Book Review: Merlin’s Blade

28 May

73507x_w185A strange meteorite. A deadly enchantment. And only Merlin can destroy it. A meteorite brings a mysterious black stone whose sinister power ensnares everyone except Merlin, the blind son of a swordsmith. Soon, all of Britain will be under its power, and he must destroy the stone—or die trying.

My Impressions:

I am a big fan of novels that use the Arthurian legends as their base. Before I read Merlin’s Blade, I would have said that Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle was my favorite. Now I can add Robert Treskillard’s first novel to the list — and can impatiently await the next book in the series due out in September. Merlin’s Blade, a YA fantasy, can be enjoyed by Middle Schoolers through adults. It is an epic story that has all of the Arthurian elements you expect, but with a fresh and sometimes unique spin that makes this a book that is definitely a keeper.

Merlin is a young man that has been scarred, physically and emotionally, by a wolf attack years before. The wounds have healed, but they have left him virtually blind and viewed by the people of his village as damaged, incompetent or worse, intellectually deficient. There are a few that can truly see his abilities and character — and some of those are his enemies. The novel starts slowly in its development of plot and characters. I enjoyed getting to know the many diverse personalities populating the book — Dybris, an intense monk, Natalenya, the daughter of the magister, Garth, an orphan ruled by his stomach, Owain, Merlin’s blacksmith father, and of course Uther, father of the legendary Arthur. Treskillard unites all of the characters through a mysterious stone the long hidden druids bring to the village. It has a variety of effects on these characters as well as the village as a whole. It seems to know a person’s weakness and woos him with promises and deceptions. The stone is a great device to depict the allure of sin and its hidden ugliness.

Merlin is of course the central character and is a type of Christ. I was often reminded of Isaiah 53 while reading Merlin’s Blade.

He sprouted up like a twig before God,
like a root out of parched soil;
he had no stately form or majesty that might catch our attention,
no special appearance that we should want to follow him.
He was despised and rejected by people,
one who experienced pain and was acquainted with illness;
people hid their faces from him;
he was despised, and we considered him insignificant. (Isaiah 53:2-3)

At one point in the novel he even takes the punishment for young Garth’s crime.

This is one reason that I think Merlin’s Blade would be an excellent book for a family to read together. There are also some very strong female characters that act within the boundaries set by 5th century customs and culture. And because the story does develop slowly, the discussion it prompts can be in-depth. But don’t think that there isn’t any action in this story. There is plenty, and when Uther comes on the scene it comes fast and furious. Merlin’s Blade is a beautifully written novel, and an excellent first effort for Treskillard.

So are you a fantasy fan, an Arthurian aficionado or do you just like to read a good tale? If so, pick up Robert Treskillard’s debut, Merlin’s Blade.

Highly Recommended.

(Thanks to the publisher for a copy of Merlin’s Blade for review. All opinions are mine alone.)

But don’t take my word for it, check out what others on the CSFF Tour are saying. Click on the links below.

Noah Arsenault
Keanan Brand
Jeff Chapman
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower
Phyllis Wheeler
Shane Werlinger
Nicole White
Sarah Faulkner

5 Responses to “Book Review: Merlin’s Blade”

  1. Robert Treskillard May 28, 2013 at 8:56 am #

    Beckie,

    That Isaiah passage wasn’t consciously part of the writing, but it was probably in the back of my mind because I was influenced by the movie, The Passion, although I didn’t realize it until I saw it again after writing the book. Excellent observation!

    Keep in mind that I’m laying the groundwork for a six-novel arc, and the Stone and its origin plays a critical role in everything. (Only the first three books are currently under contract.) Lots more to come!

    Thanks for the review!

    -Robert

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    • rbclibrary May 28, 2013 at 1:53 pm #

      Thanks for stopping by, Robert. Looking forward to more wonderful books from you.

      Like

  2. Rebecca LuElla Miller May 28, 2013 at 3:35 pm #

    Great review, Beckie. Love your analysis and the insight into Merlin’s character. I really do think readers of a wide age range will enjoy this. Now we just have to get the word out so that readers will find it, buy it, and so Robert’s publisher will contract the second trilogy!! 😉

    Becky

    Like

Trackbacks/Pingbacks

  1. CSFF Blog Tour – Merlin’s Blade by Robert Treskillard, Day 1 | A Christian Worldview of Fiction - May 28, 2013

    […] Arsenault √ √ Beckie Burnham √ Keanan Brand √ Jeff Chapman Laure Covert Pauline Creeden Emma or Audrey […]

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  2. CSFF Tour Wrap – Merlin’s Blade | A Christian Worldview of Fiction - May 31, 2013

    […] √ √ Beckie Burnham √ √ √ Pauline Creeden √ √ √ Timothy Hicks √ √ √ Shannon […]

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