About This Blog

This blog was started as a place to post book reviews. The books reviewed here will be mixed. Science Fiction, Fantasy, Romance, General Fiction, NonFiction and more. Both positve and negative reviews will be posted, as well as reviews for books written for all ages and all reading levels.

Many of the books reviewed here are ones that I have purchased for my own reading pleasure. Some, I receive free in exchange for reviews. Beginning in December, 2009 you will know which are the free ones if you read the final paragraph of my reviews.

Also of note: I choose what I will read, attempting to avoid the books on which I would end up writing a negative review... but I have been known to make mistakes. Thus you see some one and two star reviews here. Since I don't enjoy writing negative reviews, I only write them if the review was promised, or if the book was so exceedingly bad, I just had to say so. Regardless of the percentage of positive to negative reviews on this blog, I give my honest opinion each and every time, and have never received financial compensation for posting my reviews.

Note that, except for fair use portions quoted from some of the books reviewed, all copyright in the content of the reviews belongs to Lady Dragoness.

Monday, May 26, 2008

The End Of A Tale

The Book of Merlyn
T.H. White
Publisher: Ace (September 15, 1987)
Paperback: 193 pages
Rating: 2 stars of 5 possible

After the author's death, a nearly complete 5th volume to this epic was discovered among his papers. That volume was published separately as The Book of Merlyn. This magical account of King Arthur's last night on earth spent weeks on the New York Times best-seller list following its publication in 1977. Even in addressing the profound issues of war and peace, The Book of Merlyn retains the life and sparkle for which White is known. The tale brings Arthur full circle, an ending, White wrote, that "will turn my completed epic into a perfect fruit, 'rounded off and bright and done.'"

While The Book of Merlyn contributes a closing chapter to the saga of The Once And Future King, I found it to be less interesting than the first four volumes. Some of the content had been previously published with The Sword In The Stone yet seems out of place in the first volume despite fitting in with the theme of Arthur's education. The out-of-place feeling is explained by the preface in The Book of Merlyn when we learn that some of the content we read earlier rightfully belongs in this last chapter, where it was repeated because that content was originally written for The Book of Merlyn. With that previously misplaced content, the last chapter of the saga is readable and comprensible as well as more enjoyable. Arthur's education is the most interesting part of The Once and Future King. If The Book of Merlyn had been stripped of those parts rightfully belonging there because of their inclusion in the earlier part of the story, that last chapter would not be worth reading.


The saga almost seems complete without this last chapter, which doesn't stand by itself very well. One can't help but wonder if this part of the saga may have been better left undiscovered in the author's effects after his death. If you really want to know the end of the story, go ahead and read this volume. Continuity is better if you read The Book of Merlyn immediately after you finish The Once and Future King. Just don't expect great things to happen in this last part of the longer tale; the best parts occurred much earlier.