While I liked most of what I read last year there were a few duds, as there always are, that sipped through the cracks. So as a companion piece to my top 5 reads of 2012 here are 5 of the worst books I had the misfortune to encounter. This was actually a much harder list to put together than my favourites list. Three books immediately jumped out at me as some of the worst books I could recall reading ever, but it took a very long time and lots of scrolling through the blog to even remember reading the last two on my list.
Tag Archives: Mary Stewart
Publisher: Coronet Books
Pages: 464 including Authors notes (Paperback)
Series: The Merlin Trilogy #1, The Arthurian Saga #1
The Crystal Cave plunges the reader deep into Fifth Century Britain, a country in chaos and division after the Roman withdrawal, where minor kings plot and intrigue against each other in draughty fog-bound settlements.
This is Merlin’s world. The illegitimate son of a South Wales princess, his young life precariously in balance as the shifting tide of events wash over his homeland, he is aware at the earliest age of a great natural gift – the Sight.
Against a background of invasion and imprisonment, wars and conquest, we see his emergence into manhood equipped with learning and wisdom far in advance of his years and his time (which some call magic), and his dramatic role in the New Beginning – the coming of Arthur.
I’ve spoken about my love of all things Arthurian before, so I was really expecting to enjoy this book. All the ingredients are there – it’s centered on a character I normally like, on events that are often just skated over as prologue, and grounded in more unique ‘realistic’ Dark Age Britain than the typical ‘castles and knights’ setting. It was also pretty popular back in its day. Alas, I learn, yet again, that popularity often has little to do with quality. It’s not that I actively dislike the book – it’s solidly in ‘ok’ territory – but I can’t really think of anything I liked about it either. There were a lot of neat ideas but, like every character in this novel, they were never developed.