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3.9 out of 5 stars
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3.9 out of 5 stars
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on 5 December 2001
But still pretty good. I think if you have not read "Mythago Wood", "Lavondyss" or even "The Hallowing", you are going to be lost and probably find the characters, dry and unsympathetic.
That being said, the descriptions of the Screaming Lake are possibly some of his finest writing.
My one complaint is that there are rather too many characters in here, many with very similar looking names and I do keep forgetting who is who.
Even though the story is nominally a quest ( as so much bad fantasy is e.g. anything by Eddings ), this is saved by superb writing.
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VINE VOICEon 28 April 2016
This didn’t work for me. The book is slow and rambly, I couldn’t connect with the characters, and I wasn’t convinced by the mix of Celtic and Greek myth. I struggled to the end, and won’t be reading any more in the series.
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on 12 January 2001
Robert Holdstock's Mythago Wood series have proved themselves reliably excellent and here he extends that world back to a dark Celtic europe where the powers that visitors to Ryhope Wood encounter in the 20th century are everywhere.
Although this is told from Merlin's point of view this is not another straightforward Arthurian retelling- the Holdstock universe is far too diverse for that. Cleverly entertwining many strands of european mythology with a mixture of sharp imagination and deep research this is less immediate than Mythago Wood or Lavondyss but it finds its way into the back of your mind and won't let go. My only criticism is that it is perhaps a little slow to start with, but it is the first book of a series. With Celtika as a starting point it could turn out to be a very good series indeed.
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on 9 April 2001
I am probably Robert Holdstock's #1 American fan. I started reading his books many years ago, begining with "Mythago Wood" and "Lavondyss". I fell in love with his mystical wildwood, and this book was not a disappointment. I do think that those who have not read Mythago Wood and Lavondyss (or any of Holdstock's other books) may be a bit lost. However, it's really worth it to track down those books in order to properly enjoy the "Merlin Codex". I loved it, and I can't wait for the sequel.
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on 22 August 2016
By the time he came to write the 'Merlin Codex' Holdstock was mining a rich vein of myth. This is not a 'Mythago' book but there are many similarities. I think that the reason he never achieved mainstream popularity was that he stayed true to the complexity of his ideas. This is not the Merlin we know from popular legend but an exploration of how myth and legends grow and interconnect. It works well as a novel even if dialogue was not Holdstock's strongest suit. I enjoyed re reading it and look forwards to doing the same with the other two. Important but neglected.
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on 31 January 2001
Formulaic and cold, this is a book full of characters you couldn't care less about. It is emotionally empty. A sad effort after the wonderful Mythago series.
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on 17 January 2001
Holdstock returns to his Mythago Wildwood.Having forgone the mundain human journey,he now moves on a level and introduces more familiar myth fiqures.But there is no mistaking the feeling that wherever the story is set,you are really still in a small corner of Ryhope.Holdstock is a pure genius and knows exactly how to write about the Northern European myth/legend.I can't wait to see how he handles the Arthur legend.Buy & Enjoy.I would strongly recommend you read Mythago Wood first,as this will introduce you to Holdstocks unique Wildwood of which a majority of his works are based.Once in you will never get out!!
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on 3 March 2010
I have just finished reading this, it was great. The best Holdstock book I have read, the characterisations are well done, the story is a good addition to the Merlin myth and I like the tensions between the main characters. Can't wait to read the sequels.
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