The Seven Songs of Merlin (Merlin Saga Series #2)

( 61 )


There has never been a magic like Merlin’s, and T. A. Barron reveals how the legend was born in his adventure-loving five-book epic featuring the heroic young wizard and his unforgettable band.

To celebrate the epic, which has sold over a million copies, Philomel has created a stunning paperover-board edition with fantastical new cover art by Justin Sweet to enchant and enthrall a whole new generation of readers!

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The Seven Songs: Book 2

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There has never been a magic like Merlin’s, and T. A. Barron reveals how the legend was born in his adventure-loving five-book epic featuring the heroic young wizard and his unforgettable band.

To celebrate the epic, which has sold over a million copies, Philomel has created a stunning paperover-board edition with fantastical new cover art by Justin Sweet to enchant and enthrall a whole new generation of readers!

Having stumbled upon his hidden powers, the young wizard Merlin voyages to the Otherworld in his quest to find himself and the way to the realm of the spirit.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Picking up where The Merlin Effect left off, this patchy tale opens when young Merlin is summoned by the Great Council of Fincayra to heal their wounded land. The boy decides instead to follow his own wishes, with disastrous consequences: a deadly curse on his mother. In order to save her, he must learn the Seven Songs of Wizardry, and his desperate quest leads him and companion Rhia on a whirlwind tour of the magical isle. His pursuit of the Seven Songs leads to seven individual adventures with some interesting brushes with characters and objects from the Arthurian mythos (i.e., a sword that will be Excalibur and the temptress-to-be Nimue). However, each adventure boils down to a lesson and Merlin's recitation of such noble clichs as "The strongest bonds are of the heart," and "Everything is connected to everything else." Except for some unexpected developments and encounters with characters from the first book, this Round Table-inspired tale may not do enough to pique readers' interest, especially avid Arthurian legend fans. Ages 10-up. (Sept.)
Children's Literature - Debra Briatico
The seven songs of Merlin, by T. A. Barron, is volume two of the "Lost Years of Merlin." Merlin, who now knows his name and who he is, must "bear the whole weight of the world for a time" as he fights to save the land of Fincayra. This volume may be a little difficult to read if you haven't read the first book. But it leaves the reader wanting to see the third volume. For ages 12 up, younger if the child has read some fantasy, and especially adults who love stories about Merlin.
School Library Journal
Gr 6-9In this sequel to The Lost Years of Merlin (Philomel, 1996), 13-year-old Merlin faces down the powers of darkness on the island of Fincayra and masters the traditional Seven Songs of Wisdom. In one month's time, he must discover the soul of each song and journey to the Otherworld to obtain a magical elixir to save his mother's life. He is accompanied by Rhia, a girl who possesses a mystical relationship with nature; and Bumbelwy, an annoying and pessimistic court jester. Adventure follows adventure as Merlin seeks wisdom and learns that his pride is his worst enemy. The trio encounters giants, a huge spider with a voracious appetite, and a treacherous one-eyed monster. In the village of Slantos, Merlin finds the magical sword that will one day belong to King Arthur. This richly layered fantasy is filled with harrowing escapades and many surprises. While readers may never doubt the outcome, they will eagerly devour the chapters to arrive at the satisfying conclusion. Arthurian legend is used as the starting point for a delightfully original story of magic and myth that retains the spirit of the classic tales. Merlin is a flawed hero, yet he rises to each new challenge. While the title can stand alone, there are constant allusions to incidents and characters introduced in the first book. Readers will surely be waiting impatiently for the third part of this marvelous series.Bruce Anne Shook, Mendenhall Middle School, Greensboro, NC
Kirkus Reviews
This second installment of the sequence that began with The Lost Years of Merlin (1996) is as full of action and excitement as its predecessor, but is kinder and gentler in tone; while its origins are epic, it is foremost a tale of the heart.

