Monday, August 8, 2011

The Lost Years of Merlin

In reviewing this book I feel I should be bluntly honest going in.  I like King Arthur stuff.  Not only do I like King Arthur stuff but I like the whole approach of taking King Arthur and placing him into a post-Roman dark age Britain rather than the more traditional Medieval setting.  I know that in recent years this has been done a LOT (Stephen Lawhead is one of the best), sometimes badly, but I like it anyway.  I remember watching the Clive Owen movie, wanting to shout at the screen (armor piercing!?), but at the same time loving the fact that I was watching King Arthur on a big screen!  

In a quick side note, so far the STARZ series Camelot looks to be one of the better interpretations I have seen, If you have Netflix you can watch it!

The Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron markets the dark age Arthurian universe to young adults by keying in on the adolescence of Braver Sir Robin.  Remember him?

Ok fine so the book is actually about Merlin.  We first meet him as a six year old boy, washing up on the coast of Wales with no idea of his past or his identity.  He lives out the next few years with a woman found alongside him that claims to be his mother and calls him Emrys.  Around the age of twelve Emrys, growing increasingly curious about his origins, becomes involved in events that lead to a search for the truth of his mysterious past.

Like other recent Arthurian authors, Barron ties his story to Celtic tales from ancient Britain.  He does not throw in quite as many old names for people and places as some authors such as Lawhead, but includes enough that I believe it would pique the interest of any your reader to delve into these legends more deeply.  

At its heart this novel reads like an old fashioned coming of age story in a fanciful world.  In a time where so many writers in every medium go for “gritty realism” the charming nature of this story was quite refreshing.

As I stated in the beginning, I am a fan of King Arthur stuff so I admit that while I liked this book, it may not be for everyone.  I would recommend this for fans of fantasy and similar genres.  I also would not hesitate to use this book as an introduction to fantasy for readers that have not yet given it a try.

One last note, apparently there is a movie adaptation in the early stages of development.  I’ll be very interested to see how that progresses!

No comments: