Saturday, March 1, 2014

Merlin's Shadow by Robert Treskillard - Book Review

About the Book:
(taken from Amazon)


After destroying the sinister Druid Stone and freeing his people from its dark control, Merlin finds himself to be a royal advisor without a king. Along with his friend Garth and Natalenya, his betrothed, Merlin treks north with the orphaned Arthur in hopes of keeping the young ruler safe from soldiers misled by their turncoat captain. Relentlessly pursued by his nemesis Vortigern, Merlin and his band make for the fortress of Dintaga.

But dangers multiply when Merlin realizes that Vortigern is not his only enemy. Even his own sister appears bent on Merlin's destruction. As the threat on all their lives increases, Merlin discovers their only hope is sailing to the lands of eternal darkness and once again cleansing the world from an ancient and powerful evil.

About the Author: (taken from Amazon)

Robert Treskillard is a Celtic enthusiast who has been crafting stories from his early youth, is a software developer, graphic artist, and sometime bladesmith. He and his wife have three children and are still homeschooling their youngest. They live in the country near St. Louis, Missouri.

It all began when Robert's son wanted to learn blacksmithing and sword-making. The two set out to learn the crafts and in the process were told by a relative that they were descended from a Cornish blacksmith. This lit the fire of Robert's imagination, and so welding his Celtic research to his love of the legends of King Arthur, a series was forged--The Merlin Spiral, now published by BLINK Young Adult Books.

Book 1: Merlin's Blade, released spring 2013
Book 2: Merlin's Shadow, released fall 2013
Book 3: Merlin's Nightmare, releasing spring 2014

My Thoughts:
I was so excited to receive this book. Seriously. My poor husband didn't get a warm meal and a clean house until I had finished reading it. Good thing it only took me a couple of days to complete it! ;)

This is the second book in the Merlin Spiral series. I loved Merlin's Blade - the first book - (you can read my review here) and hoped the second would be as appealing and interesting as the first. It was. I would highly suggest you do NOT read these books out of order. They are priced very competitively, so save up and buy the whole series.

At the end of the first book, something miraculous happens to Merlin and we are left knowing that things aren't finished and Merlin has a lot he's going to have to deal with. One thing I loved about Merlin's Blade was how, blinded for 7 years, he was always praying. I very much enjoyed that. Things are very different in Merlin's Shadow. Now, instead of much prayer, we find Merlin trusting in himself more than he ought - and unfortunately, it's a long and arduous journey until he realizes that God is the One who is truly in control and we see him coming back to his wavering faith. There's a reason this happens, but I don't want to wreck the story by giving a little more information here. Trust me. Just because things look like they are blessings, they could very well end up being curses in disguise if used/treated improperly. This is where Merlin is at.

Leading a misfit band in order to protect Arthur from the evil Vortigern (boo!), we see him trying to rely on himself more often than he did in the first book. While at times this made me want to reach through and smack him, it was very real to life and I wouldn't change the way the author wrote it. I mean hey, sometimes we learn the hardest lessons the best, right? 

Now, I'm not a humongous fan of book series. I've read a few, but generally I stay away from them because the second always seems to fall a little flat. This one did not. Following the pattern he set in the first book, Mr. Treskillard gives us a rich detailed history with pronunciation guide and important people/places and there's even more to enjoy in this one.

There was one particular character I found very disquieting. In the first book, I couldn't stand little Ganieda (what a BRAT), but in this one, I actually felt sorry for her. It became very clear how much a parent can color a child's vision and the way they perceive things, and Ganieda is no different. I found I wanted a different story for her, but still, she's a work in progress, and I look forward to seeing her in the third book.

I felt so very sorry for poor Natalenya. I wanted to punch Merlin a few times for her sake, but I can't go into details for fear of revealing something that I shouldn't. Let's just say, if I was her, he'd be in the doghouse for a long, long, long time. ;)

Overall, I have nothing to complain about with this story. The characters are excellently written, the plot is more than interesting, the scenery vivid, and I can't wait to see what Mr. Treskillard has in store for us in Merlin's Nightmare. 

Highly recommend to anyone who loves the Arthurian Legends, Lord of the Rings, and The Hobbit. My thanks to the publisher, Blink Young Adult Fiction, for providing me a copy of this book to review. These thoughts are my own, and this review was not obligated to be positive.

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