Honya I didn't even realize there was a first volume until I checked this page out. The Merlin Conspiracy totally flows and makes sense in its own weird …more I didn't even realize there was a first volume until I checked this page out. The Merlin Conspiracy totally flows and makes sense in its own weird way completely on its own. First volume definitely not necessary. See 1 question about The Merlin Conspiracy…. Lists with This Book. Jun 22, EAL rated it really liked it Shelves: The first time I read this book I was ten and I did not like it at all.
In my fantasy book? Roddy and Nick are both unheroic heroes who whine! It's interesting how characters who are perfectly sympathetic when viewed from within their own POV can seem difficult or annoy The first time I read this book I was ten and I did not like it at all. It's interesting how characters who are perfectly sympathetic when viewed from within their own POV can seem difficult or annoying from the other person's POV.
Besides, their shortcomings are realistic. Though the reveal of this does add a layer to Roddy's insecurity. This revelation could have come at a later time, though. In the earlier part of the book it is rather difficult to see the big picture. It's only at the end that there's cohesiveness - and, as Nick noted, it's interesting to see how small things caused big changes. I didn't like the ending line.
This book was boooooring. It was actually pretty interesting. And you, dear younger self, are a brat. Nov 28, Tijana added it Shelves: Oct 10, Pauline rated it it was amazing Recommends it for: In Diana Wynne Jones' "multiverse," a series of parallel universes, a couple of kids discover a conspiracy to take over the magic of Blest, a key world in the multiverse -- but of course, none of the adults believe them. In the course of unraveling the conspiracy, Roddy discovers strange things about her family, takes on a painful magical heritage, and summons a magician from another world to help her, only to find that it's just a boy scarcely older than herself, and far behind her in magical k In Diana Wynne Jones' "multiverse," a series of parallel universes, a couple of kids discover a conspiracy to take over the magic of Blest, a key world in the multiverse -- but of course, none of the adults believe them.
In the course of unraveling the conspiracy, Roddy discovers strange things about her family, takes on a painful magical heritage, and summons a magician from another world to help her, only to find that it's just a boy scarcely older than herself, and far behind her in magical knowledge. Nick is doubly handicapped in the adventure: It's a strange book: The plot is exceedingly complicated for a middle grades book. Despite its oddities, or perhaps because of it, this is a riveting story. I read it aloud to my 8-year-old son suppressing a couple of fleeting references to sex, a few "damns," and one or two gory bits , and he was completely fascinated throughout the plus pages of The Merlin Conspiracy.
And I was equally fascinated, happily devouring it twice in quick succession to savor every twist and turn. The characters are engaging, and the theme of taking responsibility to use power wisely a common theme in DWJ's books gives The Merlin Conspiracy a significance and grandeur lacking in many so-called adult novels I've read. I think certain scenes, including the first chapter, may be a bit too grim and gory for preadolescent children. A biographical note of interest: Oct 05, Book Riot Community added it. This book is one of my favorite by Diana Wynne Jones, and I always return to it every year or so, just to remind myself how amazing and enchanting it is.
The Merlin Conspiracy follows heroine Roddy as she tries to uncover the magical conspiracy going on in the royal court. Her path intersects with the world-traversing, accidentally magical Nick, who is pretty much the definition of an unimpressed teenage boy. Sorcerous intrigue, sharp-tongued snark, and mindblowing worldbuilding ensues.
I loved this one! It's full of wonderful and lively characters - I like Roddy, Grundo and Nick but the elephant is probably my favourite! Nick had a backstory that I thought was a bit vague until I realised this is actually a sequel. I'll have to go back and read the first book now, but I don't think it's necessary to read it first because everything else made sense.
Romanov is a very interesting character.
The Merlin Conspiracy
I would have liked to have seen more about him and his background. It's such a packed sto I loved this one! It's such a packed story that I think he got pushed to the side a bit and ended up not really doing much. Grundo is dyslexic and his magic comes out back to front!
