01 March 2010

Review: Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton

Summary: Merlin's Harp by Anne Eliot Crompton, tells the story of King Arthur from just before the arrival of Sir Lancelot to court to the end of Camelot. We learn the tale from the perspective of Niviene, the fey daughter of the Lady of the Lake.

Why I Abandoned the Book: I stopped reading Merlin's Harp at about halfway through, but I did skim quickly to the end. It's difficult to pinpoint why I lost interest. I am a big Arthur fan, I like stories about the fey, and I am not a purist when it comes to the Arthurian legends. I think perhaps the problem was twofold.

First, the novel is told through the eyes of Viviene (called Niviene in the novel), who was never my favorite character. She is a bit more likable here, but not enough to keep me going. I wish we had heard more from her mother. Second, I don't think Crompton's style was a good fit for me. The book is well written and internally consistent (at least as far as I read), but it didn't pull me in.

A Quick Look at Reviews: The New York Times, Library Journal, and other print review sources praised the book as a welcome and feminist addition to the Arthur legends. On the social book sites, it gets an average rating of about 3. Fortunately you can judge for yourself by visiting the Merlin's Harp page over at Sourcebook's Teen Fire ning site, where you can read from the first chapter.

Merlin's Harp at Powell's
Merlin's Harp at Amazon
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Published by Sourcebooks / Fire, March 2010
ISBN-13: 9781402237836

Challenges: New Author, Young Adult, 2010, 100+
YTD: 19
Source: Review (see review policy)
Rating: DNF


Michelle 3/10/10, 7:14 AM  

I had a really hard time with this book as well. I did struggle through to the end but man it was really a big struggle. My review will be going up at the end of the week so you can see what issues I had, but yikes!

Vivienne 3/11/10, 7:24 AM  

The Mists of Avalon is from a female perspective though, isn't it? I am half way through The Mists of Avalon and I think this might be a good book to read after it.

Sandy 3/11/10, 7:25 AM  

I will admit, I have no interest in this genre at all. That is probably close-minded of me, and perhaps if I just gave it a chance, I would change my mind. Still, I kind of breathe a sigh of relief that I feel I'm not missing anything by leaving this one alone!

Juile 3/11/10, 7:25 AM  

I have this one to read soon! I hope it's a better fit for me!

The1stdaughter 3/11/10, 7:26 AM  

Thank you! You've given me a fabulous idea for how to approach a book I recently tried to read and couldn't finish. I still want to post a review, as it was sent to me for review, but I couldn't figure out how to put it & be honest. This set up is perfect!

Sorry about Merlin's Harp. It's actually a book I considered picking up, but I may just have to look for it at my library. Thank you again!

Bellezza,  3/11/10, 7:27 AM  

I'm reading this for Sourcebooks at the end of March; I hope I don't have to abandon it, too! I love Arthur legends, and it seemed interesting to come at it from a woman's perspective. We'll have to talk more when I read it.

S. Krishna 3/11/10, 7:28 AM  

I wish I had just put this one down instead of finishing it. I just really didn't like it, but kept thinking it might get better!

Bermudaonion 3/11/10, 7:29 AM  

Sorry this didn't work for you. I love the title and the cover, but I don't think it's for me either.

Alice Teh 3/11/10, 7:29 AM  

Hi Beth, sorry the book didn't work for you. Thanks for your review, though.

heidenkind 3/11/10, 7:46 AM  

I've read several reviews of this book and NONE of them have been positive. Not a good sign.

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