Tuesday, June 11, 2013

"Merlin's Blade" by Robert Treskillard -- A Review

Hello my blog friends!  I know I haven't posted in basically forever, and I apologize for that.  Since School got out (and even before that) a lot of stuff has happened and I haven't had a lot of extra time.  No excuse, I know... I wish I could write something every day, or at least once a week, but sometimes life just steps in the way and everything starts coming apart at the seams.  That's kind of how it's been lately.  No worries though!  I will be posting more soon!  I have a plethora of new ideas to blog about, and some pretty exciting happenings that are making my life a bit more than just interesting of late. :)  I'll tell you all about it soon. ^_^

In the meantime, however, I have a couple of Book Reviews to post! :)  They were both supposed to be posted last week, but as some of you undoubtedly know, Illinois has been swamped with bad weather lately, mostly in the form of unstoppable rains for weeks on end.  The fields have pretty much become swamp land, and the poor farmers are probably going to have to replant.  Some of them haven't even started planting yet because everything was too wet and muddy to do so... and the grass is getting overwhelmingly tall as well.  During the storms, there were power surges all over the place, and my internet wasn't working properly... it would come on and then suddenly turn off, and I was terribly worried about it and my computer during the whole thing.  I still got on occasionally, but every time I tried to put of the two reviews, the page would go offline, so I finally gave up and waited until the sun came out again. lol!  This review here was supposed to be a part of the CSFF Blog Tour, so there will be links at the bottom that lead to all the other blogs that decided to participate in the "Merlin's Blade" tour.  You should check them out!  :D

And now to begin.

When a meteorite crashes near a small village in fifth-century Britain, it brings with it a mysterious black stone that bewitches anyone who comes in contact with its glow---a power the druids hope to use to destroy King Uthur's kingdom, as well as the new Christian faith. The only person who seems immune is a young,

shy, half-blind swordsmith's son named Merlin.

As his family, village, and even the young Arthur, are placed in danger, Merlin must face his fears and his blindness to take hold of the role God ordained for him. But when he is surrounded by adversaries, armed only by a sword he helped forge, how will he save the girl he cherishes and rid Britain of this deadly evil ... without losing his life? 

My Thoughts:


Let me just say, this book was excellent.  And I do not say that lightly.  Robert has a way with words that just make them seem to float off the page and become flesh and blood.  This book read very real to me... not just because of the flow of words, but also because of the detailed research that was put into it.  Every aspect of the story, from the area of Bosventor, to the traditions of the Druids, to the process of forging a sword read and (more importantly) felt real.  

Something else I liked about this book: it's told from Merlin's point of view.  Now, I am a lover of all things Arthurian, and as a rule, I love the character of Merlin.  So little is known about him!  He has so much potential within the story realm that writers tend to love him.  However, until now I've never seen a book done where Merlin was a follower of Christ accept for in D. Barkley Briggs' "The legends of Karac Tor".  Yet Merlin's Blade even goes a step farther than that... because in Mr. Treskillard's book, not only is Merlin a follower of Christ, but he is also a young man around the age of 16 and 17 and has the same troubles that young men have -- like, for instance, impressing the young ladies.  And as if that weren't enough trouble to begin with, this version of Merlin is also half blind.

Things start going crazy in Merlin's home town of Bosventor when some mysterious druids show up toting along an ominous stone.  Merlin can't see the stone, but he can feel that there's something evil about it... and as the story progresses, we learn that Merlin's blindness -- his greatest weakness -- is also the only thing that is keeping him from becoming memorized with the power that the stone possesses.  As the rest of Merlin's town falls under the spell of the strange stone with the blue fire, Merlin starts to realize that the power of the stone corrupts through sight... and as he's half blind, he is the only one in his entire village that can stand strong against it.  And he really is the only one, because even the monks are susceptible to the stone's power.

Merlin alone is immune.

Of course, if those were the only problems Merlin had to face down in this book, the book would be exciting enough!  But oh no... of course there are more!  Merlin finds out that the leader of the druids is actually his step mother's father, and he also discovers that his father is being held under some kind of spell put on him by his step mother to wield control over him.  Then you have Natalenya... the beautiful daughter of the magister.  Merlin can't stop thinking about her, but she's in trouble along with everyone else in the village because she stands between her greedy father and the wealth that the stone promises.

And then there are the wolves.

When Merlin was young, he tried to save his little half sister from a hungry wolf pack.  His reward was the loss of his sight and an eternally scarred face.  That was years ago, but now the wolves are back, and they are more intent than ever to fill their maws with Merlin's blood.

Between all of that, and the visions that Merlin has started to have out of nowhere, he really has his hands full... and that's only before Uther Pendragon and his family show up with baby Arthur in tow.  

I loved this story from beginning to end. :)  And I was lucky, because not only have I just recently read the newly published version of the book, but I was also one of the few privileged readers who were allowed to read through the book while it was still in the revision stage.  I loved it then too, and consider myself extremely fortunate, especially since a few of my more favored scenes scenes have been revamped and edited out.

And then, wouldn't you believe it!  I got the surprise of my life when I got to the end of the published version of the book and saw my name in the acknowledgements!  Robert, if you are reading this, just know that you made my day!  Shoot!  You made my whole week!!! :D  I never expected that, and let me just say, it is such an honor to know you and your family.  God does work in the most amazing and mysterious ways. ^_^

This is a HIGHLY recommended read at the top of my list with five out of five stars. :)

If you would like to purchase a copy for yourself, please go here:http://www.amazon.com/Merlins-Blade-Merlin-Spiral-The/dp/0310735076/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1370507245&sr=8-1&keywords=merlins+blade

The author's blog:

Merlin's Blade Tour Participants:

Noah Arsenault
Beckie Burnham
Keanan Brand
Jeff Chapman
Laure Covert
Pauline Creeden
Emma or Audrey Engel
April Erwin
Victor Gentile
Ryan Heart
Timothy Hicks
Jason Joyner
Carol Keen
Krystine Kercher
Shannon McDermott
Meagan @ Blooming with Books
Rebecca LuElla Miller
Joan Nienhuis
Nathan Reimer
Chawna Schroeder
Kathleen Smith
Jojo Sutis
Robert Treskillard
Steve Trower Phyllis Wheeler
Shane Werlinger
Nichole White


Robert Treskillard said...

Thanks, Nichole! And you're willingness to read Merlin's Blade long before the big "Z" got hold of me shows just why you were in the acknowledgements ... a no-name writer needs every bit of encouragement one can get!

And those deleted scenes? You'll (eventually) find them over at http://www.KingArthur.org.uk in the "Secret Codes" section. Right now I have 6 or 7 of them available for free, and I'll have the rest up soon.

Star-Dreamer said...

It was my absolute pleasure, Robert. :D I know what you mean about no-name writers, but you had it all going for you even before Zondervan, and now I feel blessed to stand back and watch you shine... especially since I know how much you went through to get where you are. :D

I'm glad you are putting up the deleted scenes. :D As I was reading through the new version, I would read over a section and think, "Aw! He took that out..." The book is still amazing, but I'm glad that other readers will get the chance to read through and enjoy the extras. ^_^ love you! *hugs*

Jake said...

I need to get ahold of this sometime. :)

Another well-known story that sets Merlin as a Christian is Stephen Lawhead's Pendragon Cycle. (Which is an excellent series, by the way.) Book Two ("Merlin") has most of the book in Merlin's POV.