I would recommend reading Merlin's Blade prior to this book. I'll be back with a new series next week! As always, I've tried to keep this review spoiler-free.
The Merlin Spiral #2
By: Robert Treskillard
What: Merlin and his friends are taken captive. Will they be able to protect young Arthur? And will
their faith remain strong?
Recommended to those who like: Fantasy, Arthurian Legend, Christian, Teens
Not recommended to those who dislike: Significant magic use by antagonists
I would definitely read Merlin’s Blade prior to starting in on this book, even though I preferred this second installment over the first. The many threads started in book 1 have started to weave their way together quite nicely.
I love the character growth in this book. It seems like none of the characters are side characters, even if they play a minor role. Each has his or her own arc, ups and downs, and character quirks. I can hardly wait to read the third book; I think the villain we were introduced to in this book will play an epic role in the final installment.
I also liked that Mr. Treskillard spun some new elements into the Arthur legends while keeping some other elements intact. It would have been easy to keep the story wholly in line with the “typical” legends, making it predictable, or, conversely, to neglect the legends so thoroughly that it no longer felt like an Arthur story. He managed to find a nice balance between the two.
The writing was of a good pace, but it did take me out of the story at a couple points. However, I did enjoy the very visual nature of the storytelling.
The Christian element did not feel forced in this book and actually played an integral part in the story at a couple of points. I really enjoyed that the characters struggled with their faith for various reasons at different parts in the story. It made me feel like the Christian element was warranted.
There is significant magic use by the antagonists in this book (using a seeing stone, invoking some spells, various visions), so take that into consideration if you decide to read this series. Personally, I thought it was well done and added to the story. There are also numerous descriptions of dead bodies/other somewhat creepy elements, so this would be a better fit for a more mature audience.
The Bottom Line: This fantasy book combined good story arc, great worldbuilding, and a believableChristian element to make for a good read for teens and up.