Review: The Third Magic by Welwyn Wilton Katz

23. The Third Magic by Welwyn Wilton Katz
Publication: Douglas & Mcintyre Ltd; 1St Edition edition (June 1988), Hardback, 204pp / ISBN 0888990685
Genre: Fantasy, YA
Read: January 24-30, 2010
Source: PBS
Summary from Indiebound:

Fifteen-year-old Morgan Lefevre is mistaken for one of her ancestors while visiting Tintagel, King Arthur’s birthplace in England. In this vivid and innovative interpretation of the King Arthur legend, she is summoned through time to the alien world of Nwm. With her only companion, the boy Arduu, she is caught between the opposing cruelties of the two Magics, the Circle, and the Line, who have been fighting one another over the centuries and across many worlds.
When Morgan and Arduu gain possession of an ancient sword of the Third Magic, Earth itself is drawn into the struggle. Times and worlds merge as Morgan is brought face to face with her own destiny.


I’ve put off reviewing this for so long mostly because I’m not sure what to say. I normally really like Arthurian stories, even if they’re weird, but this one is just a little beyond me.

It’s an interesting little book, for sure. I like the idea of dual worlds, and I like nearly every story with twins, and I like it when characters go beyond the set boundaries of their society. And I do like how it ties into Arthurian legend, especially at the end. But it just kind of feels incomplete.

If this was being written today I’m sure the publishers would have stretched it out into a trilogy, and I’m almost certain that would have been a very good idea. There’s so much new stuff in The Third Magic, with a new world and magic as well as the Arthurian stuff that I really think the world-building needed to be more. I got the basics, but it wasn’t nearly enough.

Plus I really liked Arddu and would have loved more of him as well. And I think Morgan got shafted– much of her screen time was when she was having visions (which were kinds described like LSD trips) or when she was panicking. She never really got to be awesome until the end, and even then it wasn’t that awesome.

So basically I think I want The Third Magic to either be longer or less trippy. Diana Wynne Jones can do short books set in alternative magic worlds and not leave me feeling that something was left out– so maybe I just want this to be a DWJ book. I don’t know! I liked it, but at the end I just felt kind of bereft. Bah.


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4 thoughts on “Review: The Third Magic by Welwyn Wilton Katz”

    1. It had definite potential! If it had been fleshed out a little more I would have liked it better, I think. Some parts of it even reminded me of Susan Cooper’s books (mostly the writing, I think).

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