Books and Literature for Teens's Reviews > Merlin's Harp

Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton
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's review
May 05, 2010

liked it
bookshelves: books-ive-read-in-2010, fantasy, medieval, published-2010, young-adult, arthurian, to-trade-swap
Read in February, 2010 — I own a copy

Told from a female perspective, the legend of King Arthur, Merlin, and the infamous Morgan le Faye has never looked more magical. Brimming with fairy [Fey:] lore and myths of how Arthur’s misty history unfolds, Merlin’s Harp will satisfy any Arthurian fan or reader--teen or adult--alike.
What I liked most about Merlin’s Harp was the very detailed descriptions of the mythical Fey folk. The author wrote as if a real Fey girl witnessed the story of Avalon [Apple Island:]. Nivienne (pronounced similar to Vivienne) is a very passionate and dramatic character. She tells everything as it is and leaves absolutely nothing out. To create such a backdrop with details about legends, history, or Arthurian tales, you would have to do quite a bit of research....... and it really paid off.
The negative things I have to say about Merlin's Harp is that I kept getting the feeling the story was being rushed and it sometimes wandered of the main trail if you will. It was would slow way down, then it would speed up and would lose me completely. I kept having to go back and reread several important passages. The beginning of the book was rushed as well and there was so much stuff to "learn" about the Fey folk, that I felt a little overwhelmed by the details. Sometimes I felt kinda of silly reading about all this fairy stuff, but that is probably a fantasy newbie talking. Things like this may or may not turn off the reader. It just depends.
I had no idea that I would grow use to talk of auras and magic spells. As the story progressed, so did my attraction to the “magical” setting. There is also a modern genuinely about this novel that is unique. Some of the phrases Nivienne and the other characters say are not true to the middles ages, but I didn't notice it all that much and sometimes modern phrases are okay to throw in when it comes to young adults. Again, depends on what style you like. Personally, I could have handled any kind of medieval terminology--that's just me though.
As for key content factors I will mention the references to several sexual situations. Not a flower moon goes by get the picture. There are also a lot of talk of pagan rituals, witches, mages, and goddesses. Of course it wouldn’t be ancient medieval times without out stuff like that (or Arthurian myths for that matter), but just be sure you feel comfortable about reading things like that. There is a lot symbolism in Arthurian legends as well. Whether the author intends to add them or not, they are still branded in somewhere in the story: the sword, the round table, even Arthur himself.
Overall, Merlin’s Harp was an okay book, a little dark perhaps and rough at some points, but the fantasy theme of the novel was new to me and provided some sort of enjoyment. I think teens and adults would like reading this fictional account of King Arthur from a woman’s point of view. Fans of The Mists of Avalon would enjoy this novel as well. I would recommend to teen ages 15 and up.
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|Genre: Fantasy, Arthurian|Age Group: YA, ages 15 to adult|
|Recommend?| Only to teens ages 15 and up

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