- Also check our best rated Children’s Book reviews
The Merlin Conspiracy Hardcover – 1 Apr 2003
|New from||Used from|
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Story is interesting and the characters are likeable.
Nick had a backstory that I thought was a bit vague until I realised this is actually a sequel. I'll have to go back and read the first book now, but I don't think it's necessary to read it first because everything else made sense.
Romanov is a very interesting character. I would have liked to have seen more about him and his background. It's such a packed story that I think he got pushed to the side a bit and ended up not really doing much.
Grundo is dyslexic and his magic comes out back to front!
But what happened to the panther? Nick meets it once and it seems like it might be quite important but then never reappears.
Seeing the narrators from other characters point of view is reveals more about them. Roddy seems sensible and kind from her own point of view but, from Nick's perspective, she's quite cold and bossy. Roddy's grandad I expected from Roddy's mother's description to be cold and cruel but Roddy finds that he actually is caring in his odd own way. They all have layered personalities like real actual people and it also shows that one person's view of events is never the whole story.
The worldbuilding for Blest is brilliant, I could almost feel the sunshine and at one point I felt like I had wasps buzzing around me the way the characters did. When Nick travels through different worlds they all felt realistic too, even the place where Romanov lives that changes according to Romanov's whims.
The plot is deeper and more intelligent than most adult books. It felt very English (lot's of tea and sandwiches!) and it almost lulled me into thinking it's a cosy adventure but then the characters face real danger and the villains are scary enough to banish the cosy feel.
Diane Wynn Jones is very good at plot twists and including little, seemingly throwaway things that end up having big, unexpected effects and being important to the story. It's a complicated plot but I never felt lost and I love the way it all comes together at the end.
I feel like there should have been a sequel to find out what happens next to Roddy and Nick (and the panther!) and to fill in a bit more about Romanov. That may be just because I want to know more about the characters though because the story does has a definite ending.
This was wonderful to lose myself in for a couple of days, and it's one that I will be keeping to reread.
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.
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...
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews