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Merlin #5

The Wings of Merlin

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There has never been a magic like Merlin’s, and T. A. Barron reveals how the legend was born in his adventure-loving five-book epic featuring the heroic young wizard and his unforgettable band.

To celebrate the epic, which has sold over a million copies, Philomel has created a stunning paperover-board edition with fantastical new cover art by Justin Sweet to enchant and enthrall a whole new generation of readers!

352 pages, Hardcover

First published October 9, 2000

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About the author

T.A. Barron

54 books1,214 followers
T.A. Barron grew up in Colorado ranch country and traveled widely as a Rhodes Scholar. He is the winner of the de Grummond Medallion for “lifetime contribution to the field of children’s and young adult literature” and many other awards. T. A. Barron is the author of more than 30 highly acclaimed books, many of which are international bestsellers. They include The Lost Years of Merlin (now being developed into a feature film), The Great Tree of Avalon (a New York Times bestselling series), The Ancient One (the tale of a brave girl and a magical tree), and The Hero’s Trail (nonfiction stories of courageous kids).

Though he’d dreamed as a young man of becoming a writer, he couldn’t find anyone to publish his first novel. He joined a successful 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.

In 2000, he founded a national award to honor outstanding young people who help their communities or the environment: the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors 25 highly diverse, public-spirited kids each year. He recently produced a documentary film, Dream Big, profiling seven winners of the Barron Prize. When not writing or speaking, T. A. Barron serves on many boards including Princeton University, where he helped to create the Princeton Environmental Institute, and The Wilderness Society, which recently honored him with its highest award for conservation work. His favorite pastime is hiking, camping, or skiing in Colorado with his family.

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5 stars
3,239 (40%)
4 stars
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3 stars
1,667 (20%)
2 stars
255 (3%)
1 star
63 (<1%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 112 reviews
Profile Image for Denae Christine.
Author 4 books163 followers
August 23, 2013
I only read the whole series because I hoped it would redeem itself by having a good ending or the completion would make me happy. Alas, not.

I've had trouble describing the issues with this series, but after five books I might be able to manage. Ahem.

Merlin is not clever. I see answers waaaay before he does, and he never thinks outside the box for his solutions.
The conflicts of the book are made to sound astronomically difficult then are resolved with little to no effort in little to no time.
Too many creatures can't speak clearly ("Me givegive you a hugsily" is just the sort of dialogue that every non-human exhibits).
The magic is not well-defined. Worse than that, it seems made up on the go. Merlin has a problem? He thinks about it for a day, then tries a spell and BAM problem solved. And then he never uses that sort of magic again.
There are too many characters spread too thin. The number of characters wouldn't be an issue if they were developed or if they actually added something to the plot. Too many times the characters just seem thrown in because TAB needed a character there, but the plot isn't advanced.
Too much joking around. This wastes time and doesn't seem fun but only seems dull. Merlin and Hallia run around like deer again, so what? Merlin tries swinging on some vines, so what? If these instances added to the plot, or added to the character, or took only a paragraph to tell, I wouldn't mind.
Merlin forgets things easily. In this book, he forgets to tell people about impending disaster three or four times, and his very quest was to go spread the word about this disaster. But, alas, he forgot. Oops.
To artificially build tension, there are a lot of "time bombs", or deadlines. Merlin has two weeks to save Fincayra, or one month to learn the special magics, or one day to find someone. Much time is spent on describing how impossible the deadlines are; then Merlin wastes half his time either trying the wrong thing, forgetting something important, or recovering from some wound, and he still manages to meet the deadline, barely. Problem is, I, as reader, do not feel like Merlin is trying very hard. I feel like he only has to put a little effort into it in order to win.
And I despised the ending.
There is too much mundane description, especially about food and plants.
Too much traveling. I'm not sure why this one bothers me so much, but Merlin never seems to be in the same place in any book for more than a couple chapters, and he rarely returns to a place he's been. I like stories more grounded, I suppose.

Good things:
Um, well, there were some connections to the King Arthur tales, like Merlin's sword or the giants' Eston Henj. A couple lines were funny; but the roll-your-eyes-funny not the let's-laugh-funny.
Profile Image for Alyssa Nelson.
511 reviews143 followers
March 21, 2011
I can’t help but feel that this book is lacking in complexity. For me, the characters are generally shallow and the conflicts are fairly simple. While I enjoy the classic “good versus evil” story, I would like more depth. The simplicity of the conflict and strong emotional reactions of the characters cause this book to be almost melodramatic, and sometimes the courses of action Merlin takes simply don’t make sense.

