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The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain Book 1) Paperback – May 16, 2006
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What brings the tale of Taran to life is Alexander's skillful use of humor, and the way he personalizes the mythology he has so clearly studied. Taran isn't a stick figure; in fact, the author makes a point of mocking him just at the moments when he's acting the most highhanded and heroic. When he and the young girl Eilonwy flee the castle of the wicked queen Achren, Taran emotes, "'Spiral Castle has brought me only grief; I have no wish to see it again.' 'What has it brought the rest of us?' Eilonway asked. 'You make it sound as though we were just sitting around having a splendid time while you moan and take on.'" By the end, Alexander has spun a rousing hero's tale and created a compelling coming-of-age story. Readers will sigh with relief when they realize The Book of Three is only the first of the chronicles of Prydain. --Claire Dederer --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
From the Publisher
He begins his journey with a strange assortment of companions on a dangerous mission to save his beloved land, Prydain. Packed with action, humor, romance, and gallantry, Taran's adventures chronicle his beloved Prydain and his battle with the forces of evil. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
There are books that rattle in your brain, heart and soul, and stay with you, never to be forgotten.
Lloyd Alexander's magnificent series falls into these categories. I first read them at the age of 13 and have just read them again at 35. This series was the first that I did not want to see end. It's what got me started on reading Tolkien, Lewis, Donaldson, Piers Anthony, Dune, and others. I'm glad to see so many people love these books as well.
And why not? The characters are dynamic, engaging and more real than the average fantasy ones. The stories move along nicely with few if any slow moments. The classic elements of good and evil are all here with some twists.
There were some aspects that I was too young to appreciate the first time. One was the humor, most noticeable in The Book of Three, as we see some of the characters getting to first know each other. The other aspect was the theme/message that the way of the warrior is not the only path to nobility, honor, and courage (or to adulthood). There is as much honor in taking care of a garden as there is in being a warrior, to very loosely paraphrase one of the characters. In this day and age, when so much of the culture says be the biggest, baddest, toughest, strongest, richest etc person who destroys or gobbles up things, the message of taking care of one's garden, creating something of beauty be it a woven cloak or a clay pot, or honoring a friend's request is refreshing and not heard enough.
To the other reviewers who feel Alexander borrowed characters and motifs heavily from Tolkien, these have been part of literature and mythology for a long time. Long BEFORE Tolkien. If Dallben is Gandalf, well, Gandalf is Merlin.Read more ›
The tale of Taran and friends has everything a great children's book should: adventure, danger, good, evil, love and death. And, there is lots of humor, too, which you don't always find in similar clasics. The writing is great throughout -- this is not Goosebumps -- and the child who has the privilege of reading the Chronicles will surely be changed. The story, based on Welsh legends, subtly explores the great mysteries of life, and teaches lessons about bravery, honesty, compassion and devotion, without ever being preachy or obvious.
These books belong on the same shelf as the L'Engle Time trilogy, Susan Cooper's Dark is Rising Sequence, the Narnia Books and a small number of others.
Buy this for a favorite kid (maybe one that has gotten hooked on reading through "Harry Potter"), but get it for yourself, too.
Consider the similarities:
Taran/Luke works on a farm. He hates it there, and wants to be a hero. One day, his pig HenWen/his droid R2D2 runs off and this engages our young hero in an adventure where he meets a sage old wizard/jedi knight, a rogue-ish fflam/han solo and giant hairy sidekick gurgi/chewbacca. THEN, they go off to save the willful, mouthy, brave princess eilonwy/leia from the evil horned king/darth vader, who has countless soulless soldiers/stormtroopers at his disposal.
interesting, huh? when i was a 7-year-old star wars addict, i stumbled across "the book of three" in my school library. when i saw that the book could have been the source material for the best movie of my young life, i became obsessed with all five books, and gobbled them all up enthusiastically.
each book is wonderful. the characters are charming, the stories just go and go and go, and you don't want the five books to end. and, for star wars geeks out there, ya gotta check out the similarities. it's certainly interesting...
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The Book of Three is about Taren, a young teen, is going around the land of Prydain try to do his own quest and what he feels he is owing others. Read morePublished 7 days ago by Catherine Ashby
This was my favorite book series growing up, and occasionally I will re-read it now that I am an adult. Read morePublished 9 days ago by Camilla Beckett
Salubrious sagacious, action paced heroic team quest saga for all adult kidsPublished 1 month ago by Amazon Customer
I got the second and third books as a gift and I needed this one to get the series started properly. Really good book. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Vc
My daughter and I finished this entire series a month ago and we are already back to reading them again!Published 2 months ago by Amazon Customer
This is a wonderful book. It reminds me of Tolkien's, "The Lord of the Ring" triology. The setting is the land of Prydain, which is loosely based on the area of Wales. Read morePublished 2 months ago by Susie
I loved this book when I was a child and I just read it to my 8 year old daughter and she loved it too. A great entree into the world of science fiction / fantasy.Published 2 months ago by The Dude