cover image The Seven Songs of Merlin

The Seven Songs of Merlin

T. A. Barron, Author Philomel Books $19.99 (306p) ISBN 978-0-399-23019-6

Picking up where The Merlin Effect left off, this patchy tale opens when young Merlin is summoned by the Great Council of Fincayra to heal their wounded land. The boy decides instead to follow his own wishes, with disastrous consequences: a deadly curse on his mother. In order to save her, he must learn the Seven Songs of Wizardry, and his desperate quest leads him and companion Rhia on a whirlwind tour of the magical isle. His pursuit of the Seven Songs leads to seven individual adventures with some interesting brushes with characters and objects from the Arthurian mythos (i.e., a sword that will be Excalibur and the temptress-to-be Nimue). However, each adventure boils down to a lesson and Merlin's recitation of such noble cliches as ""The strongest bonds are of the heart,"" and ""Everything is connected to everything else."" Except for some unexpected developments and encounters with characters from the first book, this Round Table-inspired tale may not do enough to pique readers' interest, especially avid Arthurian legend fans. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)