But what happened to the panther? Nick meets it once and it seems like it might be quite important but then never reappears. Seeing the narrators from other characters point of view is reveals more about them. Roddy seems sensible and kind from her own point of view but, from Nick's perspective, she's quite cold and bossy. Roddy's grandad I expected from Roddy's mother's description to be cold and cruel but Roddy finds that he actually is caring in his odd own way.
They all have layered personalities like real actual people and it also shows that one person's view of events is never the whole story. The worldbuilding for Blest is brilliant, I could almost feel the sunshine and at one point I felt like I had wasps buzzing around me the way the characters did.
When Nick travels through different worlds they all felt realistic too, even the place where Romanov lives that changes according to Romanov's whims. The plot is deeper, darker and more intelligent than most adult books. It felt very English lot's of tea and sandwiches! Diane Wynn Jones is very good at plot twists and including little, seemingly throwaway things that end up having big, unexpected effects and being important to the story. It's a complicated plot but I never felt lost and I love the way it all comes together at the end.
I feel like there should have been a sequel to find out what happens next to Roddy and Nick and the panther! That may be just because I want to know more about the characters though because the story does has a definite ending.
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This was wonderful to lose myself in for a couple of days, and it's one that I will be keeping to reread. Feb 06, Jack rated it really liked it Shelves: I read the book sometime when I was in High School - there everyone would start guessing just how old I am. It's quite funny to think of that. This is definitely my favourite genre. Well, I am one of those who does have her head in the clouds and not afraid to actually admit it. I loved every character by the time I was finished with each line. Sure Nick was comical at some point I wanted to stab him, Roddy was being too weird for me and there was several time I really I read the book sometime when I was in High School - there everyone would start guessing just how old I am.
Sure Nick was comical at some point I wanted to stab him, Roddy was being too weird for me and there was several time I really thought, "That's it, I'm never reading this bloody book again". Still, I pull through the very end. I don't think it had been an easy book to read from Diana Wynne Jones. It was a little bit too tangled up from several other books of hers - of course, that's just me. It had a highly imaginative storyline that kept you wondering - what if, exactly what if it was all real. I've always loved how Ms Jones kept inserting bits of the real world, even when it's filled with excessive amount of ludicrous amount fantasy dose.
Aug 23, Deborah O'Carroll rated it it was amazing Shelves: I may coherent a review someday. As a big fan of Diana Wynne Jones, I had hoped for an absorbing and well characterised story. I wasn't sure what audience this would be pitched at, initially, because it is set in the same magical system as an earlier book, Deep Secret , which is aimed more at adults and YA. This book seems to be for a younger audience. Firstly, the two viewpoint characters who narrate the story in first person in alternate sections are mid-teens: Secondly, the only vague approach to sexuality is that Nick fancies the other POV character Arianrhod Roddy as she prefers to be known whereas she thinks he's just odd.
Roddy lives on yet another of the worlds within the multiverse introduced in Deep Secret. In this, a version of Britain exists called the Isles of Blest. England is ruled by a king who travels the land with his court, reminiscent of Queen Elizabeth I's progresses, but the parliament is at Winchester, harking back to the time of King Alfred in our own world.
However, the technology is an alternative version of what was current at the time of the book's publication including buses and cars for transport although they don't use the internal combustion engine, and the court officials work on laptops though they have to rough it with bathrooms set up in tents etc. An analogue to the landline phone exists called a far-speaker, but their version of TV only shows news and sport and they have no internet, mobile phones or the like.
Roddy and her parents - her father is the court weather mage and her mother works on the admin side - are part of the massive traveling court, as are an unpleasant woman called Sybil and her two children, snooty and unpleasant Alicia and neglected son Ambrose, nicknamed Gundro by Roddy. Gundro is dyslexic in effect - his magic works 'backwards' and he is slow to progress so he is scorned by his mother and sister.
Roddy has made it her mission in life to look after him and give him the attention he lacks. As the story opens, the court Merlin a post denoting the head of the male wizards suffers what appears to be a heart attack at a meeting of the English king with the Scottish king, nearly occasioning a diplomatic incident. A new Merlin is brought to court by Roddy's grandfather. This grandfather is eventually revealed to be a Magid, one of the magicians who ensure that the multiverse is kept in balance. But Roddy and Grundo soon realise that the Merlin is conspiring with Sybil and Sybil's nasty boyfriend.
