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The Merlin Conspiracy

(Magids #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,802 ratings  ·  345 reviews
When the Merlin of Blest dies, everyone thinks it's a natural death. But Roddy and Grundo, two children traveling with the Royal Court, soon discover the truth. The Merlin's replacement and other courtiers are scheming to steal the magic of Blest for their own purposes.

Roddy enlists the help of Nick, a boy from another world, and the three turn to their own impressive powe
Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 11th 2004 by Greenwillow Books (first published 2003)
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Honya I didn't even realize there was a first volume until I checked this page out. The Merlin Conspiracy totally flows and makes sense (in its own weird wa…moreI didn't even realize there was a first volume until I checked this page out. The Merlin Conspiracy totally flows and makes sense (in its own weird way) completely on its own. First volume definitely not necessary.(less)

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Average rating 3.92  · 
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 ·  5,802 ratings  ·  345 reviews

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Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
The first time I read this book I was ten and I did not like it at all. Things have changed.

10-year-old me: Computers? In my fantasy book? Sacre bleu!

14-year-old me: Magic + technology = pretty damn cool. Refreshing.

10yom: Multiple magic systems? Booooo.

14yom: Multiple magic systems? Awesome layering effect.

10yom: Roddy and Nick are both unheroic heroes who whine!

14yom: It's interesting how characters who are perfectly sympathetic when viewed from within their own POV can seem difficult or annoy
Oct 10, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: fantasy fans, middle grade to adult; kids with dyslexia
In Diana Wynne Jones' "multiverse," a series of parallel universes, a couple of kids discover a conspiracy to take over the magic of Blest, a key world in the multiverse -- but of course, none of the adults believe them. In the course of unraveling the conspiracy, Roddy discovers strange things about her family, takes on a painful magical heritage, and summons a magician from another world to help her, only to find that it's just a boy scarcely older than herself, and far behind her in magical k ...more
Book Riot Community
This book is one of my favorite by Diana Wynne Jones, and I always return to it every year or so, just to remind myself how amazing and enchanting it is. The Merlin Conspiracy follows heroine Roddy as she tries to uncover the magical conspiracy going on in the royal court. Her path intersects with the world-traversing, accidentally magical Nick, who is pretty much the definition of an unimpressed teenage boy. Sorcerous intrigue, sharp-tongued snark, and mindblowing worldbuilding ensues. It’s eve ...more
I loved this one! It's full of wonderful and lively characters - I like Roddy, Grundo and Nick but the elephant is probably my favourite!

Nick had a backstory that I thought was a bit vague until I realised this is actually a sequel. I'll have to go back and read the first book now, but I don't think it's necessary to read it first because everything else made sense.

Romanov is a very interesting character. I would have liked to have seen more about him and his background. It's such a packed sto
This is definitely not my favourite series by Diana Wynne Jones, but I did like this book more than its predecessor and there are still some fun bits all through.
Robin Stevens
Aug 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Diana Wynne Jones creates the most incredible worlds and characters - it's always a pleasure to spend time with them. (10+)

*Please note: this review is meant as a recommendation only. If you use it in any marketing material, online or anywhere on a published book without asking permission from me first, I will ask you to remove that use immediately. Thank you!*
Feb 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I read the book sometime when I was in High School - there everyone would start guessing just how old I am. It's quite funny to think of that. Anyway. This is definitely my favourite genre. Fantasy and magic. Well, I am one of those who does have her head in the clouds and not afraid to actually admit it. I loved every character by the time I was finished with each line. Sure Nick was comical at some point I wanted to stab him, Roddy was being too weird for me and there was several time I really ...more
Deborah O'Carroll
YES TO THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! <3

I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT.

Also Romanov. Yesssss.


(I may coherent a review someday.)