Despite the flaws, I still enjoyed this story. It has good lessons to teach, and a creative and somewhat entertaining story line. If you are a fan of Merlin, TA Barron, I would definitely recommend it. If not, it’s a decent read, just not the best.
22 reviews
January 27, 2019
A Wizard’s Wings is the fifth book in T. A. Barron’s Merlin series. It was an okay book, and I would recommend it to younger teens or tweens, as older teens and adults would definitely get bored with this book. It was a short read, it took me about 3 hours to read. It is a quicker paced book than the previous books in this series, with an urgent tone to it. The introduction of a new secondary villain was interesting. The beginning was a bit slow, but it quickly got into the action. The ending was a nice conclusion to the book, wrapping it up nicely.
Profile Image for Brian Zhou.
5 reviews1 follower
February 21, 2013
In the series, The Lost Years of Merlin, T. A. Barron does a great job filling in the gaps of Merlin's youth and "lost years". What most people know about Merlin is that he was the mentor of King Arthur and a great wizard. The thing that is not revealed is Merlin's youth and his childhood. T. A. Barron describes this very well and it fits nicely into the gap of Merlin's youth.

-----------------------------SPOILER ALERT--------------------------

My favorite part of this series was when Merlin goes to seek the Seven Songs of Wizardry. I liked this because it marks the beginning of Merlin's path of magic. It is the beginning of how he discovers his own powers and capabilities. Another part I enjoyed was the first book. For me, after I read the beginning of the book, I was instantly hooked and I wanted to keep reading until I had finished it. The introduction was exciting and I always wanted to know what was going to happen next.

T. A. Barron uses great word choice in his books. He creates very detailed sentences: "In that first instant, I saw two things at once, both lit by the new morning light: a line of waves just ahead, rising strangely high-and beyong, a rugged little island with sheer cliffs of dark rock" (Barron 279). T. A. Barron describes things with great detail and imagery. You can imagine exactly what is going on and almost see through Merlin's perspective: "The tentacles slowly unwound themselves from the branches, releasing us at last. IN unison, the supple limbs slid back under the waves. Their menacing glow lingered briefly, hovering just beneath the surface, then also disappeared" (Barron 273).

T. A. Barron has also written other works. He has written the Merlin's Dragon trilogy, the Great Tree of Avalon trilogy, and a few other books, too. The Merlin's Dragon trilogy is a continuation of the Lost Years of Merlin series and the Great Tree of Avalon trilogy is a continuation of the Merlin's Dragon trilogy. I recommend all of these books and they are some of my favorites out of all the books I have read. If you have not read these, do yourself a favor and check them out right now. Enjoy!
Profile Image for Janna.
35 reviews
April 22, 2015
End book of the series. All the books in the series are very well written for a young audience. While many books in the young adult section have an adult feel, this series maintains a youthful vibe. This is a virtue not a fault. I love the story Barron has woven about Merlin, just the right balance of darkness and light just like the character of Arthur legends. Merlin his a boy first with all the faults that come with youth and has to learn how to be a man. Fantastical creatures, friends and foes alike, a beautiful story. This book felt a little long, but it is the last in a series so Barron was trying to wrap up a lot of loose strings, and make his world work into the Arthur legends we know. While I applaud his effort, it felt a little long and could have done without some of the story lines. All in all a great series, but you can't start with this book. Go back to the beginning and start from there. You won't be able to read just one. I might have to do just that and read the series to my almost 8 yr old next year. She loves a good adventure story.
Profile Image for Lindsey (Bring My Books).
608 reviews132 followers
February 18, 2023
Really great ending to this series - I loved the pace and urgency of this installment, and the conclusion was definitely satisfactory. That being said - going into this volume, I had a general idea what was going to happen at the end, but it was still bittersweet.

I read this series as a young teenager (I think 11-15?) and didn't know that TA Barron had continued the series until much later - part of me really wants to continue with the ones that Barron published in 2008 and after, but I don't know if it will ruin the magic for me. I want so badly to revisit the characters and themes and relationships that Barron created in this original quintet, but I don't know if there will be enough in the new books to make it worth it for me.
Profile Image for Luis Correa.
214 reviews11 followers
July 15, 2011
This one was completely new to me. After the fifth time around, Barron's slights become painfully obvious. Cliffhanger after cliffhanger, moments of crisis solved by a constant stream of deus-ex-machina, Jar-Jar Binks-like characters, a slew of moralizing, and buildup is really only repetition. Midway though, I was prepared to really like this book, because, for once, he had written extended scenes and clever situations, but the way the major crisis in the book was resolved was probably one of the dumbest things I've ever read. Ever.
6,094 reviews66 followers
June 18, 2020
3,5/5. Que dire… Cette série m’intéresse sur le fond et je continue à espérer qu’elle deviendra un peu plus adulte en avançant, mais j’en suis de moins en moins sûr. C’est de la littérature jeunesse certes, mais je m’attendais à quelque chose d’un peu plus profond quand même. C’est très léger.

