Lloyd Alexander’s The Chronicles of Prydain mix of medieval fantasy and mythology doesn’t always hit all the right notes, but when it does it hits them well. Taran’s character development, the heroism in The Black Cauldron, and the general awesomeness of The High King are all what make this series stand out to me.
Some things make less sense to me, such as how the entire plot of The Castle of Llyr hinges on Magg snatching Eilowny from the castle in broad daylight, the occasional stiltedness of the dialogue, and Eilowny’s presence as the only female young adult living in Prydain. But those are not large enough black spots to ruin the good things, at least in my opinion.
I do think my speculation that Alexander was influenced by Tolkien is correct, or at least hints at the truth, since Prydain is so LOTR-esque in every respect. In fact, lovers of LOTR will probably enjoy Prydain if they keep in mind Prydain is a lesser being than LOTR.
The Chronicles of Prydain is not a series I find easy to reread, but it is one I enjoyed coming back to after eight or more years of not reading it. It definitely has its own place in fantasy and is memorable because of it.
As always, my favorites, ranked from most to least:
1.) The High King
2.) The Black Cauldron
3.) Taran Wanderer
4.) The Castle of Llyr
5.) The Book of Three
Tomorrow I’ll be posting a review copy, then I’m back to my normal schedule of Tuesday and Thursday, with fairy tales/2015-2016 books on Friday!