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The Merlin Conspiracy

(Magids #2)

3.92  ·  Rating details ·  5,527 ratings  ·  318 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 imp
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…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  · 
Rating details
 ·  5,527 ratings  ·  318 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 sympath
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
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 from De ...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 split pers ...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
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, t
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!), neither was I offended by them.
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 exa
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
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
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 (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
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!
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.
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.
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.
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
One of my favourite parts of Wynne Jones’ writing is the complex worlds that she creates. On one hand we have Nick’s world, which is rather similar to ours. Then we have Roddy’s world, that relies on magic to the point where it’s part of the political system. Then on top of that, there are multiple other worlds all layered onto these worlds, each with their own rules for magic. Wynne Jones creates rules not only for the magic, but how to move between these worlds, how these worlds depend on one ...more
Thong May Han
Apr 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
This is another interesting story on magic from Diana Wynne Jones. It revolves around two characters, Roddy and Nick, who are somehow entangled in a web of conspiracy that could potentially change the world of magic.

More on that... Roddy is the daughter of two court wizards in the land of Blest. Along with her friend Grundo, she stumbled upon a sinister plot of treason involving a few high ranking court wizards. Unfortunately, those who can help her do not believe her word, and those who does,
Mar 04, 2013 rated it liked it
The story of Nick (also in DWJ's Deep Secret) and Roddy as they fight to save Blest from evil machinations that no one else seems to see.

DWJ is at it again with world hopping and time travel twists galore! Not that it disjoints the story, it actually fits together quite well, but the book did feel like three different books to me. All had the same underlying story (things going wrong in Blest), but the character's growth, location changes and "mini" stories within the tale, let you feel like you finis

Jun 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Although listed as the second book in the Magids series, this one works perfectly well as a standalone, and mandatory reading of the first isn't required (but is highly recommended, as the first novel is far better, both in terms of wit and plot).

The Merlin Conspiracy was both a thrill and a disappointment. It has the same fast-paced and action-packed style that one can expect from a Diana Wynne Jones book, where precocious teens are faced with seemingly huge, insurmountable problems, and depen
J. Ford
Apr 03, 2011 rated it really liked it
This has got to be one of my favorite fantasy books. It is a shame the author died recently. I would have to say it falls in the middle of her lighter style of writing (Howl's Moving Castle) and her darker writing style (The Time of the Ghost).

The story is about a boy named Nick who appears to be a normal boy from Earth who travels through different worlds. He travels to a world called Blest where he meets Roddy, the daughter of two court wizards. Roddy and her friend Ambrose Temple/
Dec 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This is by far the longest Jones book I've read, unless The Dark Lord of Derkholm was quite this long. I don't expect it was. A lot happened in this book and, with traditional Jones flair, it was really complicated. The length of the book makes her plotting both much more impressive and much harder to understand. It's the kind of story that could bear at least two rereads, I think.

(Unless you're just smarter than me, or read slower. I'm not especially great at following complex plots
Dec 23, 2008 rated it really liked it
Just barely finished this book a couple minutes ago. (Its 1:05. In the morning. My head hurts.)

I liked this book, but on the other hand, I didn't really. Its... hard to say, exacty. (I know, thats not very helpful). It was interesting, but... well, first of all, there wasn't so much a magic system as there was a whole slew of magic systems that were partially developed, briefly talked about, or almost mentioned. It was, in my opinion, too much. I would have prefered that one, or mayb
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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

Other books in the series

Magids (2 books)
  • Deep Secret (Magids, #1)
“Goats," said Maxwell Hyde, "are a special case. Mad as hatters, all of them.” 59 likes
“I am a total zombie just after I wake up. It takes me half an hour even to get my eyes open. Ask anyone who knows me. I can't see; I can't talk properly; I can't do anything without help. The only think I can do properly is think. And I know how to exploit my condition. I've had years of practice.” 40 likes
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