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Publisher:
Infinite Light Publishing

Publication Date:
N/A

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
978-1-947925-06-9

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
19.99

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin

By Ayn Cates Sullivan

IR_Star-black
IR Rating:
4.0
Though it falters slightly in the shift of character perspectives, NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is well written and researched and successfully flips the Arthurian tradition on its head to reveal a powerful, feminist look at the hidden potential within us all.
IR Approved

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is a story in three acts: the first and last concern the teenager Nina, while the middle dives into the story of Nina’s past incarnation as Nimue, a powerful sorceress. As Nimue, Nina must free Merlin, who she herself had trapped, and find the Holy Grail. In Nina, author Ayn Cates Sullivan creates a realistic and relatable character who quickly draws the reader into her quest to discover more about her past. Yet in the magical transition from Nina to Nimue, that character feels lost, replaced by her former self. Rather than telling this story through the lens of Nina, an outsider looking in and discovering her destiny, Sullivan switches completely to the voice and views of Nimue. This shift is so total and abrupt that readers, who have grown to trust Nina as the narrator, feel unmoored and a bit cheated — especially because this second act makes up the bulk of the novel. Despite this jarring tonal shift, the entirety of NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is otherwise well written, with strong diction and a mystical tone, as when Nimue says “I imagined moving into the circle, dancing as flames” or “I am the stars and the spaces between them. … I am the pulse of the Earth. I am the lightning made manifest.”

The story is also well researched, with several figures and items from legend making an appearance. Unlike legend, however, Sullivan’s retelling roots hard for girl power, focusing on strong and witty female characters. When Nina’s love interest, Owen, tries to take control of the narrative, he’s told, “Right now, we need a Heroine.” This theme continues throughout the novel, all the way to its empowering climax and Nimue’s realization of her own potential — a perfect reminder for today’s readers, especially those of the “gentler” sex, that they too have unmatched potential and agency. Along with the captivating story of NIMUE: Freeing Merlin, Sullivan has filled this book with original artwork. Her sketches feature a deliberate use of light and shadow, reflecting the novel’s motifs of dark and light, good and evil. Plus, the author provides readers with short blurbs that give more information about the characters, practices for honoring those mythological figures, and even a meditation for healing. These extra tidbits are a blessing for those who don’t want to leave the world of magic just quite yet.

Though it falters slightly in the shift of character perspectives, NIMUE: Freeing Merlin is well written and researched and successfully flips the Arthurian tradition on its head to reveal a powerful, feminist look at the hidden potential within us all.

~Christina Doka for IndieReader

 

Publisher:
Infinite Light Publishing

Publication Date:
N/A

Copyright Date:
N/A

ISBN:
978-1-947925-06-9

Binding:
Paperback

U.S. SRP:
19.99

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin

By Ayn Cates Sullivan

NIMUE: Freeing Merlin by Ayn Cates Sullivan is a captivating fantasy novel about a 17-year-old named Nina, who discovers she was a sorceress named Nimue in a past life, and now must free Merlin from a tree she once imprisoned him in. The beautifully-crafted writing immerses readers in a fascinating world of magic, power, and mythical creatures, but beneath the obvious plot rest themes of empowerment, possibility, and restoration to the earth. The first-person POV gives the work an intimate feel, and fans of female heroines will appreciate the conflicts and triumphs.