Paperback: 256 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire (Mar 1 2010)
From the Publisher:
Among the towering trees of magical Avalon, where humans dare not tread, lives Niviene, daughter of the Lady of the Lake and apprentice to Merlin the mage. Her people, the Fey, are folk of the wood and avoid the violence and avarice of man. But the strife of King Arthur's realm threatens even Avalon's peace, and Merlin needs his apprentice to thwart the chaos devouring Camelot. And so Niviene must use her special talents to help save a kingdom and discover the treachery of men and the beauty of love. A mystical love story, now back in print, sure to become a modern teen classic.
To start, I want to say that I absolutely love this cover! The colours match my blog beautifully, lol. But more than that, there's an exotic look to the girl and it has a very mysterious feel. The trouble with loving covers is sometimes the content does not live up to their visual appeal. Lucky for me, that was not the case here whatsoever!
Merlin's Harp has an ethereal, dream-like quality in the story telling. There are references within of the Fey causing anyone who wanders into their forest to lose a hundred years. The story itself feels like this; that time is fluid. The past, present, and future are at times indistinguishable, yet not confusing at all.
Now to contradict my last statements, the story has an earthier feel as far as the Arthur legend is concerned. At a time when girls were often married earlier and their lifestyles were very different from now, Niviene is not held to today's boundaries, In fact, being Fey, there are very little in the way of restrictions for her; marriage is not a Fey tradition or ritual. Niviene has been a free creature for all of her life. The Fey are also very much tied to the earth, trees, water, etc. as a source for their magic.
This changes to a degree with Niviene's interaction with the humans and the complications of her forest's proximity to the human society. Her brother has gone out into the human world and now whe must too, to prevent the discovery or destruction of her own sacred forest. She accompanies Merlin to aid in the peace of King Arthur's court.
Anne Crompton takes elements we are familiar with in the Arthur legend and gives them a little twist. It is interesting to see how Lancelot and the Grail, among other things are explained. Merlin's Harp was a fairly short, quick read, but I very much enjoyed it.