Teenage Merlin remains on the enchanted isle of Fincayra, charged by its inhabitants to traverse the countryside, playing the flowering harp and thereby rejuvenating the land that was scarred in battle during the overthrow of Merlin's father, the evil King Stangmar. Although Merlin is proud to serve, his own desire to be reunited with his mother, Elen, so overwhelms him that he abandons his task and teleports her to his side. No sooner do the pair embrace, however, than Elen is poisoned by a deathshadow, meant for her son by evil Rhita Gawr: Merlin's mother can only be saved if he masters the seven wizard's songs within one lunar month. The quest on which Barron sends his amiable hero is delightfully accessible and appropriate for this audience: In essence, Merlin must rise above his own hubris, and use his heart and mind as an adult. Aiding Merlin in his tasks are the lovely and resourceful Rhia, and a new character, the dour would-be jester Bumbelwy. While plenty of characters from the previous novel appear, as do familiar landmarks, it is Merlin's inner journey that readers will cherish above all: His development is convincing and heartwarming. A rich and resonant read.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780399250217
  • Publisher: Penguin Young Readers Group
  • Publication date: 9/20/2007
  • Series: Merlin Saga Series , #2
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 336
  • Sales rank: 1,417,275
  • Age range: 10 - 14 Years
  • Product dimensions: 5.76 (w) x 8.52 (h) x 1.09 (d)

Meet the Author

T. A. Barron

T.A. Barron is the award-winning author of fantasy novels such as The Lost Years of Merlin epic—soon to be a major motion picture. He serves on a variety of environmental and educational boards including The Nature Conservancy and The Land and Water Fund of the Rockies, and is the founder of a national award for heroic children. Following a life-changing decision to leave a successful business career to write full-time in 1990, Barron has written seventeen books, but is happiest when on the mountain trails with his wife, Currie, and their five children.
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Read an Excerpt

Wearily, I lay my hand against the wooden wall. Suddenly I felt a brief spark of warmth from one of the runes. A strange tingling pulsed through my fingers. I caught a whiff of something, not quiet a deeling. Pushing my fingers to the wood, I concentrated harder. I thought of Elen, lying alone on a floor of woven boughs. Help her, please. She has given me so much. In a flash, I understood. The first rune spoke its meaning directly to my mind, in a deep, resonant voice that I had never heard, yet somehow always known. The Seven Songs of Wizardry, one melody and many, may guide ye to the Otherworld, though hope ye have not any... Excitedly, rune by rune, I read my way up each step of the stairwell. Often I paused, repeating the words to myself before proceeding. When at last I reached the top, the sun's first rays were filtering down the stirwell and trembling over the runes. During the night, the Seven Songs had been carved on the walls of my mind just as they had once been carved on the walls of Arbassa.

