Friday, September 9, 2011

The Seeing Stone - Arthur Trilogy #1 - Kevin Crossley- Holland


Pages: 324 pages

Published: June 1st 2001 by Orion Children's Book

Date Finished: 9th September 2011

Rating: 4 stars ****


Kevin Crossley-Holland spins an enchanting tale of magic and mystery in The Seeing Stone, the first book in a planned trilogy based on Arthurian legend. The story opens at the cusp of the 12th and 13th centuries, when a 13-year-old lad named Arthur discovers that his life is about to take some unexpected turns. At the heart of all this change is Merlin, a mysterious man who possesses incredible knowledge and power. It is Merlin's special gift to young Arthur -- a shiny piece of obsidian -- that gives this book its name and much of its magic. Beth Amos- Good Reads


One of my favourite reads of my childhood The Seeing Stone has always lingered in the back of my mind through adolescence and into adulthood as a book I had to read again. I never quite got around to reading past the first book, but like always I had to start somewhere, the beginning and it has been both an amazing journey into the Arthurian times as well as a rocky road down memory lane.

Sticking true to its era, the novel was intently provoking and magical. Rewind your clock back to a time when manors relied on the body of the community to run the land and children passed time riding horses, creating tournaments and listening to stories passed down from older generations. I can not to this book justice when it comes to the describing the atmospheric descriptions and sensory details. To taste the sweetness of meat or inhale the scene of ale on one man’s breath to the rotting stench of flesh and the crispness of snow biting through your flesh; Kevin writes beautifully and always simply while capturing a series of snapshots in time.

Each character is distinctive, from the crazy old lady to the horses they ride and of course Merlin who never ceased to confuse me as much as he did Arthur at times. The relationships created with me as the reader and in the story itself were always insightful and it was an interesting look into the romantic elements of what builds a marriage in that era to what the fundamentals of relationships are today. Not much has changed, yet so much progression has occurred. I especially liked sharing Arthur’s individual intimate relationships with his cousin Grace and the reeve’s daughter Gatty.

What I enjoyed most though about the novel was The Seeing Stone and how it Kevin interwove Arthurs current life with that of a separate life in the stone. At times I got lost in both stories; while other times I felt the story was jolted with the sequencing of real-time into the futuristic path before him. The use of supernatural elements intertwined with the mythology and the legend of King Arthur was handled brilliantly.

I would most certainly recommend it for the fans of the legend, retellings and fantasy alike. It is a fantastic look into the mythology of the times and could be read my children and adults of all ages. I cannot wait to read the second book in this series; At The Crossing Places.

Kudos to Kevin for a masterpiece of children literature.


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