So a few weeks ago I wrote a rather raving review of Stephen Lawhead’s Taliesin, which was written in third person. The sequel, following Merlin, the son of the main characters in Taliesin, was written in first and the change of voice shocked me, particularly as I picked it up straight after finishing the first book. The change of voice took a few chapters to acclimatise to but it did settle. The storyline itself was as well written as ever if limited by the singular first person narrator. The middle section in particular was my favourite. I will not tell you exactly what happened but there something happens which sends Merlin into madness and the skill with which Lawhead handled the prose, structure and tone of these passages read as the ravings of a madman. Unlike some attempts at portraying madness, there is absolutely no sense of the author’s lucidity in the section. The reader is dragged into madness along with Merlin and comes to a slow redemption with him. It is wholly consuming and engaging. After my initial doubts, I enjoyed this book.
Overall rating: 6.5/10