Patrick's Reviews > The Crystal Cave

The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart
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May 06, 09

bookshelves: fantasy-not-ya
Read in May, 2009

I hadn't remembered any of this. I definitely would have not understood much of the political intrigue/sexual innuendo when I read the series as a child.

Moving book. It is from Merlin's point of view. Lots of round characters and sad commentary on human nature. I think I tend to forget how steeped in sorrow and corruption the Arthurian legend is. Warfare, religious and moral confusion, and grinding poverty and death from war, weather, bandits, or disease for the common people were just the realities of the time. Virtually all of the leaders are corrupt. While it is probably accurate historically, and certainly fits into medieval fantasy norms, it makes me sad to see the men constantly sleeping around with no opprobrium attached while women are labeled and punished. Much of the plot is advanced through these trysts. Merlin, Arthur, and Merlin's end in a future book all come from this.

I read this as a young teen, but the book is definitely not intended for that audience. If you would like a well-characterized take on the Arthur saga, this series is a great choice.

I noticed that the Other Works by the Author page in the front now includes a fourth book with the trilogy. I'll be curious to see what that is about.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by Kermit (new)

Kermit The Crystal Cave was one of those flagship books for me like The Dark Is Rising.

The Susan Cooper books hugely fed a love of fantasy.

The Crystal Cave and The Hollow Hills and the other books in the Mary Stewart series began a fascination with all things King Arthur and Merlin. Wales is a place that I dearly would so love to visit---and it all began with The Crystal Cave. I was so "into" things about Wales that when I read The Grey King, I actually made myself a little learning guide to remember how to pronounce words in Welsh.


Patrick That's funny about the Wales pronunciation book. I didn't know that. I remember reading your copies of this series and loving it. I saw them at DI...and held off buying them because I want to get the book from the library first and see if I still like it. I don't remember much.


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