The Lost Years of Merlin Book #1

by T. A. Barron

Hardcover, 1996



Local notes

Fic Bar




Philomel (1996), Edition: 1St Edition, 336 pages


A young boy who has no identity nor memory of his past washes ashore on the coast of Wales and finds his true name after a series of fantastic adventures.


Original language


Original publication date


Physical description

336 p.; 6.44 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member willowcove
Bid disappointment. The plot is over simplified. While I enjoy YA and many chilldren's books, this one just didn't cut it.
LibraryThing member AshleyMiller
Ever since I watched a few episodes of Merlin on TV, I have been really interested in reading about Arthurian legend. My husband got me this book for Christmas and I couldn’t wait to read it.

I thought this was a great book, and a good beginning for the entire series. Although it is a little slow
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at times, I still found it interesting because I liked the characters, especially Shim, who is a tiny giant, and Trouble, who is a Merlin. Rhia is a pretty interesting character too, though I prefer Shim and Trouble. I also liked that we get to meet Merlin as a young boy instead of a great, powerful, old wizard. It is entertaining to see him being afraid to use his abilities and learning about the history behind his powers. I believe the characters are pretty well developed, especially for the first novel of a series. Though I am not at the point where they become real people for me.

T.A Barron’s descriptions are what really make this a fantastic read. It is not overly detailed like some fantasy novels. He provides enough detail to create a vivid picture of your surroundings, but still leaves something up to the imagination. I like how he describes the trees with their colorful, oddly shaped fruit, and then later gives you quite the opposite by describing the dark, blackened, scarce forests as Emrys gets closer to his destination. Gives you a real overwhelming feeling of doom. I noticed this because Barron spends a lot of time around the subject of trees.

The plot of the book is pretty simple, but still entertaining. There isn’t a terrible amount of violence or bad language, and it has a lot of similarities to Lloyd Alexander’s Chronicles of Prydain series. I actually like the similarities between the two different series, although I am sure Barron could have thought of something else. However, it doesn’t bother me as much as it does other people.

It is written for younger audiences, so if you don’t like simple, easy to follow plots, with a few unoriginal aspects, then this series probably isn’t for you. I really like that this book, even though it is a part of a series, can easily stand alone. I would recommend this book to anyone eight and older or those who love fantasy. It would be a great book to read with your children!

Oh! By the way, Merlin: The Book of Magic is an awesome companion to the series! It provides information about the characters and places, as well as the creatures and some magical terms found in the series.
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LibraryThing member melydia
With the exception of Mary Stewart's novels, almost none of the Arthurian canon documents Merlin's life prior to advising King Vortigern as an adult. This novel attempts to fill that gap. Our story begins with Emrys and a woman who claims to be his mother washing onto the shores of Wales. Emrys
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remembers absolutely nothing before this event, though it is clear that he is very different from the other boys of the village. Slowly he discovers magical powers that both tantalize and terrify him. It's a pleasant, fairly light read, with interesting characters and legends. There isn't much in the way of unexpected plot twists, but that didn't take away from my enjoyment.
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LibraryThing member tuckerfrye
One of my all time favorite books. This is the first book of a series following Merlin during his adolescent years. This book starts off with Merlin, then called Emrys, washing up on the shores of ancient England with no memory of his past. As he grows so do his magical talents. After a tragedy
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brought on by his magic, Emrys decides to learn more about his past and sets off looking for home. This leads him to the island of Fincayra. This is where the book gets interesting as we are introduced the magical island, fascinating characters, and the mystery of who exactly Emrys is. The book had a bit of a slow start and a rushed ending, but was still a very good read. I recommend this book highly.
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LibraryThing member osunale
What a marvelous series!
LibraryThing member gayla.bassham
Recommended by my eight-year-old son. Not my thing, but he was very pleased that I read it!
LibraryThing member courtneygiraldo
Having washed up on the shores of ancient Wales five years prior, young Emrys has no recollection of his life before. He lives humbly with his healer mother (well, she claims to be his mother, but how can he really be certain with absolutely no memories of this woman who claims to have raised
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him?), and although outcasts, they are at least tolerated.

After a terrible accident leaves him with a permanent injury, Emrys takes to the sea in an attempt to find his true home, answers about where he came from, and what this frightening power building within him means. His journey takes him to the magical land of Fincayra, a bridge between Earth and the otherworld. Emrys soon finds his journey of self discovery is entangled with the evil spirit Rhita Gawr who's powers are slowly destroying Fincayra and everything good within it. Can Emrys discover his past while at the same time protecting the future of a land in which he feels a deep connection?

This book blew me away! It was humbling to read a tale of one of the most formidable sorcerers in literature as an awkward, fumbling teenager. It's a great reminder that we all come from somewhere; we all go through that awkward stage of childhood and adolescence where we are unsure of ourselves, must determine our strengths and weaknesses, have our character tested, and make hard decisions. It's not only the large moments in life, but the small ones too; the ones we make day in and day out that ultimately determine the people we end up becoming. We have choices to make every day. Choices to fight, to concede, to preserve, to overcome. No one is born great, they become great through those series of choices. It is not always brawn and muscle which win but cunning and wit.

The entire cast of supporting characters was phenomenal, making the book really that much more special and enjoyable. From the Druma girl Emrys befriends, Rhia who really serves as the catalyst for the entire conflict against Rhita Gawr, to the loveable pint sized troll, Shim (my favorite character for sure). Even Trouble, the pest of a Merlin hawk who really didn't take no for an answer when befriending Emrys. Everyone served such an important role not just in the progression of the plot but also in the development of Emrys as a character.

As the first of 12 books in the series, I will absolutely be continuing on to see how else Emrys (now Merlin) continues to grow and evolve into the ever powerful sorcerer he is destined to become.
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½ (339 ratings; 3.9)
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