Wednesday, 28 October 2009
September 2009, Bantam books
200 pages, Hardback
Children's, TV tie-in
Yunaleska's recommended rating: ♥♥♥♥♥
Once more we are taken back into the magical realm Camelot. Merlin is now Arthur's servant, much to the prince's disgust. Merlin is such a clutz that it is easy for Arthur's arrogant side to come out. However, Arthur has a softer side to him, one which is portrayed in some ways more in this book than in the TV series. The book spells out for those of us who, when watching the series, pay more attention to the costumes and scenary than the actors, what is really going on in the characters' heads.
I have greater respect for Arthur - he has an awful lot of responsibility on his shoulders. It can't be easy with Uther as a father, a man who shows little compassion or encouragement. In Valiant Arthur has a lot of pressure to uphold the title of champion in the duelling competition. I can't imagine how Uther would react if his son lost the final match. That reaction is nothing to how he'll react if Arthur doesn't survive the match...
...for evil is afoot in Camelot. Sometimes I think Arthur should carry a sign on his head saying 'Hello danger, I'm here'. Once again someone wants to kill Arthur. And that someone uses magic in the tournament, a magic which involves my most feared creature - the sn*ke (missing letter is the first one of the alphabet). At least while watching the TV show I could look away whenever I heard hissing. I have no such warning in the book, and I'm just glad I don't live in a stone castle otherwise I'd be terrified to sleep. For the mystery sn*kes in the knight Valiant's shield are not inanimate.
Another character who I got a greater understanding of in this book in Gaius. I always saw him as a teacher for Merlin, and a parent of sorts (not that Merlin always listens). I didn't ever really think about him as being a protector for Merlin. He has an idea of Arthur's destiny, and that Merlin is tied up in it. He apologises when he believes he is being too harsh, although I do think sometimes Merlin doesn't realise how hard it can be for Gaius when his young apprentice dabbles in magic. It is Gaius who has to deal with the problem until Merlin finishes his business and can come and rectify the mess he created. Including raving dobermans.
This book is full of danger, sn*kes, and courage from most of the characters. It demonstrates the nature of a true knight, and lays several plot lines for stories.
This book is up for grabs in Competition #4.
Liked this? Make sure you've read the first book, The Dragon's Call by Various.