None of the adults they confide in believe them - they all think the Merlin is incorruptible and therefore, despite what the children witnessed view spoiler [Sybil and her chums drugging the whole court to put them under their influence hide spoiler ] they must have somehow misunderstood.
Meanwhile, on our Earth, Nick is whisked away by an unseen person to another world where he is forced to pass himself off as part of a wizard squad sent to provide magical protection to a different prince. He soon meets a very powerful magical user called Romanov who tells him he was offered money to kill Nick, but has decided to turn down the job as Nick is obviously clueless and no threat to anyone. Eventually Nick is uncovered as an imposter and forced to flee, so he goes in pursuit of Romanov, which is where his misadventures begin and where he is eventually brought into contact with Roddy.
There are some nice ideas in this and good writing as we expect from DWJ. The trouble is, the book piles in everything including the kitchen sink. Nick discovers he can understand the thoughts of animals, so he forms a close friendship with an escaped circus elephant Mini - who was one of my favourite personalities in the book. Early on, he is helped by a black panther - which never appears again, seemingly a forgotten plot thread.
Nick can't travel the worlds as a Magid does although he wants to be trained to be one but he has the ability to travel a different way along what is known as 'dark paths' that appear at angles to the normal world and are reminiscent of the paths seen in the earlier book when Maree had to be taken to 'Babylon' to be reunited with her other self. Romanov lives on an island that consists of chunks from different worlds and has a magic shed which produces feed for his animals and the elephant on request, and a magic oven that produces bread. On the way there, Nick meets a drunk who tells him he must help three people before he can reach the island.
Nick encounters an oppressive society that forces its workers to toil unprotected in a radioactive zone and is contacted by Roddy who has asked for someone beyond their world to help, before he meets Mini. But there is a lot more. A second grandfather of Roddy's is revealed as being much weirder than a Magid view spoiler [ - despite supposedly being a minister of the church, he is really a Great Power, and becomes 'bound' by Sybil and co hide spoiler ].
The story features kidnapping, drought, invisible creatures that turn out to inhabit the whole world and also can animate vessels, a weird household which can only consist of three members and has odd rules about males, terrible twins who are awfully badly behaved and take turns to constantly swap roles, spells put on people to make them look after others without them knowing, a ruined village where a wise woman lived who had had her hip deliberately broken to keep her there working for the villagers - view spoiler [ I found it far too contrived that Roddy is sent there by her Great Power grandfather because the wise woman has searched all time to find someone to whom to give all her magical knowledge, so Roddy thereby becomes the recipient of masses of plant-based magic hide spoiler ].
Oh, and there's an enormous dragon, an illegal trafficking in salamanders which are tortured to provide power, towns that are personified as enormous men, a weird religion in the tyrannical radioactive world and two altar boys view spoiler [who turn into murderers and later are responsible for all the woes besetting Roddy's world for rather flimsy reasons hide spoiler ]. The story was just trying too hard and my eyes started to glaze over around the time I encountered a town called Salisbury and two others in short order after that.
The production of the hardback edition is rather lovely as each section of narrative from either Roddy or Nick has an introductory page which bears a graphic, in Roddy's case, a plant emerging from a vase, which becomes more florid and abundant as each of her sections progress, and in Nick's case, a Celtic styled motif which includes the various animal characters who appear - elephant and goat for example - until he and Roddy meet, at which point, their introductory graphics merge organically and finally develop into a sentient character view spoiler [ reminiscent of the white dragon who features majorly at the end of the story hide spoiler ].
The production values also incorporate a different font used for the two parallel narratives and the book has a rather handsome cover too. Unfortunately, the material within the cover didn't match up to all this gorgeous detail. It was a complete mishmash and it's no surprise that some of the elements didn't ring true or were lost threads such as the black panther which went AWOL after its first appearance. I also found it very difficult to 'place' Roddy whom I had envisaged as a younger child initially, around 11 or so. As Roddy, nearly 15 fancies her, I then had to readjust my perceptions to picture her around the same age as him, but that was an example perhaps of how the foundations of the story were not solid.