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Table of Contents

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Interviews & Essays

Write Well, Live Fully

An essay for aspiring writers

by T. A. Barron

The wise and wonderful writer, Madeleine L'Engle, once told me: "There are three essential rules for writing a novel." She paused, then added, "Unfortunately, no one knows what they are." That sums up the situation! But after more than twenty years of writing books, I can also add these thoughts: Writing is the most joyous — and also the most agonizing — labor that I know. And it is by far the best way to travel — in our world or any other. Every author has an individual approach to the creative process, and every author's experience is different — except for the essential elements of hard work, inspiration...and magic. Whenever people (of whatever age) ask me about the writing process, I start by telling them how much I still have to learn. This is, after all, a craft — and no matter how much someone knows, there is always more to learn and explore. That's one of my favorite qualities of the writer's craft: The horizon of excellence is ever receding. We can always improve, which means we can always grow as people. Before I give you my best advice on writing ... here is a bit of wisdom from that well-known sage, Snoopy: My own advice to new writers boils down to three words: Observe. Practice. Believe. From: The T. A. Barron Official Website Let's look at them one at a time: Observe. Notice the world around you, in deep detail. How do different people speak, with their voices, faces, hands, and posture? How do different types of trees' leaves fall to the ground, each with a singular sort of flight? How do different ideas stir your passions, fears, hopes, and dreams? And don't just notice the surface of things, the sights and sounds that first strike your senses. Go deeper. Ask yourself how something would feel; wonder what is that person's deepest, darkest secret. If you truly observe the world ... it becomes a fruitful source of writing ideas and elements. Then just add a little drop of your imagination, bend the rules of reality, and anything is possible! On top of helping your writing, observing the world closely has one more advantage. And it's a big one. This is a good way to live, to be more wholly alive. Being a writer encourages you to live more fully. Practice. Write every chance you can. Keep a journal. Write poems, whether you prefer haiku poetry, sonnets, or enormous epics. Write letters, plays, short stories, blogs, novels — whatever gets you excited. Writing is hard, full of struggle, and greatly demanding ... but it is also deeply rewarding. And practice makes you better, just as practice makes you more skillful at everything from baking a pie to piloting a spacecraft. A lot of this comes down to discipline. Sometimes the last thing I want to do on a particular day is sit at my desk at home in Colorado and write. I'd rather be playing with my kids, baking bread, or hiking on a mountain trail. But I stay with my writing because I know that's the only way it will ever happen. So … if you can find the discipline to practice, the magic of language will become more present and familiar over time. And your powers as a writer will surely grow. Believe. This is, perhaps, the most challenging part about writing. To succeed, you must truly believe in your story — in each of its characters, in its place, and in its underlying ideas. And then, even more difficult, you must believe in yourself. What can I say to encourage you? Just this: Know that you have valuable things to say, and the skills to say them. Know that your song is unique, that your voice matters. Think of writing as growing a tree. In the soil of your writer's heart, you have an idea—a seed. But it will need plenty of sunlight, air, and nourishing soil to grow. How does this happen? I can only tell you how it works for me, but for every writer the process is different. When I sit down to start a novel, a process that will take between one and three years, I begin with that seed. It helps me to sketch it out, in longhand, just to get to know it better. In time, I will write an outline of its growth, though I'm always aware that outlines are only a beginning, a rough concept. As the seed sprouts into a sapling during the first draft of the manuscript (which, old fashioned that I am, I also write longhand), the outline is abandoned. For by now the tree itself is guiding my work. I believe in it, and listen closely to its inner voice — to its soul. Several more rewrites help me shape the growing tree. I try to develop characters, places (which are much more than merely backdrops to the story, deserving all the depth and subtlety of characters), plot lines, and the story's underlying ideas. When at last I feel satisfied that it is truly formed, I show a manuscript to my editor. Her comments and questions are sometimes not what I'd hoped to hear, but they are always valuable. After all, she is my ally, my fellow gardener. From: The T. A. Barron Official Website Now come more rewrites. People often ask me how much rewriting I do. The answer is, quite simply, as much as it takes to get it right. You see, there is no substitute for the integrating and deepening that happens in a thorough rewrite. Quite often, I am also doing research at this stage, to make the story's characters and places feel true. That, indeed, is the ultimate test. Paradoxical as it may sound, good fiction is true on many levels. That's right! Fiction must feel true. On the levels of the senses, the emotions, the intellect, and the soul, a story ought to win the reader's belief. Characters, if well developed, become so real that they can walk right off the page — for both writer and reader. That is true regardless of whether the character is a man, woman, child, tree, mountain, or magical snow crystal. Sometimes I stop writing the story I am crafting and write a brief biographical sketch of one character — just to get to know that character better. How do I know when a character is fully formed? When I can, at last, hear his or her voice. No aspect of a character's description is as revealing as the voice. And then, if that voice is true, the newly-created character will lean over to me and whisper his or her deepest secret. Now, at last, the book is a thriving young tree, though it has yet to bear fruit. I still need to do more revising — but at this point the work is quite delicate, just trimming a few branches. Neuroscience is just beginning to illuminate how our brains work. But we do know this about writing: Connecting with both the left and right halves of the brain is crucial, for the creative process is both rational and metaphorical, logical and mysterious. Finally, the tree stands fully grown. It reaches high and has surprisingly deep roots. Maybe it also holds a wondrous crop of fruit. And perhaps, when the wind whistles through its branches, it brings to mind some secret, half-remembered song. Best wishes from your fellow writer, T.A. Barron

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 5
( 61 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 61 Customer Reviews
  • Posted September 14, 2011

    Merlin Series

    We have just started reading this series, so far we have really enjoyed the first two books. If you are into wizards or history you might like these books. The wording is young reader friendly.