Pam Baddeley
As a big fan of Diana Wynne Jones, I had hoped for an absorbing and well characterised story. I wasn't sure what audience this would be pitched at, initially, because it is set in the same magical system as an earlier book, Deep Secret, which is aimed more at adults and YA. This book seems to be for a younger audience. Firstly, the two viewpoint characters who narrate the story in first person in alternate sections are mid-teens: at least, Nick is definitely 14-going-on-15, as he is a character ...more
May 07, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: dwj, fantasy
My previous acquaintance with Diana Wynne Jones was through her The Tough Guide to Fantasyland (Vista 1996), a thoroughly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek encyclopaedic tour of the conventions of post-Tolkien fantasy writing. This outing for the much-published children's writer includes much of that irreverant humour (we meet an elephant called Mini and a coffee-addicted SF-detective writer called Maxwell Hyde, for example, whose name seems to be a compound of a well-known instant coffee and a literary ...more
Aug 07, 2008 rated it liked it
The Merlin Conspiracy was a romp, although I didn't find it to be as clever as some of her other books. The back and forth first person narration made it difficult to get a real feel for the main characters of the book, and some of the relationships seemed forced and one dimensional. However, the author's true gift is the way she can create other worlds and drop you into them seamlessly, without all the tiresome introductions. This was certainly a book that highlighted that strength, pulling mul ...more
Aug 05, 2020 rated it it was amazing
The good thing about not having read this earlier, is that I get to read it for the first time now. On lockdown, when I can't go many places… 🤷‍♀️

This book spans so many worlds, it's a fabulous way to escape reality for a bit. And it's made me nostalgic for all the books I used to read as a kid. Quite a lot of which are also by DWJ, I think there's more of her work in my near future.
Mar 23, 2017 rated it liked it
I started reading this book without knowing that it was the second in a series. If I had known, I would have waited until I could get the first book. Even so, the story was pretty easy to follow once I got a grasp on the characters. I think that my favourites were Roddy's Welsh grandfather (who is truly dreadful, awful, and terrible in the original senses of the words, as well as being quite kind and gentle), Mini the elephant, and those incredibly annoying but also entertaining Izzys (think Lyd ...more
Feb 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nick desperately wants to travel to other worlds. He's actually from another one, originally, and has traveled to a few. But that was in the (not-so-distant) past. Now he and his adopted dad live more or less peacefully on Earth, and for all Nick's scheming to be a Magid and once more walk the worlds, he seems destined for an ordinary life. Then someone sends him stumbling into a place quite different . . .

Roddy travels with the King's Progress all over England. In Blest, the king, the Merlin, a
Aug 26, 2009 rated it it was ok
Shelves: fantasy
I hated The Merlin Conspiracy when I first read it in 2003. On re-read to decide whether or not to give my copy away, it's not as bad as I remembered. Maybe that's because now I've read the book it's the loose sequel to (the hilarious Deep Secret)?

But I'm inclined to think it's not so bad because, well, I don't find The Merlin Conspiracy to be much of anything. It's action-packed and while I didn't take much of a shine to the characters (not even Nick who I enjoyed in the preceding book!), neit
Wynne Jones is one of those authors I suddenly heard about from everyone when I first came to LJ. An author that everyone I know seems to love and adore, and that I had never even heard of, since I grew up in a town which had a library approximately the size of my bedroom, and one bookshop that was smaller again.

My sister got a copy of this in a second-hand shop the other day, and when she'd finished with it, I decided that I might as well see what all the fuss was about.

Do I get kicked out of f
Sep 22, 2007 rated it liked it
In a neighboring universe, two children discover that their king's traveling court has been subverted from within. To rescue their country, Roddy and Grundo will have to muster strange powers through the aid (and occasional hindrance) of their scattered families, along with Nick, a boy from Earth who has magical ambitions.

