Square Fish, 2006. 978-0805080483
Synopsis: Taran is bored with his duties as an Assistant Pig-Keeper and would much rather be off adventuring and becoming a hero. But his charge Hen-Wen, Prydain’s only oracular pig, escapes and Taran is forced to go after her, he soon finds himself in the middle of a fantastic adventure that he has always wanted. Then he realizes that The Horned King and the forces of evil are gathering to fight, and Taran begins to understand the challenges of becoming a hero.
Why I picked it up: This Unshelved comic. I picked it up at an airport during a trip in January.
Why I finished it: This book has so many wonderful fantasy elements that reminded me a lot of traditional high fantasy (think The Lord of the Rings) that immediately drew me in. Alexander has created a world seeped in ancient lore that borrows from many of the mythology of the British Isles and the tradition of King Arthur. We are given just a little bit of background to establish the setting and get a general field for the world of Prydain, but I am given the impression that more of it will be divulged as we move into the next books. Taran as a character is unsure of himself and his own abilities the more the book goes on, and the reader has an opportunity to see him grow up a little bit, become more aware of the world around him, and to appreciate the things he had learned before he began his journey. He learns to trust his companions and value the different skills that they bring to the table that gives Taran the strength to go on. I’m eager to keep going with the series to see what happens and how the world will evolve.
Other related materials: The Black Cauldron (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 2) by Lloyd Alexander; The Castle of Llyr (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 3) by Lloyd Alexander; Taran Wanderer (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 4) by Lloyd Alexander; The High King (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 5) by Lloyd Alexander; The Foundling, And Other Tales of Prydain by Lloyd Alexander; Time Cat: The Remarkable Journeys of Jason and Gareth by Lloyd Alexander; The Bronze Bow by Elizabeth George Speare; The Dark is Rising Sequence books by Susan Cooper; The Castle in the Attic by Elizabeth Winthrop; The Battle for the Castle by Elizabeth Winthrop; The Last of the Really Great Whangdoodles by Julie Andrews Edwards; The Enchanted Forest Chronicles books by Patricia C Wrede; The Ranger’s Apprentice books by John Flanagan