Jones, Diana Wynne. The Merlin Conspiracy. New York: HarperCollins, 2003. Summary
: The Merlin of Blest has died, seemingly of natural causes. But Roddy and her friend Grundo have plenty of reason to be suspicious, and they soon uncover a conspiracy that could upend the magical balance of the multiverse. The problem? Nobody believes them! Roddy enlists the assistance of Nick, a boy from another world, but they'll need a lot more than an exiled prince to set things aright... Comments
: A generous magical adventure that is both exceedingly funny and exceedingly fun to read. Diana Wynne Jones delivers the sort of story that J.K. Rowling could only dream of writing--one that entertains while subtly upending your assumptions about narrative and characterization. For example, The Merlin Conspiracy
's heroine Roddy is not the perfect girl she thinks she is, and bad guys do very bad things for exceedingly self-absorbed, petty--not to mention terribly uninteresting--reasons. Yet do not despair over the lack of super-charismatic bad guys...'cause there is plenty of world-hopping wonder here to make up for them; Nick's attempts to get back home, which culminate in a confrontation on Romanov's island, are especially riveting, and I loved the world-building that went into the ecology and society of the Canyon Worlds. If I had one criticism, it would that the novel seems to rush too quickly to its inevitable dramatic climax. I would've wanted more! Needless to say, this is children's literature that works for readers of all ages, and you may even think that it's good enough to return to again and again. At the very least, it sure is hard to rip yourself away once you start, so be sure to block out a substantial chunk of time to devote to these 450+ pages of utterly pleasing prose. Rating
- Diana Wynne Jones is one author who never fails to please. Her talent for diverting tales of magic and fantasy is almost supernatural.