It seems weirdly reductive to summarize the plot of The Merlin Conspiracy, because the book feels like dozens of tiny episodes nestled together. This impression is further exag
Sep 06, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's really more like 3.5 stars, but it's Diana Wynne Jones, so I was always going to be erring on the generous side. This book hasn't quite grabbed me. I loved the universe, I loved the different types of magic, I loved the idea of the Magids keeping an eye on them all, and of course Romanov - free agent extraordinaire. I loved how Roddy got the magic from the past uploaded onto her brain, there was a lot I loved about the world mechanics. I just didn't hugely love the story, or the main charac ...more
Amusing. Also, as I was reading this I could really appreciate the amount of effort that Diana Wynne Jones put into this book. It was...complicated. But not in a bad way. Just in a kind of confusing DWJ-like way. Like everything made sense once you'd finished and thought about it, and all the magical stuff was made very realistic and very sensible and the characters were (for the most part) not caricatures of good and evil and had surprisingly realistic reactions to each other. Good stuff.
Jan 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
Interesting to read this against Lewis's That Hideous Strength--there is some of the same material running through both: a conspiracy to take over England and seriously shift the power relationships between land and people, and an arthurian regeneration. DWJ holds up beautifully against Lewis, and certainly has a more comfortable approach to gender for a contemporary reader. Lewis, on the other hand, does have Mr. Bultitude.
Beth E
Dec 17, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy
I really like this book. It has a very elaborate and intriguing plot. I could not put it down when I read it.

The really genius part is that the narration is split between Nick, a boy who lives on Earth although he wasn't born there, and Roddy, a girl who lives on another world called Blest. It is interesting to see events from both of their eyes, and it means that both girls and boys can read this booth.

I especially love the elephant character, named Tiny. She is so much fun!
Angela Tuson
Apr 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I love DWJ's books (well, really her brain) so much now that I should start a cult. This one - this book - reminded me of Alan Garner's Owl Service, only bigger, wider, more imagination. It would make a tremendous movie. The two principal characters were suitably Young Adult, the child characters delightful (especially the vile Izzy's), and the wizardy types better than ever. What's WRONG with the BBC that they can't make a DWJ series?
Courtney Johnston
Mar 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, borrowed
An expert bit of YA fantasy. Well paced, well plotted, appealing (and repulsive) characters, and all the threads nicely tied off at the end - which might be why I liked, and not loved, the book. Maybe that's one of the things that differentiates the adult-me reader from the child-me; I'm happier now with a more ambiguous ending.

I'm not sure I'll become a DWJ fan, but I'm certainly an admirer.
Jun 06, 2009 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Wynn Jones is every bit as good as Rowling at showing us different worlds and making them believable and accessible. I was left wanting more. This is my first book of hers, and from what I hear, all of her books will leave me this way. I can't wait to try my next one!
Jannah (Cloud Child)
Was fun to revisit. Definitely has a completely different tone the the other in this duo. More aimed at a younger censored generation. Still fun. The complete lack of apprehension by the majority of the adults was a bit crazy but otherwise cool
Good adventure story, I liked it. I actually got the audiobook that David Tennant co-reads. I highly recommend his sexy Scottish voice whispering in your ear.
Sadly only available as an abridged audibook, but fortunately not _too_ drastically abridged.

David Tennant sounds way too old to be a fifteen year-old though.
Mar 16, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fantasy, fiction
Different from the first book, I didn't enjoy it as much as Deep Secret. The characters were decent, but I felt that there were too many balls up in the air, action for actions sake. I suspect I would've enjoyed it more if I was younger, which would be nice but not an option in this multiverse ;) ...more
Jan 04, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: rereads, 2017
I love Diana Wynne Jones, and I'll probably have to dig up the rest of the books in this series. I have had this one on my bookshelf for years and I revisited it for fun - not disappointed at all.
Lisa Findley
Sep 21, 2020 rated it liked it
I enjoyed reading this multi-world romp, but there were frustrating pieces of it that held me back from totally immersing myself in it. This book is absolutely packed with stray details of world building that intrigue but don’t cohere, and characters who interact but don’t really engage with one another. I found the betrayal revealed near the end to be very upsetting, and the book’s lack of follow-up on it pretty shocking. Also, the book is very off-balance in terms of the gender of those who ar ...more
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Diana was born in London, the daughter of Marjorie (née Jackson) and Richard Aneurin Jones, both of whom were teachers. When war was announced, shortly after her fifth birthday, she was evacuated to Wales, and thereafter moved several times, including periods in Coniston Water, in York, and back in London. In 1943 her family finally settled in Thaxted, Essex, where her parents worked running an ed ...more

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