    4 out of 5 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 22, 2012


    I have read the 1st and 2nd books in this series and loved them. T a barron has a really descriptive and almost poetic style of writing. You get pulled deeper and deeper into the story as you read. It has a complex plot and compelling characters such as merlin and rhia. I seriously recomend this to any fans of harry potter or the lord of the rings

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2012


    This and all books of the merlin seireis are great

    1 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 19, 2013

    Very good

    This was a very good, kid friendly book

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 14, 2013

    AWESOME!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! - Mark

    Even better than the first book. When he gets in the Otherworld, it gets sad. Couldn't put it down. Look for my review on book 3: The Raging Fires!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 11, 2013


    A great continuation of the series

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 4, 2010

    a great read

    The Seven Songs of Merlin is a great book with a lot of twist and turns along the way. The book is about the great wizard Merlin. Instead of the old all powerful all knowing wizard he usually is, he's a 13 year old boy and instead of going around Camelot with King Arthur he's living in the magical in-between world of Fincayra. Tasked with reviving the Dark Hills Merlin at first makes good progress until he decides to bring his mother to the island, unfortunately shortly after reaching the island she is attacked by a death shadow. With only a month to live and only one cure in existence Merlin, his friend Rhia, and the less than funny jester Bumbelwy set after the legendary seven songs of wizardry to gain access to the otherworld well.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 16, 2008

    The Seven Songs Of Merlin

    When I was reading this book, I realized that every time the plot became boring the author made sure to make it more exciting. The book is about the great wizard Merlin as a child. The Seven Songs of Merlin are important morals that Merlin must learn in order to save his sickly mother. It was one of the best books I've ever read and I've already recommended it to other people.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 12, 2008

    Thoroughly Enchanting

    This book brings to life a magical adventure of heart, mind, and body. T.A. Barron has delivered a powerful and touching story. He has once again outdone himself in the area of writing with his vivid descriptions and irresistable characters. Any book lover will enjoy the ride that this book takes you on. It is jam-packed with adventure, fun, and lessons that can also be applied in our lives. It is sure not to disappoint. =D

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 22, 2007

    A reviewer

    I found this book in a Half-Price Books store, and though it sounded good, so I got it. It was done a week later. I really enjoyed it. Most books, Merlin is an old man who is a great wizard. This is Merlin as a kid, and you can relate to some of his feelings. He has to master 7 Songs of Wisdom in order to save his mother. Along the way, each of his ways he learns the Songs are not as you'd expect. The plot can be a bit slow at times, but when the action picks up, it really is amazing.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 25, 2004

    Amazing, Amazing, Amazing!

    This book was a great fantasy book. I could not put it down. I read this in the 5th grade. I even understood it then. Now I'm in the 8th grade and I'm writing this review. Merlin was awesome. Please read this book. If you don't then something's wrong.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 29, 2003

    The Lost Years of Merlin - Book II

    -The series of the Lost Years of Merlin by T.A. Barron is another magical and fantasy series - Merlin is sent upon a quest to beautify the Dark Hills before evil endulges it yet Merlin gets sidetracked and sends his mother to Fincayra. Though as she smells a flower, a shadow consumes her, leaving her only 1 month to live... Merlin has to master the 7 songs left by Tuatha and travel to the Otherworl well and retrieve a potion from Dagda before it's too late, and on the way, he finds out his only sibling... is his best friend... whom will suffer a great injury, almost killing them - a great book, though I had read it out of order, the only flaw was the ending of the book, the fact it seems so short but then again, most good books are like that... -

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 16, 2002

    As Good as the First!

    I'll give you good advice. If you liked the first book in this series, you'll love this one! We find Merlin-yes, he dropped the Emrys-thing- on a journey to save his mother from certain death. Rhia and a newcomer named Bumblewy accompany him, as he races to find the seven songs of wizardry, which help him discover the true meaning of being a wizard. (ps- any of you hoping for a however-small romance between him and Rhia- well, let's just say you're in for a big surprise!)

