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The Castle of Llyr Library Binding – May 2006


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Product Details

  • Library Binding: 174 pages
  • Publisher: Turtleback Books: A Division of Sanval (May 2006)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0738301809
  • ISBN-13: 978-0738301808
  • Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (39 customer reviews)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description

From School Library Journal

Grade 5-8 - Lloyd Alexander's third book in the five-volume Prydain Chronicles (BBD, pap. 1969) is a tale of adventure, mystery, enchantment, and sacrifice. Taran, an assistant pig-keeper, who cares for Princess Eilonwy deeply and is just beginning to realize the impossibility of it, and Prince Rhun, Eilonwy's betrothed-to-be, set aside their differences and work together to find Princess Eilonwy who has been captured by an evil enchantress. Along with the bard Fflewddur, shaggy Gurgi, and Lord Gwydion, the Prince of Don, they make a loyal band that meets several obstacles on the way. The author reads a brief introduction to acquaint listeners with the characters and scope of the tale. The narrator, James Langton, gives voice to the numerous characters using a variety of accents and tones, and the interesting names and places in the story come alive with his erudite pronunciation. Listeners may be tempted to read or listen to the entire series: The Book of Three (2004), The Black Cauldron (2004), Taran Wanderer (2004), and The High King (2005, all Listening Library). - Charli Osborne, Oxford Public Library, MI
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Review

"An exciting, highly imaginative, and sometimes profound fantasy of humor and heroism."
--The New York Times
 
"Character and dialogue is handled humorously and dextrously, which sets this classic-in-the-making apart from other folklore-based fantasies."
--Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

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First Sentence
Eilonwy of the red-gold hair, the Princess Eilonwy Daughter of Angharad Daughter of Regat of the Royal House of Llyr, was leaving Caer Dallben. Read the first page
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Format: Paperback
Taran has matured a little since the first two books; he's now less eager for a fight and also more aware of his feelings for the Princess Eilonwy. However, she's sent to the Island of Mona, the homeland of her ancestors off the coast of Prydain, to learn about becoming a proper young lady.
Taran escorts her there with the loyal creature Gurgi and the foolish Prince Rhun as company. Once on the island Taran learns that Eilonwy's alleged aunt, Achren, has intentions for Eilonwy's magical powers that would be disastrous for all, and when one of Achren's sinister agents kidnaps the princess Taran leads a rescue mission to save her.
Along the way they meet a harp-fancying cat in the forest and a midget named Glew in a cave, though both cat and midget have become giant-sized from Glew's magical meddlings, and the delays they cause make Eilonwy's plight all the more urgent.
The themes of the book become ever more mature, as Taran sees in Rhun some of himself at a younger age--much to his irritation. And though I missed it as a child, the romantic tension between Achren and Gwydion is very much there (as it is in the first and last book, as well), adding greater nuance to a story in which Taran can't quite express his feelings for Eilonwy the way he'd like her to understand them. Not unlike most people in love, actually.
The locations and plot may suggest that this story is a sideshow from the rest of the books, though the observant won't fail to notice certain characters and plot elements that lead directly up to the conclusion of the series.
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Format: Paperback
The third volume of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles, "The Castle of Llyr," is something of a diversion. The action leaves Prydain, and the adventures have less to do with the larger struggle against evil in the wider lands.
That doesn't mean this isn't a fun and humorous book. It is. Consider it something of a side adventure.
One of the great joys of this series is the steady progression from lighthearted children's fantasy to more adult themes and a grimmer tone, allowing the reader to grow along with the characters. What begins as a light fantasy becomes very serious, and it works well. By the end, you feel as if the characters have taken a life's worth of journeys, learning from them as they went.
The five wonderful books in this series feature an interesting cast of characters. Most of the action centers on Taran, a pig keeper destined for great things. Others, including a stereotypical spoiled princess, a crazed Gollum-like creature, and a hapless bard, take part in a series of increasingly epic adventures.
In this volume, the cast find themselves in another kingdom, where Eilonwy is busy learning to be a lady. A conspiracy of sorts appears, and our hapless heroes find themselves caught up in it. They encounter another batch of odd and interesting creatures, including a giant stuck in a cave too small for him and a giant cat, and grapple with corrupt (or simply irritating) nobles. By the end, we have some new and welcome cast members.
While on the surface this volume is not wholly essential for the broader Prydain story, "The Castle of Llyr" advances Taran and Eilonwy's relationship and introduces some characters who will appear again later.
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Format: Hardcover
The continuing epic story of Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper and his rag-tag motley crew of kings, princes, and furry ape-like creatures. This book in the Prydain Chronicles is, truth be told, far more usual than its predecessors. While the first two books in the series were fairly new and different adventure tales, this one falls back onto the standard rescue-the-princess-from-the-evil-enchantress mode. Eilonwy is in trouble, and we learn much more about her background and history than ever before. Added to the usual mix of characters for spice (the dwarf Doli fails to make an appearance in this tale and, I assume, leaves a gap) is another unwanted Prince. This time it's Prince Rhun, a good-hearted if completely incompetent young man. His betrothal to Taran's beloved Eilonwy does nothing to make our hero love him more, but the prince's sweet nature and good spirits eventually win everyone over. Also introduced by the cat loving Alexander (remember, this is the author of the interesting "Time Cat") is Llyan, an over-sized mountain cat that has taken quite a liking to bard Fflewddur Flan's harp playing. All in all, it's a pleasant mix of lovable characters. As you might be able to tell, this is not a good book to begin the series with. At this point, we know these people (and animals) fairly well and nothing they do will come as much surprise to anyone. It still amazes me to no end how prolific kings and princes are in this land. Though I understand that much of the point of these books is to show how little birthright counts when it comes to being good and strong. And it is quite a relief to see Taran doing something other than hot-headedly rushing into danger as he's done in the previous two books. Alexander's characters are growing, slowly but surely. It is with glee that I look forward towards reading yet another installment in this enjoyable series.
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