...Okay, so maybe that sounds weird, I mean, don't we normally want to meet the author in person? Well, yes, but the Author of this book is actually someone that I have had the pleasure of knowing for quite some time, albeit somewhat unofficially. See, three years ago I met the Author's charming and delightful daughter and we struck up a friendship which lasts to this day. In fact, I'm responsible for her family getting her a dog, but that's a really long story and not really the point to this blog post.
So, while yes I was excited to meet Robert, I had already had an interview with him pre publication, knew his daughter, and had heard lots about him and his family over the years. Plus, when I won an art contest, I also got to have a pre publication version of Merlin's Blade as my winnings. All in all, I felt like I knew Robert in many ways. What I really wanted was to meet the sword!
I knew the blade had been made by Robert himself (and seeing as my brother is a knife maker/gunsmith, I thought that was cool, since I understand the basic concepts of the craft), and I had seen multiple pictures of it that really made me salivate-- that's right, I said salivate, I can't help it, I'm an artist, I'm drawn to masterpieces of any kind. So I couldn't wait until I got to "meet" the sword, and it's author, in person. I wasn't disappointed.
So when I heard about Robert's contest (which is a brilliant marketing strategy, I must say), I knew I had to enter. And I had to win!!! I say had, but the reality is that I have to win, since I haven't yet.
Due to some personal things going on in my life, and extenuating circumstances like my barn burning down and all four of our vehicles exploding in the fire, I managed to get behind in the contest, but I'm back on track and hoping to take the first place slot before long for the first part of the competition.
Which leads me to this blog post. In the hopes to help rack up more points, I am posting a review of Merlin's blade, which you will find below, as well as redirecting you guys to really cool book trailer! *waits for you to go watch *
Okay, now for my review which, by the way, did not have to be favorable in order for me to collect my points.
TRUE TO LORE
It is very difficult to write a book centered in the world of Arthurian Legends and characters, without making it seem like something we’ve read before. In Merlin’s Blade, the author was able to present a wildly popular tale without seeming to ride on the backs of those who have gone before him. The story was unique, implemented the THIRST method very well (as it should, since the author created the writing method), and engaged the audience by giving just enough of the ancient lore to make Arthurian fans happy.
Merlin is a very likeable character. He seems very human due to his handicap, but also has a hero’s heart which makes him endearing. He risks his life to save others, is very loyal, stands in the face of physical and verbal adversity, and refuses to back down, no matter what comes his way. The reimagining of this iconic character from skilled wizard to sword smith’s son was a bold move, I think, but one that paid off. People like characters that aren’t perfect, thus lending Merlin well to likability.
The book carries a serious tone throughout its pages, making it more action and lore as opposed to suspense and humor, which perhaps lends itself better to the market it is trying to reach. What the book does add to the Arthurian market, however, are strong moral principles which speak well to our current culture that is sadly lacking in this department.
As this book includes several Christian themes and elements to it, there will be some readers who are divided over the magical properties of the stone and it’s somewhat demonic nature. However, for avid Christian Fantasy reader, these themes will not be a concern, as good standing against evil is an overarching theme. If you are a fan of other Arthur/Merlin books, then the magic content will not be an issue.
There were a couple scenes that slipped into OTN dialogue; I’m sure due to the difficulty of having an MC that was predominantly blind. It wasn’t too heavy, though, and the book is a clean read involving little gore (not little action) that is not graphically described.
All in all an enjoyable read with sound character development, plot, and well placed lore.
If you want to learn more about the contest that Robert is running, you can visit kingarthur.org.uk
Wish me luck, guys!!! I'll keep you posted. And if I win, I'll be sure and post a picture.