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2002

    This book is great!!!!

    this book is the best book I have ever read and if you have not read it you really should!!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 7, 2002

    a reviewer

    I have read all of the merlin books and they are all very good and deep with magic and many surprises. This beats every book i have ever read by a long shot.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 13, 2002


    this was a awesome addition to the lost years of merlin saga, i cant wait to get my hands on the rest of the series!!!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 24, 2002

    mystery and action

    the seven songs of merlin is an exciting book with twists and turns at every page. i foud myself unable to put it down. i can't wait to get into the rest of the series.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 16, 2002

    Read this book or you are missing out

    This book is an outstanding book for all ages and if you do not read it, you are missing out on one of the best books you can read. I never wanted to put this book down once I started. It always had me guessing at what Merlin¿s next decision would be and how every thing would work out in the end as he defied the rules of Fincayra and made his own path no matter what the consequences might be. The book starts out when Merlin is assigned to heal the lands from a past war before the bad guys return. Out of frustration, he stops his task, leaving the land susceptible to attack. He leaves to try to find his mother on the other side of the mist. He brings her back and she is poisoned by a shadow that was meant to kill Merlin. Merlin must figure out the language of the seven songs and then discover their meanings all in a time limit of one month. The book takes many twists and turns as the young Merlin learns from his mistakes and gathers valuable information on his way to becoming a wise and powerful wizard. I loved this book, and to tell you the truth, I did not read the first book in the series yet. I understood almost the entire book anyway. I do not recommend you do as I did, but if you do, you can understand the book perfectly fine without reading the series in order. I do plan on reading the first book next. This book is great. I did not give it five stars because the book did not adequately address the fact that he had abandoned his original task. I felt like the author forgot about it at times in the book. None the less, this is one of the best books I have read and I recommend that you read it to.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 26, 2002

    Rich Blend of Magic and Depth

    This is definitely one of the greatest books I've read in a long time. So rarely does an author come and completely sweep you into his world--I've never read anything other fantasy author with Barron's description. He really takes you there with his wonderful writing. Like with The Lost Years of Merlin, his words paint vivid pictures of the scenery. This is an imaginitive, wonderful work of fantasy that has the depth and meaning that so many books lack. Although it does have a few logical errors (ex. there was no real reason that Cairpre should have kept it from Merlin that Rhia was his sister, or that when he heard about Rhia, he had no reaction. Or why Merlin must learn all seven songs before going to the Otherworld--Merlin used none of the songs when he went went there). There's no children's writer that can match Barron's description skills--vivid, beautiful, and detailed, he defines the meaning of the overused phrase, 'he made me feel as if I was really there.' This book is just as good as The Lost Years of Merlin, the previous book. It has the same blend of characters that are so real. The characterization is great. Merlin is human--arrogant, rash, but brave and kind hearted. He is very likeable, despite his faults. And Rhia--she adds so much to the story. She is cheerfulness and mischievousness, mixed with a bit of oddness that sets her apart from most novel characters. Very original and unique creation, and Barron does a great job with her. She is perfectly crafted. Elen is also exceptionally done--her wisdom, her love, and her beauty naturally comes out in this book. Fortunately, she is not so tragic as in The Lost Years of Merlin. She will always be one of my favorite characters. She is self-sacrificing, wanting little more than for Merlin to be happy. Like Merlin himself said, she gave Merlin everything she could give him without wanting anything back. Elen is truly admirable. There is just nothing wrong with Barron's characterization of her--he manages to convey her self-sacrificing, courageous personality without making it overdone. The only thing that readers might find wrong with her is that she later falls in love with Caipre--but this doesn't come in until The Fires of Merlin, the book after this. Stangmar did terrible things, but the reason? To save her. She could have never forgiven him (she does forgive him, by the way, before he dies in The Wings of Merlin), but she at least should have found it in her heart to never love another man because she had loved him so much. Either that, or it means her love for him wasn't as true as Caipre made it out to be in The Lost Years of Merlin. Stangmar was a very tragic figure, and it was because of Elen. None of it was her fault, but still, he did what he did to save her. Elen, in all her wisdom, should have recognized this. The Seven Songs of Merlin was truly great because it touches the reader. The reader, like Merlin, learns to see with the heart instead of the eyes, and learns the meaning of each of the Seven Songs. This book has all the richness of The Lost Years of Merlin, plus a more continued development of plot. Unfortunately, after this Barron's plots are less well-thought out, and his endings grow considerably weaker. However, all five books in the series are wonderful and should be tried.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 13, 2002

    Good Book

    Its a very good book, but is a little bit slower than The Lost Years of Merlin, but very exciting. I highly recommend you read it.

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