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The Great Tree of Avalon (The Great Tree of Avalon #1)

4.05 of 5 stars 4.05  ·  rating details  ·  4,876 ratings  ·  168 reviews
As in his acclaimed epic The Lost Years of Merlin, T. A. Barron has created a radiant, richly imagined world, full of high adventure and un-forgettable characters.

Long ago, the great wizard Merlin planted the seed that would become the peaceful world of Avalon. Now, though, Avalon is suffering from mysterious droughts. Then the very stars begin to lose their light, and it
Paperback, 464 pages
Published July 7th 2011 by Puffin Books (first published 2004)
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This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Read my thoughts on my blog, PicaReads:

Snippet from my review:
Overall, I really liked this series, although I wouldn’t recommend reading them back to back in five days. (By the time I got to the middle of the third, I was getting sick of the storyline and needed a break.) The trilogy is a hero’s journey with three interconnecting plotlines that might be a little confusing at first: Tamwyn, a wilderness guide trying to find his brother and his own sense of self; Scr
Very well written. Barron's characters were strong and felt real (anyone else in love with Scree? XD lol). His flow was a bit slow, though, and I caught my thoughts drifting away every once in a while. Some of his creatures were a bit unbelieveable, too...I forgot the name of the one creature that kept annoying Tamwyn....a boggart, maybe? I dunno. The creature with big hands, circular eyebrows, and a taste for mischief. While I was interested in him enough, I found I couldn't quite believe in hi ...more
This is a beautifully written novel, and this series stands out as one that I used to read over and over again when I was younger. The characters are sympathetic and engaging, and the series is overall a fun read. I remember this being one of my favorite series, but I will have to go back and read it as an adult to see if the series stands up from different perspective.
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist
This book was just extraordinary – a great start to what I am confident will be an excellent series! T.A. Barron’s prose is absolutely beautiful – somewhat lofty, but more along the lines of elegant and occasionally didactic. He is still a “modern author” and you can see differences between his style and say, the 50s-60s style of C.S. Lewis or Lloyd Alexander, but he’s pretty close. I’d say Barron and maybe Clare Dunkle come the closest to emulating that style. In other words, his writing is a l ...more
By the end of this book, I rather liked it, though I dislike books written for a younger reading level than the main characters. For example, I would dislike a book if the issues dealt with are clearly 17-year-old issues, but it's written to an audience of 12 year olds. Clearly, the three main characters here are all 17, but the writing was very juvenile. It would fit better in Children's than in Young Adult.

This is not to say that 12 year olds should not read about mature problems like politic
This is one of those books I wish I read as a child. Although T.A Barron creates a fascinating and colorful world, it's obvious that this book was geared towards those a bit younger than myself.

The Good:
This book is about the land of Avalon, envisioned by Barron to be a giant tree with seven realms. Each realm has a special characteristic (woods, water etc.). It's a place that I would certainly like to visit. Each region is unique and vividly described.

The characters are interesting, if a bi
I read one of T.A. Barron's books when I was younger, and it was one of my favorites. When I found this series, I was excited to dive right in. That said, for some reason, it was a slow start for me. It took me 269 pages to get into it, but once I did, I couldn't put it down. I think I didn't really connect with the characters at first, and there were too many story lines being introduced to really hold my attention. But once you get all the characters straight, and their stories start convergin ...more
Crystal Ganatra
The Great Tree of Avalon: Child of the Dark Prophecy was an incredible read. The cover it truly intriguing, in a simple kind of way. The cover is simply an old tree against a brilliant blue sky with stars. In front of the tree, the title and the author's name are a gleaming gold. I loved every moment of the book, every word. Tamwyn, Elli, Brionna, and Scree were amazing characters and I enjoyed learning all about them as they searched for Merlin's staff. This magical story is indeed one I would ...more
Ea Solinas
T.A. Barron created a sweeping fantasy classic in the "Lost Years of Merlin" series. Now he follows up with a brand new series, taking place eight hundred years after the creation of Avalon -- "The Great Tree of Avalon: Child of the Dark Prophecy," full of magic, chills and humor.

