Merlin Conspiracy Review

Ian W. Riddell iwriddell at charter.net
Mon Jun 16 04:26:19 EDT 2003


Here's the review of "The Merlin Conspiracy" from the latest "Horn 
Book Magazine":


The Merlin Conspiracy
The Horn Book Magazine ;         Boston;         May/Jun 2003; Susan 
Dove Lempke ;


Volume: 
79

Issue: 
3

Start Page: 
359

ISSN: 
00185078

Subject Terms: 
Childrens novels
Science fiction & fantasy

Personal Names: 
Jones, Diana Wynne
Abstract:
Lempke reviews "The Merlin Conspiracy" by Diana Wynne Jones.


Full Text:

Copyright Horn Book, Incorporated May/Jun 2003

Diana Wynne Jones The Merlin Conspiracy. 468 pp. Greenwillow 4/03 
ISBN 0-06-052318-2 16.99 g Library edition ISBN 0-06-052319-0 17.89. 
(Middle School, High School)

Longtime children's fantasy writer Diana Wynne Jones writes on an 
epic scale in this richly complicated tale of worlds where magic is 
"wide, various and big"-but where its users can become corrupt. The 
story is narrated in alternating chapters by Roddy (a girl) and Nick. 
When Roddy and her friend Grundo discover that the Merlin (who is in 
charge of magic) has been murdered, they are unable to convince 
anyone else of the murder conspiracy. Roddy summons an unknown 
helper, Nick, who is startled to be drawn from his own equally magic 
world but loves Roddy on sight. As in her previous books, Wynne Jones 
deftly creates a fully realized fantasy universe with a series of 
worlds that resemble one another and our own but have differences 
that make them distinct. One world Nick visits is a futuristic 
nightmare with strict rules and a toxic sun, while another place 
crafted by a powerful Magid is three different worlds cobbled 
together. Along the way Roddy, Nick, and Grundo encounter a contrary 
goat, a devoted elephant, terrified salamanders, a pair of 
entertainingly obnoxious twins, and numerous adults who often turn 
out to be related in some way. Although the multiple characters and 
plots are all tied up by the end, the conclusion lacks closure on an 
emotional level, though this may point to a future book developing 
the relationship between Nick and Roddy. British readers will have an 
advantage in appreciating some of the details, as Wynne Jones weaves 
in many references to British places and history, but that won't stop 
other fantasy lovers from delighting in this vastly absorbing story 
of good battling evil.


I
-- 
Dissent is the highest form of patriotism. Thomas Jefferson
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Ian W. Riddell
iwriddell at charter.net
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