Instead there was a lot of fancy filigree detail, rather like the book's graphics, and ultimately the story didn't deliver for me. My previous acquaintance with Diana Wynne Jones was through her The Tough Guide to Fantasyland Vista , a thoroughly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek encyclopaedic tour of the conventions of post-Tolkien fantasy writing.
This outing for the much-published children's writer includes much of that irreverant humour we meet an elephant called Mini and a coffee-addicted SF-detective writer called Maxwell Hyde, for example, whose name seems to be a compound of a well-known instant coffee and a literary My previous acquaintance with Diana Wynne Jones was through her The Tough Guide to Fantasyland Vista , a thoroughly enjoyable tongue-in-cheek encyclopaedic tour of the conventions of post-Tolkien fantasy writing.
This outing for the much-published children's writer includes much of that irreverant humour we meet an elephant called Mini and a coffee-addicted SF-detective writer called Maxwell Hyde, for example, whose name seems to be a compound of a well-known instant coffee and a literary split personality. And it all starts with the title, which is about a conspiracy concerning the Merlin. From this we gather that the main setting for the plot is not Earth as we know it but an alternative world in a kind of Moorcock multiverse. Nick Malory not his real name, by the way is eventually propelled into this other Britain called Blest, a rather apt title not only for its Otherworld echoes in Greek and Celtic mythology but also because many of its denizens are witches and others adept at natural magic, such as the story's other protagonist Arianrhod.
The conspiracy involves the replacement of the chief wizard of the country of Logres England in our world with a false Merlin, and the repercussions this has on Blest and it world and on parallel worlds. Oh, and did I mention time-travel as well? This is a very readable novel which you may well get through in very few sittings, right up to its apocalyptic conclusion.
It's a given that reviews of this type of fiction will include favourable comparisons with J K Rowling and Philip Pullman, but in truth Diana Wynne Jones has a well-warranted reputation which needs no such hype. For those with a penchant for legends a lot of the fun comes from spotting both the overt and subtler Arthurian references, along with the overtones of, among others, William Blake. Then it'll be time to search out those other titles of hers, such as Deep Secret , this book's prequel. Aug 26, Kaion rated it it was ok Shelves: I hated The Merlin Conspiracy when I first read it in On re-read to decide whether or not to give my copy away, it's not as bad as I remembered.
Maybe that's because now I've read the book it's the loose sequel to the hilarious Deep Secret? But I'm inclined to think it's not so bad because, well, I don't find The Merlin Conspiracy to be much of anything.
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It's action-packed and while I didn't take much of a shine to the characters not even Nick who I enjoyed in the preceding book! If things go wrong in Blest, it could start unravelling magic in other worlds all over the place. From this point on, Nick and Roddy take turns telling their versions of the story, which quickly develops a handful or two of twisty subplots involving an escaped zoo elephant, a rogue Magid, and a pair of nasty, conniving twins….
However, The Merlin Conspiracy is only a sequel to Deep Secret in the sense that some characters and the multiverse of worlds are the same. The stories are completely separate from one another, and can be read independently. Naturally, however, they also complement and enhance one another. Le Guin for coining that term. Although she makes money as a librarian, she makes her life as a reader and writer of stories and reviews of stories. He can work outside the rules that magids have in place. The header of its review includes the note " Ages 10 and up ", evidently provided by the publisher or the US imprint Greenwillow Books.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. Select a title to see its linked publication history and general information. Select a particular edition title for more data at that level, such as a front cover image or linked contents. Library of Congress Catalog Record. The New York Times. Science Fiction Awards Database sfadb. Kelly and the Locus Science Fiction Foundation. Works by Diana Wynne Jones. Dark Lord of Derkholm Year of the Griffin Deep Secret The Merlin Conspiracy Howl's Moving Castle