Square Fish, 2006. 978-0805080490
Synopsis: A council has been called to Caer Dallben in order to discuss a plan of action to destroy the evil Arawn’s prized Black Caludron, which is producing more and more dark warriors with each passing day. The warriors chosen for the task however, will have to contend with more than just the evil forces of the Lord of the Land of Death, but also with their own demons that will determine their individual fates and the success of their journey.
Why I picked it up: I finished the first one and was eager to see how the story continued.
Why I finished it: As I had hoped, Alexander reveals much more about the world of Prydain in the second book that helps to shape the world a little more and adds to the rich history and traditions. This time, we divide our attention between the traditions of war and those of the transition from childhood to adulthood. Taran and Eilonwy are being shown the world of men and the sort of burdens that come along with growing up, though I have to admit that I don’t believe Eilonwy will ever outgrow her outspoken-ness. The companions from the first book are joined by a bard named Adaon and a disgraced prince named Ellidyr, both of whom will struggle with what it means to complete the task given to them and the fates given to them as the journey to keep evil at bay continues. The story is much darker at this stage of the journey in accordance with the growing threat from the Land of the Dead, but the darker tone provides for some wonderful character development and provides a better picture for the reader of what exactly is at stake should darkness overtake the land.
Other related materials: The Black Cauldron (movie); The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, Book 1) 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