“Stories and songs are the language of the heart.” – Merlin Review

Title: Merlin

Author: Stephen R. Lawhead

Genre: Historical fantasy

Rating: 3.5/5

Last week, I wrote a rather raving review of Stephen Lawhead’sTaliesin, which was written in third person. The sequel, which follows the story of 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 won’t tell you exactly what happened, but something happens which sends Merlin into madness. Lawhead crafted the prose, structure and tone of these passages to 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 emerges to slow redemption with him.

It is wholly consuming and engaging. After my initial doubts, I enjoyed this book.

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