Reviews for Mirror of Merlin


Booklist Monthly Selections - #1 October 1999
Gr. 7^-10. Book four of the Lost Years of Merlin continues the saga of the young Merlin as he gains more understanding of his powers and a greater sense of self. This time, Merlin, accompanied by the young deer woman he's come to love, enters the evil-plagued Haunted Marsh in search of his stolen sword. There, he discovers the long-lost seventh Wise Tool and meets the Boy Ector, who's searching the marsh for something wanted by his unnamed master. The danger level is high in this episode; the theft of the sword is a trap intended to lure Merlin into the hands of a witch, Nimue, who is intent on destroying him. She does manage to infect him with a deadly condition, for which there is no cure. However, Ector believes his master can cure Merlin and leads him through the Mists of Time to the future, where Merlin comes face to face with his much older self trapped in the Crystal Cave by Nimue. Barron handles the contact between the two with a finesse that's believable and enhances the Arthurian ambience that has been so carefully crafted throughout the series. With lots of surprises and some laugh-out-loud humor to leaven the palpable feeling of doom, this should be eagerly devoured by the saga's fans. ((Reviewed October 1, 1999)) Copyright 2000 Booklist Reviews

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Horn Book Guide Reviews 2000 Spring
The fourth book in the Lost Years of Merlin series lacks the polish and panache of the first three, and readers may find the silly dialect of the ballymag downright annoying. But fans who have followed young Merlin through his many adventures will still enjoy tracking with him as he and Hallia meet up with marsh ghouls; his nemesis, Nimue; a young Arthur; and a much older version of himself.Copyright 2000 Horn Book Guide Reviews

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School Library Journal Reviews 1999 October
Gr 6-9-In this fourth volume in the series, the teenaged wizard Merlin, his beloved friend Hallia, and various companions find themselves deep in the Haunted Marshes of the enchanted Fincayra Island. A mysterious force has been stirring the marsh ghouls to greater evil than ever before, and Merlin is determined to find out why. The narrative wanders as Merlin and his friends wander through the marsh; the first portion of the story is full of perilous but strangely anticlimactic moments that contribute little to the characterization of the young hero or his companions. However, the story strengthens and deepens when he walks through a mirror of mist, encountering people from his possible futures-including his own future self. Barron's depiction of the aged Merlin is strongly reminiscent of T. H. White's in The Once and Future King (Putnam, 1958): brilliant, comically absentminded, and sorrowful for things known and lost over his long life. Hints from this future life, including a glimpse of the young King Arthur and a suggestion of Hallia's fate, will draw fans of the series deeper into the saga, despite the novel's less compelling opening chapters.-Beth Wright, Dorothy Alling Memorial Library, Williston, VT Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.

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VOYA Reviews 2000 February
The Lost Years of Merlin series continues as Merlin travels into the future to encounter his older self, now imprisoned by the sorceress Nimue in the crystal cave. There he learns the power of the choices open to him, which will shape his own futureand that of the young king he will mentor. Nimue, meanwhile, has gone back through the dark mirror to Fincayra, where she confronts the youthful Merlin in a vicious attempt to defeat him before he claims his wizard's powers. Merlin must call onseveral of his old allies for aid-but it is some surprising new friends who turn the tide. In most series one volume serves as a placeholder, moving the characters from scene setting to denouement. This book may be the placeholder for Barron. Some familiar characters and themes are revisited and a few new ones are introduced, most notablyyoung Arthur. But in spite of the considerable action, the story has the feeling of marking time. Poor Merlin also suffers from an overdose of portentousness. " 'Whatever difficult times the future holds in store for you, this thing will neverchange.' My voice deepened. 'You have helped someone, beyond any doubt, on this day. And Ector [Arthur] . . . I will never forget it.' " Such speeches give credence to the alternate legend that has Merlin imprisoned in a tree-here the process ofturning wooden has already begun. Despite these flaws, fans of the series will gobble it up.-Kathleen Beck. Copyright 2000 Voya Reviews

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