As the book opens, legendary wizard Merlin rescues an orphaned eagleboy from a pair of mercenaries, and gives him to a flamelon woman with a half-human baby. He also leaves his staff with the eagleboy. The boys are rais
This was an entertaining read for basic fantasy tropes, and I really like the world-building of the various parts of the Great Tree, but I was underwhelmed with the characters. Plotline was good--bad people are doing bad things so they can do more bad things, okay. All of the characters felt rather flat, though; the main two human characters felt super young to me, not at all the 17-year-olds they're supposed to be. And Barron has a thing for color, which is great in terms of imagination but get ...more
The book was nothing like I thought it would be from the cover, which was nice because the cover blurb sounded too clichè. If you liked anything else by T.A. Barron, either the Seven Songs of Merlin quintet, Heartlight, etc, this is a no-brainer. If you've never heard of him... Two brothers were born in the same year, a year a prophecy says two children will be born: the heir to Merlin, and the Dark Child who will destroy the world. Needless to say, people born in that year tended to get killed ...more
This book annoyed me for a silly reason, and that was that until I was just over half way through I thought it was called the Great Tree of Avalon and I was confused because I couldn't find the book on Goodreads. Then I searched the author and found out that this book is actually called Child of the Dark Prophecy. I think they should have rethought the cover design, which - although beautiful - is unnecessarily confusing. I also couldn't tell if it was the first book in a series or not - and the ...more
Tessa Sainz
This was an interesting story of Merlin & Avalon and a totally different than anything else. It's about Merlin planting the great tree of Avalon, which becomes a new world itself, with different lands in different areas of the tree. It takes place long after Merlin originally created Avalon and there's a prophecy of a child born in a certain year that would end the world as they know it. Also, there's a prophecy that the true heir or Merlin can save the world. I thought the story was interes ...more
I finally started to re-read this series after having the last book on my to-read pile for years now. I had started with the third one but felt like I needed to at least start with the first book in this series (I didn’t want to re-read all of the Merlin books, too and fortunately, I didn’t need to).

Anyway, it took me a while to get into it and while I did feel like it was a bit long-winded and some descriptions were unnecessary, as well as some switches in perspective confusing (Barro0n someti
Ashlin Fletcher
It quenched my thirst for fantasy, with a dash of old myths, and a little bit of magic. This beautifully written and elegantly spun tale was worth every page of paper it was written on.
Anne Hamilton
I feel so ambiguous about this book. I think I was put offside when Tamwyn deliberately climbed into a dung heap to get warm. It was a 'huh?' moment. From this safe refuge, he witnesses tree spirits dancing around a bard with a museo - all rare sights in themselves but unique in their congruent appearance. It was another 'huh?' because it didn't seem to go anywhere.

Those two slight losses of credibility were enough to make me wary. Thereafter the subtle melodramatic edge of everything that occur
A fun, easy read by one of my favorite childhood authors. While twists are highly predictable, Barron creates another rich world of human beings existing and conflicting with different mythical creatures. His deep appreciation of nature comes across on every page and although I was never taken off guard, it provided for an enjoyable read. While showing a rather pessimistic view of human nature, Barron creates a group of characters that gently illustrate the complexity of humanity while retaining ...more
Brooke Jackson
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
As the legend goes in the book, the wizard Merlin planted a magical seed on a long forgotten island, and that seed sprouted a tree, which would eventually have roots stretching out so far and wide that whole civilizations are built on them, and branches which would reach up to the stars and beyond. I enjoyed it quite a bit. My main qualm with it was that the whole story seemed like a prelude (and indeed T.A. Barron, the author, said that it was merely the first book in a series of three). Thus, ...more
Apr 30, 2010 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone okay with some cussing and old enough to understand DEEP situations
I recently finished this trilogy. It was the most amazing thing I have ever read on SO many levels. The first book just seems like another fantasy novel (I'm not dissing fantasy at all, by the way), but just keep reading. I would compare the whole trilogy to a beautiful, intricately woven, breathtaking tapestry. You start the first book seeing, maybe, 10% of the whole thing. As you read the books, is slowly unfolds. About 2/3 through the third book, The Eternal Flame, you're only seeing about 75 ...more
As the great stars begin to dim at the Great Tree of Avalon, it seems that the Lady of the Lake's dark omens are about to fulfilled. The fate of Avalon now rests in the hands of three young people: Tamwyn, a wandering wilderness guide, Elli, an apprentice priestess, and Scree, a young eagleman. One of them is the true heir of Merlin, and one of them is the dreaded child of the Dark Prophecy, the one destined to bring the end of Avalon.

