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The Merlin Conspiracy

(Magids #2)

3.93  ·  Rating details ·  6,167 ratings  ·  390 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 3.93  · 
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 ·  6,167 ratings  ·  390 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
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

Well, who would have thought? I certainly didn't see myself DNFing a Diana Wynne Jones book. I got halfway through this one and it's been such slow labour getting through it, I just realised I don't even care where this is headed. The sad thing is that I don't even know why - there's nothing wrong with it. The characters are fine, the setting is fine, the plot is fine... it's got Diana Wynne Jones' whimsical writing and generally has all the makings of a book I would normally like.

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
Deborah O'Carroll
YES TO THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!!!! <3

I need an elephant. AN ELEPHANT.

Also Romanov. Yesssss.


(I may coherent a review someday.)

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.
Mar 30, 2021 rated it liked it
Shelves: reviewed
Better than Deep Secret in every regard, starting with the title. For one, it does the “everything comes together at the end” better; for another, every character is more compelling.

Including Nick, who is even more self-centered than Rupert. Is such a thing even possible?! Here is how he ends his own story:
I’ll go when I’ve made sure that my dad will be all right for the rest of his life.
I mean. It’s unimpressive. But he’s a great narrator for all that. He does some of that annoying “this wou
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
Rosamund Taylor
Dec 15, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, ya
Roddy lives on the Isles of Blest, a place where magic is everywhere, and she follows the King's Progress as he travels the land. Nick lives in a world much like our own, but he knows about magic and is desperate to become a wizard. One day, their paths interconnect: Roddy uses a spell to call for help, and it finds Nick, much to his surprise. Two stories run parallel -- Roddy's desperate attempts to untangle a plot that may dismantle the magic in all of the universes, and Nick's travels from wo ...more
Apr 24, 2022 rated it it was amazing
Violating my no stars for nostalgia bait rule to say: forever and always ten stars

my only complaint is that there are only two books in this series because there are so many things hinted at or dropped as throwaway lines and I desperately want a full novel devoted to at least two dozen of them
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
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
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
lucky little cat
I somehow missed this one back when I was reading and rereading all the Diana Wynne Jones I could get my hands on.

This one is more solemn and Dark is Rising -ish than much of DWJ, probably because it's aimed at older readers (YA instead of middle grade readers).

Flawed* but fun. Three and a half stars rounded up to four.

*Alternating narrators had me making notes on whose wizarding uncle or force-of-life grandfather was whose. Also, just too many characters at the expense of character developm
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
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? ...more
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!*
Jan 08, 2022 rated it it was amazing
What better way to start the year than with one of my all-time favorite books? Diana Wynne Jones has written some fantastic books, and The Merlin Conspiracy does not disappoint. Every time, I'm surprised by each new detail I find in the plot of this intricately spun story. Highly recommend this to anyone who loves other worlds, magical creatures, mythology based magic, and having separate narrators whose stories suddenly and dramatically connect. Add in a dose of evil moms, living cities, scary ...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.
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
Maureen E
Sep 02, 2008 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fantasy, young-adult
So, I could have (and should have) written a whole post on Deep Secret because I LOVE IT SO MUCH. Maybe not quite as much as Howl, which is probably the epitome of Diana Wynne Jones. But Deep Secret…man, I love that book. Hence reading it twice. In one month. Basically Rupert Venables is amazing. And all the other characters are too, but I can’t say much more for fear of ruining it. The Merlin Conspiracy follows one of the main characters (Nick) from Deep Secret. READ IT SECOND. There are huge w ...more
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. ...more
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. ...more
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!
Courtney Johnston
Mar 28, 2010 rated it liked it
Shelves: borrowed, fiction
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.
Jannah A
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
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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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