Nimue

Freeing Merlin

Fiction - Fantasy - Epic
279 Pages
Reviewed on 02/03/2021
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    Book Review

Reviewed by Peggy Jo Wipf for Readers' Favorite

Nimue: Freeing Merlin by Ayn Cates Sullivan takes a teenage girl back many lifetimes to remind her of who she had once been. Nina Liber and her mother Diana take a trip to Britain for a healing vacation. Diana wants to reconnect with her roots and to shed the years of dealing with her husband’s illness. Nina learns her boyfriend from the United States is missing and she may have a way to find him, but she must walk a path she has forgotten. At a time when Merlin held her heart, the Lady of the Lake still appeared to kings, and magic was not forgotten but was heavily relied upon. There are times Nina feels her destiny is already chosen and her freedom to choose is impossible.

From the beginning, you can feel the love Ayn Cates Sullivan has for metaphysical or supernatural fiction as she weaves it deep into her medieval novel, Nimue: Freeing Merlin. It is a chilling love story that spans centuries as her characters live many lives. Nina was once a mage, Nimue, that trapped Merlin in a hawthorn tree, but the events that led up to this point are told in a mystical and thrilling way that keeps the reader engaged and mesmerized. This novel has strong female roles that show the strength and guidance of women in an enchanting world. Overall, this novel is well written, with much study and imagination entwined. The author leaves you feeling as if you stepped back in time to a world where fairy tales and magic are just around the corner.

K.C. Finn

Nimue: Freeing Merlin is a work of fiction in the fantasy, adventure, and romantic drama sub-genres, and was penned by author Ayn Cates Sullivan. The work is intended for the general reading audience, and contains mild romantic scenes with no graphic content, making it suitable for more sensitive readers. Our protagonist is Nina, a seemingly ordinary seventeen-year-old girl, who only begins to discover something unusual about herself whilst on a visit to Britain with her mother. Once there, Nina is shocked to discover that in a past life, she was the sorceress Nimue, and only she can find and recover the sorcerer Merlin from the tree in which she bound him centuries ago.

Author Ayn Cates Sullivan has crafted an imaginative and atmospheric work of fiction with plenty of thrills and unique insights to offer readers. One of the features which I found particularly impressive about this piece was its commitment to the female voice and perspective. It’s clear that the author understands the patriarchal nature of the old narratives of the time of Arthur and Merlin, and seeks to subvert and represent the female characters of that time in a refreshingly free style. Add to that the excellent coverage of action and dialogue, and the deep development around Nina’s personality and inner strengths, and what results is a superb work of magical adventure fiction in which readers of all kinds will find value. Overall, I would highly recommend Nimue: Freeing Merlin to fans of female-centric fantasy fiction, classic Arthurian literature lovers, and epic fantasy fans everywhere.

Samantha Gregory

Nimue: Freeing Merlin by Ayn Cates Sullivan is the story of a young woman called Nina who discovers that she was once Nimue in a past life, the Lady of the Lake from legend, and the woman responsible for placing Merlin's body in a tree until he was needed once more. She sets out to find him and release him, learning more about herself and the legend on the way. She lives in America in the beginning but soon returns to her ancestral home. England is a brand new experience for her and it awakens old memories in her as she works toward figuring out who she is or was in the past.

Ayn Cates Sullivan has written an entertaining book in Nimue: Freeing Merlin. I love Arthurian myths and this story was very interesting. Rather than focusing more on Arthur, like a lot of books do, this book focuses on Merlin and his relationship with Nimue. There are a lot of legends about the two of them and this story adds a new element to that. Nina is a great character and I loved how the story unfolded. She starts off oblivious, with only weird dreams to guide her, before she discovers the truth and her destiny. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves Celtic myths and Arthurian stories or even just epic fantasy tales. I think it will do well on the market, although there are plenty of books on the subject. I would recommend it.