De plus, je croyais en commençant le premier tome, que nous serions dans les années perdus (la jeunesse de Merlin), mais qu’ensuite on avancerait dans le temps, alors que finalement on reste pas mal dans sa jeunesse, en tout cas c’est toujours le cas en terminant ce cinquième tome., même si une certaine porte semble s’ouvrir… Il reste encore de nombreux tomes et c’est une série que je veux mener à terme, car je suis curieux de voir jusqu’où l’auteur ira.

Pour ce cinquième tome ne particulier, on reste dans la même lignée. Peut-être un peu plus d’action que les tomes précédents. L’histoire évolue lentement, on rencontre de nombreux personnages et créatures, on bâtit un univers une brique à la fois. Honnêtement c’est bien, j’aurais sans doute beaucoup apprécié plus jeune, mais en tant qu’adulte je ne peux que considérer que c’est léger et un peu répétitif par moment. Par contre, ce tome était un peu moins prévisible que les autres et j’ai vécu quelques surprises, ce que j’ai bien aimé.

Je recommande pour la jeunesse, mais moins pour les adultes, sauf si, comme moi, vous vous lancez dans une quête littéraire de tout ce qui entoure le roi Arthur et Merlin!
138 reviews2 followers
October 12, 2019
I don't even want to talk about that climax and how incredibly dumb it was. So instead I'm going to talk about Domnu. I'd forgotten to mention her in my reviews for the previous, so even though she doesn't show up in this one I figured I'd bring it up here. Domnu's a great character. She's actually one of the most consistently good parts of the series. Positioning her as the amoral point between Dagda's Good and Rhita Gawr's Evil makes a neat little trifecta that just feels right for this world, and said amorality is remarkably nuanced given the context. SO IT'S A SHAME SHE DISAPPEARS FOR NO REASON. Book 4 takes place practically on her front lawn but she's nowhere to be seen, and can't even be bothered to show up for the end of the world? Maybe Barron thought that with the Galitor gone there was no reason for her to be around, but if so then he was wrong and stupid.

So in the end, the book that I remembered the least (Book 3) turned out to be the best one in the series, and I'm never going to reread anything from my childhood ever again.
8 reviews
October 16, 2018
THE WINGS OF MERLIN by T.A. Barron is set in the magical lands of Fincayra with young Merlin as the protagonist. I found this book from reading the rest of the series and this is the last book of the lost years of Merlin series.

In Fincayra the longest night is only a few weeks away and on that night terrible things are said to happen. Merlin is part of a prophecy to stop that longest night when his worst enemy Rhita Gawr will appear with an army of undead. Merlin's quest is to gather every creature in Fincayra and make his own army to fight Rhita Gawr.

I thought how the book ended was good yet sad but I enjoyed it nonetheless. My favorite part of the book is when Merlin swung from a vine and took a great fall.

I thought this book was good, some similar books are the previous books to the series and a different series called Avalon. Anyone who enjoys fairytale's with some magic would love this book.
Profile Image for Lynn Wallace.
Author 2 books26 followers
January 19, 2021

I can think of two great examples of backstories in the literary world. One is T. A. Barron’s Merlin series. These five books trace the origin of the great wizard Merlin – made so famous in the stories of King Arthur – starting from his early life as a young man. For me, it was fascinating to discover a version of Merlin without a long white beard or wizard’s robes. I loved watching the various skills he acquired, his romance with the deer woman Hallia, his relationship with his sister, etc. In fact, just seeing him as a young man, uncertain and still learning (as opposed to the king’s wisest advisor) was entirely refreshing.

I have more to say on this book (and others!) in my blog! Read it here:
100 reviews
November 12, 2021
“I’ll never know another time as wondrous as these years on Fincayra.” I sighed heavily. “How can I even start to describe them? Impossible. They’re far too dear for words. And so I won’t speak of them—at all. No, forever more, I’ll think of them as my lost years.”

"A story, like a feather, should be free, allowed to float wherever the winds may blow. That, in truth, is why I have chosen to share this tale at last. May it travel far, though it is but one tiny feather on the unending winds of time."

