jan. 2012
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This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Paperback)
This one follows on from "Deep Secret" and continues the adventures of Nick Mallory, who wants to be a Magid and travel between worlds, bringing a whole host of new characters in. Aspects of this book make a LOT more sense if you read "Deep Secret" although this is marketed as a stand-alone. I was initially disappointed that only one other character made it into this book from "Deep Secret" (Ted Mallory) but overall I think it works really well because Nick really gets a chance to shine where he was overshadowed by too many other awesome characters in the first book. The character development is absolutely fantastic and the book had so much going on at all times that it was like looking at a spiders web, only to see where the strands meet in the middle of the web at the end of the book. A finely crafted book but definitely for older readers and those with an interest in symbolism rather than the more overtly children's books DWJ has written. I would recommend this book if you liked "A Sudden Wild Magic," "Year of the Gryphon" or "Fire and Hemlock." If you found Fire and Hemlock tough going, this one probably won't be to your tastes.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best book I ever read!, 18 Jan. 2004
By 
Gail Dorrington (Maidenhead, Berks United Kingdom) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Hardcover)
I think The Merlin Conspiracy is the best book I ever read because it is an exciting story.It is written from two people's points of view, Roddy and Nick. At the same time the story takes place in two parallel worlds. I loved the suspense and the story has lots of unexpected twists and turns. I am positive that anybody would enjoy this book. I love it! ( I am 8 years old)
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book of all time, 27 Dec. 2012
This review is from: The Merlin Conspiracy (Paperback)
I first read this book when I was 11 or 12,I am now 18 and have read it many times. It is an amazing book with a vast amount of depth and both cleverly and beautifully written. If you enjoy light fantasy, and magic I would definitely recommend this book to you - what ever your age. (I have lent it to my Dad, one of his friends, my Brother and my Mum - all really enjoyed it!)

Diana Wynne Jones is apparently often viewed as a girly author, as a man I disagree. My other favourites amongst her works are: the Chrestomanci series (particularly: 'Charmed Life'; 'The Lives of Christopher Chant' and 'The Magicians of Caprona'); 'The Power of Three' and 'Eight days of Luke'.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The Merlin Conspiracy, 17 April 2014
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This is a story of more than one world in which Blair like politics and magic combines. It is also a love story!! However it is not the book I would recommend if you have never read Diana Wynne Jones before and it would help if you had read Deep Secret (Magids) first.This is a tale where medieval legend and witchcraft meets science fiction a combination that occurs in a lot of Diana's stories. This is as always a highly enjoyable read.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Buy it, borrow it, but whatever you do read it., 15 Oct. 2003
I bought this book mainly because I heard really good reviews and because I've liked the author before. Normally I have difficulty reading long books in one go but this book is amazing. I read the whole thing in 4 hours solid starting almost as soon as I was out of the shop. In some ways I would consider the book better for older readers than her previous books because it is more complicated although younger children would enjoy it in shorter chunks, but that is part of its excellence. Whatever you do read it because it really is one of the best books around at the moment in my opinion.
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