The Seven Songs of Merlin
by T.A. Barron
The second book in the Lost Years of Merlin
sequence finds Emrys Merlin on an assignment with the Flowering Harp. His task is to waken the Dark Hills, and bring forth life and growth again where the evil powers of Rhita Gawr had blighted it. But a little power goes to the young would-be wizard's head. Soon his own hubris (this book's Word of the Month, which means "excessive pride") has gotten him in a lot of trouble. And to get out again, he has to learn the Seven Songs of his wizard grandfather, Tuatha.
The problem is, he has to learn the "soul" of each song in sequence, but the lessons are spread so wide apart in the magical land of Fincayra that it could take months to learn them all. And Merlin doesn't have months. He has four phases of the moon to learn the seven songs, then fight a terrible ogre, enter the Otherworld (maybe a more accurate name would be Underworld), and bring back the elixir of the great spirit Dagda before his mother Elen dies. Because you-know-who (Rhita Gawr) has put a death hex on her, and she has that long to live.
Accompanied by his friend Rhia, who has good instincts and knows all about "trusting in the berries," as well as a jester named Bumblewy who is so unfunny that it's almost funny, Merlin sets out to visit dwarves, giants, dragons, and other amazing creatures and places; to encounter tricksters and traitors, ghosts and visions, a sister of the wind, and a certain robber of magical items who figures later in Merlin's career. He learns the soul of changing, binding, protecting, naming, leaping, eliminating, and seeing. And in one last desperate gambit, he takes on the world of spirits with all its dangers and uncertainties.
And in the process he learns (at least) one more lesson, perhaps more valuable than all: humility. By the tale's end, Merlin is well on his way to becoming a true wizard.
Filled with elements that will captivate all lovers of the Arthur-Merlin legends, as well as the works of Lloyd Alexander, C.S. Lewis, and even J.K. Rowling, this is a powerful character-driven story, a gripping plot-driven adventure, and a beautifully realized new world created for your pleasure, all at the same time. Here, I perceive, is another series for Harry Potter fans-- and non-fans-- to embrace. Take a look!
Recommended Age: 12+
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