Ultimate Magic (Merlin Saga Series #8)

Ultimate Magic (Merlin Saga Series #8)

4.4 14
by T. A. Barron

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Avalon is on the verge of total destruction: an army of warriors, a swarm of fire dragons, and a lethal plague are all laying waste to Merlin's beloved land. But Merlin is nowhere to be found. Leading the fight in his place is Basil, the once tiny lizard who is now the most powerful dragon in Avalon.

But to restore peace, the mastermind behind this chaos,

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Avalon is on the verge of total destruction: an army of warriors, a swarm of fire dragons, and a lethal plague are all laying waste to Merlin's beloved land. But Merlin is nowhere to be found. Leading the fight in his place is Basil, the once tiny lizard who is now the most powerful dragon in Avalon.

But to restore peace, the mastermind behind this chaos, Doomraga, will need to be discovered and destroyed before his power grows stronger and Avalon and its inhabitants are beyond saving. For Basil to triumph, he and his friends may need to make the ultimate sacrifice.

In this final book of the Merlin's Dragon trilogy, T. A. Barron brings this saga to a thrilling-if bittersweet- end.

Editorial Reviews

VOYA - Rayna Patton
With this book, Barron begins a trilogy about a strange little creature called Basil. After an adventurous start as an egg, hatchling Basil is an insignificant lizard with rumpled, tiny bat wings. He spends the first decades of his life finding food (he is an omnivore) and narrowly avoiding being eaten. He remembers only one friend, a wind, present at his birth and soon gone. His constant need to escape leads Basil to discover a special talent, and he also learns that he can fly-albeit feebly. Mostly, though, he laments his small, powerless, and lonely state. Accidentally Basil stumbles into Merlin's wedding celebration, where he looks in vain for someone who can identify him. Later he dreams vividly of a terrible threat to Merlin. His friend the wind returns, and Basil enlists her help to find and warn the wizard. The pair have many adventures throughout the seven realms of the Great Tree of Avalon. Finally Basil finds Merlin right as he faces a seemingly unbeatable foe. Basil's selfless intervention gives Merlin enough time to triumph. In gratitude, Merlin fast-forwards Basil to his full-grown state-a mountain-sized dragon called Basilgarrad imbued with Tlano, the magical force of the Great Tree. Coming-of-age and self-discovery are recurrent themes in Barron's books. Unfortunately the writing and characterization, although imaginative, are not exceptional here, but middle school students will not care. For those who love the Merlin and Great Tree of Avalon series, Basil will be a welcome new friend. Reviewer: Rayna Patton
KLIATT - Deirdre Root
Just after the birth of the Great Tree of Avalon, a strange creature emerges from a tiny egg. This half-bat, half-lizard creature has an odd (and oddly useful) magical power: he can recreate any scent he has ever experienced. His heritage and his future are a mystery to him, until a powerful dream causes him to seek out Merlin and warn him about a deadly threat to his life and to Avalon itself. Aided by the Wind Sister Ailah, he searches all the realms of Avalon, learning about himself and his world in the process. But when he finds Merlin, will he be a help…or the one who causes his doom? This charming coming-of-age tale in the author's new Merlin series will be welcome where his other titles are popular. Reviewer: Deirdre Root
School Library Journal

Gr 6 Up

Set between Barron's "Lost Years of Merlin" and "Great Tree of Avalon" series, this book focuses on Basil, a unique lizard that sets out to understand his identity and his destiny. While small, Basil has a magical ability to create smells, and he uses his talent and his wits to escape a number of foes. After a series of encounters with the wizard Merlin, including attending his wedding, Basil learns from the good spirit Dagda that the evil spirit Rhita Gawr has entered the lands of Avalon and that Merlin is in grave danger. With the wind sister Aylah, he travels to all seven realms, learning about each one and about himself in his quest to save Merlin and all of Avalon from the magic-devouring kreelix. While this adventure starts out slowly and spans almost 40 years, the pace picks up rapidly during the second half. Basil is a prickly and entertaining hero, and his comments about life at the start of each chapter add tone and humor. Barron's return to Avalon will be welcomed by his many fans, who will have the patience to explore the lands with Basil and learn more about their history.-Beth L. Meister, Milwaukee Jewish Day School, WI

Kirkus Reviews
A new series opens in Barron's trite version of Avalon. Basil is a tiny, unique creature, batlike and lizardlike, ignorant of his purpose but destined for greatness. His name commemorates the day he hid in a patch of basil plants, which was the same day he realized he could magically emit smells. The herb reference and scent talent are rare creative details in this morass of overwritten and unclear tropes. As Basil travels through Avalon's "seven root-realms," seeking kin and identity and trying to warn Merlin that evil's invading, Barron's artificial pacing (unrestrained use of "suddenly" and "instantly") and preachy faux-wisdom ("Memory can be hot as molten lava, or cold as a frozen glacier") preclude momentum. The prose is swollen with superlatives, and Avalon's basic conceit is confusing: The Great Tree is an actual tree, but also "a world between worlds," with "fires" and "rivers" inside. Rather than offering "a world profoundly rich in both wonder and mystery," as it boasts, this overindulgence delivers readers nothing but smugness. (Fantasy. 9-11)
Children's Literature - Leah Hanson
Basilgarrad is in the fight of his life. With his dwarf, elf, and animal allies, Merlin's great dragon leads the forces of Avalon against the dragon Lo Valdearg and his army of flamelons. Just when victory seems at hand, a ghastly cloud of flying leeches descends upon the loyal band of fighters. With death imminent, Basil prepares to fly to his death for the Avalon he so loves. Suddenly Merlin appears and with his magic staff keeps the leeches at bay. But Basilgarrad and Merlin both soon realize that this fight is only the beginning of the battle to end all battles. Deep in the Haunted Marsh lies a monster who serves Rhita Gawr, a monster so terrible that it is known only as "darker than dark." As Merlin and Basil journey to the Marsh, Merlin's estranged son Krystallus grapples with the knowledge that Avalon, his father's dream, is in peril. Should he join the fight despite the bitter feelings he has toward the father who left him? As both parties face the marsh and its monsters, they will have to make great personal sacrifices to save Avalon. In this final installment of the "Merlin's Dragon" trilogy, Barron spins a tale of adventure, magic, and above all, hope. Faithful readers will find the ending satisfying and true to the tale. Reviewer: Leah Hanson

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Product Details

Penguin Young Readers Group
Publication date:
Merlin Saga Series, #8
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
5.10(w) x 7.70(h) x 0.70(d)
Age Range:
10 - 14 Years

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