I thought this book was good because it brought a different i
Wooden dialogue and one-dimensional characters aside, The Great Tree of Avalon is one of the top five books I've ever read. It's a tale with clever and intriguing prose and wonderful character development. From exciting and humorous scenes to the discovery of startling secrets, Avalon is an interesting, thought-provoking ride from start to finish. As the legend goes, the Tree of Avalon was planted ages earlier by the wizard Merlin who tries to oversee the worlds of Avalon and Earth simultaneousl ...more
This review was also posted on my blog The Hobbit of Pemberly Place

I picked up Child of the Dark Prophecy, by T.A. Barron, as a part of a project for my “Teaching Reading” class. We needed to pick several young adult books, a graphic novel, and some other texts (film, other novels, poetry, etc.) that were all based around a theme or genre. Several potential ideas bounced around in my head for a while as I went book surfing on GoodReads and Google. I eventually settled on Arthurian Legend.

This bo
Jiaqi L
The Great of Avalon
T. A. Barron
384 pages

This book is about a fantasized world where a gigantic tree separates the seven realms of a place called Avalon. A prophecy says that for twenty years, the stars of Avalon would go dark and in the seventeenth year, a child would be born to bring the end of The Great Tree. But there is also hope that a child born in the same year would save the tree and that is Merlin's true heir. In the story, there are three main characters named Elli, Tamwyn, and
Liz Bollinger
Having a secret about yourself, but not being able to tell anyone, because it might change the entire way of things in the future is not an easy thing to keep. This book is not for a young reader, it's compacted with many characters with different backgrounds to remember. If you like fantasy, then you will very much so enjoy this book. This is a fantastic book to pick up if you're looking for adventure. T.A.Barron did an amazing job with this story, anyone who reads this will surely love it.

I l
I read this a long, long time ago and had completely forgotten it until I was searching for good books to buy on Amazon.

Suddenly, these thoughts came into my mind about a book with wizards, fire, a girl with a secret, a giant bird of sorts and a giant nest, and portals. But I couldn't recall the name, or the author, or any of the main characters' names.

I Googled, I searched on the site, nothing.

And then out of the blue the title came to me, and I bought it. It arrived today in a beautiful small,
Not Barron's best work in my opinion. A good but predictable story, and petty much the same as all the other "Rhita Gawr is trying to take over the universe!" plots he has used. Some of the characters were fun though. The writing was not particularly good though at at some points just didn't flow and some of the things at the end were either too incredible or did not make sense. Perhaps the story is just getting too long by book 9. Still it was an ok read.
Jenny T
Once I got over the fact that it wasn't as Arthurian as anticipated (although Merlin appears with Creator-god-like characteristics), I quite enjoyed this fantasy. Thorough and creative world-building (literally, as in this world's mythology, Merlin has created the world tree from a single seed), combined with a varied and intriguing cast of characters (including priestesses, eaglemen, people made of flame, and a mischievous old scene-stealing pinnacle sprite named Nuic who I rather adore). My on ...more
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T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country and traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar. Though he’d dreamed of becoming a writer, he couldn’t find anyone to publish his first novel. He joined a business, eventually became president, then decided to try again. So in 1990, he surprised his business partners by moving back to Colorado to become a writer and conservationist. Since then he has written o ...more
More about T.A. Barron...

Other Books in the Series

The Great Tree of Avalon (3 books)
  • Shadows on the Stars (The Great Tree of Avalon, #2)
  • The Eternal Flame (The Great Tree of Avalon, #3)
The Lost Years (The Lost Years of Merlin, #1) The Seven Songs of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin, #2) The Mirror of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin, #4) The Wings of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin, #5) The Fires of Merlin (The Lost Years of Merlin, #3)

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