The Foundling and other tales of Prydain

Our rating: ***

This is a collection of short stories about Prydain. It’s very helpful for learning a little bit of the “background” history of Prydain, including the story behind Dyrnwyrn and how Orddu, Orgoch and Orwen found Dalben. There’s a fun story with Doli and several others.

I enjoyed this one. It’s a quick read, and there’s not a lot to it, but you could consider it a “nutritional supplement” for the Prydain Chronicles. I would recommend that you read the Chronicles first, then this one, not that it gives anything away, but it might make more sense. It’s a nice mix of six stories, (that’s a tongue-twister!) and it works great for a “quickie” while I’m waiting for something or other. Enjoy!

The Book of Three

Our rating: ****

The first book of the Prydain Chronicles is off and running. Running in the form of the oracular pig, Hen Wen, who has mysteriously run away. Taran, the assistant pig-keeper, sets out to find her and also to seek for adventure. On the way, he meets Prince Gwydion, the war leader of High King Math, and tries to assist the prince in his battle against Death Lord Arawn’s chief warrior, The Horned King.

I could have told you more in the summary, but that was such a nice ending and I might have given things away. Ah well, (sigh) such is life. Hopefully, now you’ll want to read it. This book is great. A classic. Adventure, captures and, of course, daring escapes. This is a great beginning to an addicting series.

The Castle of Llyr

Our rating: ****

The Princess Eilonwy must go to the island of Mona to learn how to be a proper lady, and she doesn’t like it one bit. Taran and Gurgi accompany her to Mona and find that the clumsy Prince Rhun is to marry Eilonwy when she is trained properly. Then the chief steward to the king of Mona, Magg, disappears along with Eilonwy, accompanied by warnings by Prince Gwydion that the princess is in dire peril. Along with Fflewdder Fflam, Prince Rhun and Gurgi, Taran sets out to rescue Eilonwy before it’s too late.

I enjoyed this book the most of all the Prydain series. Prince Rhun drags Taran and his friends into adventure after adventure. Fflewdder’s meeting with Llyan is hilarious, and Prince Rhun’s mishaps are always humorous. The ending is exciting and the reader is left wanting to read the next Chronicle of Prydain.

The High King

Our rating: ****½

Dyrnwyn, the sword of great power, has fallen into the hands of Arawn, Death-Lord. Taran and Prince Gwydion raise an army and begin the epic march to re-capture the sword and destroy Arawn and his followers once and for all. After arriving at Mount Dragon, Arawn’s stronghold, they face the greatest danger yet, and Taran must make the most crucial decision of his life.

This book is one of my favorites. Being the last book, it was hard to realize that there wouldn’t be any more to read about my favorite characters, but, overall, it’s a great ending of a great series.

The Black Cauldron

Our rating: ****

The Cauldron-born are becoming a greater threat than ever. Dallben decides to organize a group of people to undertake a great mission. Taran, Gwydion, Doli, Fflewddur and many others set out to capture and destroy the Lord of the Land of the Dead’s greatest weapon: The Black Cauldron.

The Prydain Chronicles are a very enjoyable fantasy series. Lloyd Alexander’s imagination shines through in this book, as well as his others. An exciting, adventure-packed story.