Customer Reviews: The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles Of Prydain Book 3)
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on January 14, 2001
This book was my favorite of all the Prydain chronicles. Partly because a lot of the focus was on Eilonwy, though she was absent most of the book,(she has always been my favorite character) but also because it had great moral questions, and we finally begin to see Taran turn into an adult as he realizes as much as he cares about Eilonwy, he must let things be. In this book, Dallben decides that Eilonwy must leave Caer Dallben because it is time for her to learn how to be a young lady. He sends her to the Isle of Mona, and allows Taran to go with her, at least for the journey. On the way Taran struggles with his feelings for Eilonwy and his annoyance at Rhun, Prince of Mona, who is a bumbling fool, at least on the outside. Through an interesting chain of events, Eilonwy is kidnapped, and Taran learns that she is betrothed to Rhun without even her knowledge. They all go on yet another epic adventure to save her, as Taran must come to terms with his conflicting emotions. Another amazing thing about this book was that I didn't hate the love story part. Usually I hate mush because it seems as if they put it there just to be mush, and it rarely has any overall effect on the story. This however, was completly different, and I was actually hoping they would end up together. So, this is an excellent book that any fantasy lover would adore, though it would make more sense if you had read the other two books first.
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on July 11, 1998
I have heard complaints that this book is boring, lacking in action. Obviously, some people fail to appreciate the DEEP EMOTIONAL TURMOIL Taran endures on his quest to rescue his beloved princess (the greatest heroine in ALL of fiction, thank you very much) so that she can marry a bumbling idiot in prince's clothing. Oh, wailings of misery! as Gurgi would say. This is the best book of the series, and my personal all-time favorite. A word to adults: don't cheat yourself out of Prydain because the series is "for kids". I'm 20, and can fully enjoy the dark drama of Tolkein as well as the next fantasy-lover. But don't pass up the mini-wheats just because they're frosted! These books are ageless; these characters are as real as your own best friends. In fact, the fifth and final novel is dedicated to "all the boys who might have been Taran, and the girls who will always be Eilonwy." Thank you, Mr. Alexander; I am one of the latter (this explains my lack of brevity!). READ THEM.
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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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on November 5, 2002
A slight break from the thunderous intensity of Prydain's battles, Book 3 features our favorite characters from the previous two books. Again, maintaining continuity will greatly enhance your experience of each story. Eilonwy, the girl adventurer must return to her proper position of Princess, or at least learn to be more like one - no easy task for this independent spirit. She is sent to the Isle of Mona unknowingly to be prepared as the future Mrs. Prince Somebody. Taran, her best friend and best enemy, is sent to escort her to Mona. Unfortunately, there are plots afoot and Eilonwy is gone before they know it. Taran, working through his odd, new emotions for the Princess, is off and running with the faithful Gurgi and king-cum-bard Fflewddur. We also meet the silly, sweet Prince Rhun, a tuneful kitty, a subterranean giant, and a real witch.
While this is about Eilonwy, her heritage, and her future, it's also about the future of the friendship as people must change and follow their own destinies. Taran poignantly learns that sometimes the very most you can do is nothing. The change of pace is a refreshing, as we see the characters develop with each other instead of having to constantly flee/fight evil. This adventure feels more like a quest, with challenges to overcome and a goal to reach. In the process, all the heroes become closer and richer together.
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on May 24, 2004
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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on June 18, 2000
This is one of the funniest of the Prydain Chronicles. Humor is definitely one of Alexander's strengths, though also one of the series' few weaknesses, in that Alexander's characters each have their characteristic gags that they repeat over and over (the Fflam's propensity for exaggeration and bravado, Gurgi's alliterative interjections, Eilonwy's wilfulness, and so on), which quickly comes to seem too heavy-handed and belabored. But the fun is so genuine and so charming that one can forgive its obviousness. This is especially true in _The Castle of Llyr_, in which Taran speaks for all teenagers (and many of us who are older and who pretend to be wiser) who have suffered the torments of seeing the one they love in danger of bestowing his/her affections on a patently unworthy object (of course we would never object if the other guy--I speak as a male--were worthy of her--but somehow he never is). Once again, Taran has to make the choice between the appearance of heroism (in this case, being the one to rescue Eilonwy) and the reality.
A welcome new twist, however, is the focus on Eilonwy, whose character undergoes further development. In this novel, Eilonwy has to make tough choices of her own, having to do with her magical heritage and its potentiality for both good and evil (especially the latter, as Eilonwy's former mistress, the sorceress Achren, reappears quite literally with a vengeance). Throw in a giant cat and a tiny (well, tiny in spirit) giant called Glew, and you have a thoroughly enjoyable entry in this excellent series.
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on February 17, 2006
As a kid I read the Prydain books again and again. I can't resist some Harry Potter comparisons, and since they make a good common point of reference, I'll use the device here. The Prydain books aren't quite as exciting and magical as HP, but they have many of the same coming of age problems expressed through allegory, and frankly I find the characters better developed, more humorous, and more likeable. This is the third in the five book series, and to my mind the weakest but still very, very enjoyable. The protagonist of this book, as of the others is Taran of Caer Dallben, an orphan of unknown parentage and now an Assistant Pig-Keeper. He is being raised by a monastic collection of former war heroes and semi-wizards, and is always insecure about his lineage. In this book he also struggles with the crisis of his best friend, the princess Eilonwy, being forced to leave to learn to be a lady. Other main and recurring characters, save perhaps for the princess, are more or less also neurotic in delightful ways. Alexander avoids formula, even though the plot when described could sound like a million sword and sorcerer books. The depth and likeability of the characters lifts it above most fantasy books,though, especially fantasy books for kids. We grow up with Taran, and the character he develops is character that would almost universally be recognized as admirable. I highly, highly recommend all of them- at least as much as the HP books. Again, I think this may be the weakest one, but it's still terrific.
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on January 8, 2000
This fantastic book is an amazing sequel to The Book of Three and The black cauldron. Finding these books in my school library, I read the first one over winter break. I couldn't wait for the break to be over so I could get the sequels. This book turned out to be my favortite out of all five, though The High King was a close rival. The enchanting story about how Princess Eilonwy goes to Mona with Taran and Gurgi is facinating. All of the characters are unique in there own way, no matter how odd the character is. I love the character Prince Rhun. He is really funny. The ending of this book surprised me. I thought that Eilonwy would come willingly, happy to be rescued, but the ending is far from that. It is truly a worthy sequel to the first two books.
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on September 26, 1998
The third book of the Prydain Chronicles is excellent, but somehow a little awkward. It is reminiscent of the teenager that Taran has become by this time, as he learns to help an inept prince to become more of a man. It teaches excellent values that adults as well as children should have. Enjoy this book, but read it as the third, following "The Book of Three" and the "Black Cauldron" or else it may loose some of its majesty.
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on September 27, 2013
My dad read these books to me as a child, and now I'm reading them to my husband. I've enjoyed each of the novels. They are written for a young adult audience and I enjoy the fantasy world they are set in. There is not a lot of magic but more some fantastical elements in this world.

This is the third book in the series. I would recommend reading them in order and starting with The Book of Three.
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