"An idea that is lost may yet be reborn, but a day that is lost is gone forever."

"And the worth of every child is untold—beyond any jewel, any treasure. Every child could be a poet, a healer … or a wizard.”

“If you ruin a nation’s children, you ruin its future."
Profile Image for Christina.
304 reviews2 followers
September 6, 2021
OMG we finally finished reading the Merlin series! (What is a series of five books called? A quintilogy?)

I told my son we need to wait at least a year before we turn to reading Arthur. I need that much time to figure out which author does justice to the saga. (Recommendations welcomed.)

As for Merlin, the book left behind characters Merlin does not need to take with him into adulthood and left the proverbial door open to expand into the grown up fantasy of Arthur and his Knights and Merlin's role in that story.
Profile Image for Annika.
121 reviews19 followers
July 4, 2018
Alles in allem ist es eine eher durchschnittliche Serie, die ich nicht noch einmal lesen werde. Wahrscheinlich bin ich als Zielgruppe zu alt um die Geschichte noch spannend zu finden. Ich hatte auch das Gefühl, dass die Geschichte des Jungen Merlin nur bedingt an das anknüpft, was aus den Geschichte um König Artus bekannt ist.

Insgesamt 2.5 Sterne.
38 reviews1 follower
January 27, 2020
Last book in the series- wrapped things up with a bow while pointing towards the rest of merlins story.
After having read my way through this series for the first time after reading the first book many times as a teen I don’t think the series itself is as gripping as the first book. It’s a bit formulaic, but still a good book and worth the read.
March 24, 2020
The dooming threat was set to be incredibly dangerous and inevitable. The island was being attacked by a god. However in the end it's solved in an incredibly anticlimactic way.

I lost count the times that Merlin was saved by deus ex machina. After the 3rd book and the 4th book, I thought that this series is going to end with a high note. It ended in such a cliche and childish way.
Profile Image for Melody.
273 reviews2 followers
March 8, 2023
This series will forever have a place in my heart. I am so glad my husband convinced me to read it, as it is one of his favorites. It may not be the best written story, for all of its cliches from time to time, but the author himself writes well and it was an absolutely delightful world to live in for a bit. I'm excited now to see how Basil carries the story.
Profile Image for Nicholas Mack.
167 reviews
October 7, 2019
Leading up to the final battle, Merlin sure spends a lot of time unconscious but he does finally learn about forgiveness. Considering the results of the final battle, I'm looking forward to where this series goes from here.
Profile Image for Laura Mitchell.
416 reviews
July 5, 2020
I liked the story, but I though there were too many narrative points to keep track of, all occurring within a very short time frame - save the world! and save the children! and discover your destiny! in two weeks! Also I was frustrated by the linear thinking of the main character.
Profile Image for Judith Chelekis.
289 reviews8 followers
May 18, 2021
A large battle ends this 5-part series. Forgiveness seems to be the order of the day. And loss. And cryptic messages in ballad and prophecy. Merlin continues to grow and become stronger and a better wizard. A satisfying 5 books but is it the end?
273 reviews1 follower
June 17, 2021
I love these books so much!! It has been really cool to watch Merlin grow. Especially thinking back to the beginning of the series, he has grown a lot. Such a good story! Fincayra is such an enchanting place. I also loved how this book also brought in and tied together a lot of things from previous books. I'm so glad Merlin decided to share the story of his lost years! :)
Profile Image for Clare Farus.
121 reviews1 follower
June 16, 2021
Yah, all these books kinda have the same formula. That's most likely what's bothering me, and the ending seemed forced. I don't think Merlin would just randomly go yah ill leavevmy family randomly forever. I...ugh
Profile Image for Jason Prodoehl.
216 reviews5 followers
March 8, 2022
A wonderful conclusion to the series. This book, though aimed at middle readers, is a delight to read for anyone who enjoys a legend-type story. This is book 5 of a series. Though it could be read on its own, it would be much more enjoyable to start at book one.
Profile Image for Chris Seltzer.
220 reviews
July 3, 2020
Ultimately a satisfying conclusion, though the plot stretches the reader's disbelief with the emergence of a pervious character.
Profile Image for Aberdeen Jack Night.
10 reviews2 followers
March 10, 2022
Absolutely fantastic. The last few chapters were pretty sad but very good still.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
9 reviews
June 2, 2022
This book finished the novels about Merlin's lost years. Mr. Barron continues the series with Merlin helping Arthur. This book ended sad to me.
Displaying 1 - 30 of 112 reviews

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