The Merlin Spiral, Book 1
By: Robert Treskillard
What: A blind boy finds that his village is falling under the spell of a group of druids and their mysterious stone.
Recommended to those who like: King Arthur legends, Christian, teen and up
I’m a sucker for King Arthur legends. (I don’t know how much I’ve expressed that on this blog, but it’s a true statement). There’s something about the tale that lends itself to innumerable retellings from various angles. I’ve enjoyed many different versions of the legend, from T.A. Barron’s imagination of Merlin’s early years, to Stephen Lawhead’s Pendragon Cycle that meshes the Arthur story with tales of Atlantis, to the multi-dimensional traveling Merlin of D. Barkley Briggs’s Legends of Karac Tor.
Suffice it to say that Merlin’s Blade has been on my to-read list for quite some time. I was eager to see what Mr. Treskillard had to add to the Arthur/Merlin universe.
One of the main problems with writing in such a small niche genre is that you face stiff competition and easy comparison to other works. In the end, that’s one of the main reasons I just couldn’t give this book five stars. It didn’t have that special “umph” that made it stand out from others in its genre.
That being said, I did enjoy the book. I loved the version of Merlin that we were given—not confident, but boyish and human. It’s something that we miss out on so often in these tales. I also loved the imagery that brought to mind the book of Daniel. It was a unique way to bring about Merlin’s prophecies. Merlin’s struggle with blindness plays into the story significantly without being overemphasized, which takes skill from an author.
Unfortunately, while I had fallen in love with Merlin by about fifteen pages into the book, I didn’t find myself enjoying the plot until almost halfway through the story. I also didn’t like many of the supporting characters until even further down the line.
The Christian message of the story was well done overall. Although occasionally it bordered on a little too strong, it never jerked me out of the story.
Due to some violence and gory images, I would recommend the story for teens and up. (It’s on the level of The Lord of the Rings movies, if you need a comparison).
The end of the book redeemed the story overall and set up nicely for the rest of the series. I look forward to receiving some answers in the next books and spending some more time with Merlin.
The Bottom Line: A noble addition to King Arthur lore, this book would be suitable for fans of Arthurian legend who are willing to wait a while for the plot to get going.
What fairytale or legend do you love to see retold?