Reaching my goal of 100 books read in a year didn’t stop me from continuing to read, as I had promised myself I would read (and finish) Mary Stewart’s The Wicked Day.
It was. . . Well, it was.
The first three books, told from Merlin’s perspective, are graceful and filled with beautiful descriptions of the post-Roman Britain he inhabits. The characters are three-dimensional and vividly wrought, their motives are terribly human, and even Merlin- despite all his magic and prophecy- has his flaws and short-sightedness. It all adds up to a trilogy that is moving in and of itself and re-tells the Arthurian story without being overdone, and from a point of view that’s not often seen- much like Marion Zimmer Bradley’s The Mists of Avalon, which is also a brilliant read.
In comparison, The Wicked Day felt rushed, as thought Ms Stewart saw the end of the legend in saw and made a mad dash for it. The graceful writing makes its appearance, but the point of view often shifts mid-page, and the passage of years- so fluid in the Merlin trilogy- feels cobbled together and confusing.
I am glad that I finished out the tetraology- if only because it’s not hanging over my head anymore- but The Wicked Day will not be one of those books I return to.