I’ve recently finished reading The Crystal Cave by Mary Stewart. This is not really a book I knew anything about when I started it, and it was probably not one I would have picked to read myself, but I have just started going to a SF & Fantasy reading group and this was the book they had chosen to read. The book is a retelling of the classic Merlin story; it is the first in a series and this volume covers Merlin’s early life, ending with his manipulation of events leading to the conception of Arthur. I wasn’t sure what to expect from the book, but I ended up really enjoying it, even if it is not really the sort of thing I usually read. I was vaguely familiar with a few versions of the story of Merlin, and to me this book managed to strike a good balance between building on the existing variations of the myth, and bringing in some original features. Overall I was pleasantly surprised by it, and the only reason I haven’t picked up the second in the series is because I already have far too many books in my to read pile, and I’ve exhausted my book budget for the time being. But I may very well read the rest of the series at some point, because I did really enjoy the book.