I was really scared I wasn’t going to get this in this month because A) I procrastinated, B) school has started, and C) my Wifi was out for like 3 hours and I didn’t know what was wrong. (Note: this says it was published on September 1st but it was August 31st my time when I published it so it counts as my post for August not September).
If you haven’t heard of The Chronicles of Prydain, I’m not really surprised. If you’ve heard of these books only because of the Disney movie The Black Cauldron (1985), I feel just a little bad for you. Lloyd Alexander wrote a solid plot in these books, and Disney did not make a good adaptation (This is about as much as I will say on the movie). There’s probably spoilers ahead, so be warned.
The series follows Taran, Assistant Pig-Keeper at Caer Dallben. There are 5 books, chronicling Taran’s growth from being a young upstart to a brave young man. There are five books: The Book of Three, The Black Cauldron (why Disney chose to name their movie after the second book I may never know), The Castle of Llyr (probably my favorite), Taran Wanderer, and The High King (warning: a lot of people die in this one).
Each book is between 200-300 pages, getting longer as the books continue (as happens with most series). I would recommend them for 6th graders and up, although I first read them when I was a junior in high school. There are some strange words (mostly character names), but they’re still quite easy to read.
I might eventually write a fleshed out review for each book, but in this post I am looking at the series as a whole. Overall, I like it. It doesn’t deserve the horrible adaptation Disney gave it. The plot is solid, although maybe a tad cliche at moments. There are a lot of coincidences that happen in the books, but you have to give the author a little slack: the books aren’t that long and he had to fit a whole plot in; who cares if they randomly come across this item they’ll need in two chapters?
When reading the series, I often have to pause to laugh at some character’s idiocy (usually Fflewdder) or obliviousness (usually Taran). There are also some really heartfelt moments, such as the end of The Castle of Llyr, and some moments that made me really angry. Lloyd Alexander really knows how to get a reaction out of someone, that’s for sure.
The characters are amazing. Throughout the series, I grew very attached to Taran. I could understand his motives and what made him tick. I loved Eilowny’s spunky attitude, and that you got to spend more time with her during The High King. Fflewdder and I are basically the same person. Anytime my mind supplied a comment, the next line was Fflewdder’s words saying practically the same thing. Gurgi is the sweetest, bravest, most loyal thing in the world. I love him to bits and get angry with anyone who doesn’t appreciate him. I feel about the same way with Prince Rhun, but not to such a great extent. I can honestly say the only character I don’t like (besides the villains; they’re not very redeemable or likable, although I do appreciate Achren kind of) is Glew. It’s a good thing he’s a rather minor character.
I love The Chronicles of Prydain. I don’t know why it took me until my junior year in high school to read them, although it also took me until junior year of high school to read The Chronicles of Narnia, so maybe that was just the year of reading old children’s books. I would definitely suggest reading The Chronicles of Prydain yourself!
Let me know if you’ve read them (or I suppose if you’ve seen that horrible excuse for a movie or know why it’s named after the second book) in the comments, or just let me know when you’ll read them!