_The Owl Service_ is a book that has to be read twice to be understood--and a familiarity with the myth of Blodeuwedd doesn't hurt either. This novel takes place in the selfsame valley where Blodeuwedd, Lleu, and Gronw played out their tragic love-triangle in times long past, and the spirit of the conflict still haunts the valley. Every generation, the situation crops up again, with different people playing the parts, but always ending badly.
One summer, it is three teenagers who enact the old story; a young girl and her stepbrother, visiting from the city, and a local boy. At first read, it isn't clear what Alison, Roger, and Gwyn have to do with the legend of Blodeuwedd, since their situation is different on the surface. If I'd only read the book once, I might give it two and a half stars. But upon re-reading, the resonances became more apparent, and I began to see the points in the story that correspond to events in the legend.
I want to give it three and a half stars, but Amazon won't let me do that, and my grade school teachers drummed it into my head that something-and-a-half rounds up to the next whole number. *wink* So, four stars. I would have liked it better if the characters had been fleshed out more before the legend started controlling their lives; the spirit of the old conflict started turning them into unsympathetic jerks before I had a chance to develop a liking for the people they really were. Still, a decent piece of myth-based fiction.