Friday, October 5, 2012

Banned Books Week Review: The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain #1) by Lloyd Alexander

Overall Impression:

Source: Gift (won from Bibliopunk)

Publication Date: first published 1964

Short Synopsis (Goodreads):Taran the Assistant Pig-Keeper wants to become a hero, joined by Eilonwy, the strong-willed and sharp-tongued princess; Fflewddur Fflam, the hyperbole-prone bard; the ever-faithful Gurgi; and the curmudgeonly Doli--all of whom have become involved in an epic struggle between good and evil that shapes the fate of the legendary land of Prydain.

My Review: I've been meaning to read Lloyd Alexander for quite a while, his type of fantasy seemed just my style, but have not gotten around to it. When I won it from Bibliopunk I thought 'This is it, I'll finally read it!', but other books inevitably got read first. It wasn't until I saw an email from Macmillian listing it as one of their top most contested books for Banned Book Week that I was like 'What? Banned?! What for? Now I MUST read it' and so I did.

I thought that this book was going to be good, but slow. It ended up being quite the opposite! I was surprised at how sparse Alexander could be with the intermediate details and how stuff just kept happening. The adventure literally starts in the first chapter, and that like, never happens! Usually there's a bit of a lead up and background, life is all ho-hum, but this honestly starts off right away.

It's quite impressive actually, how much Alexander can explain in so few of words. I actually really thought that there was genuine character growth for Taran and a lot of the other characters had depth to them. Yes, things did indeed get a little simplistic sometimes, but it was a fairly fleshed out story and I look forward to seeing what else happens in the series.

Bringing this back to Banned Books Week, Macmillian said on a little post that they did that the reason "this book and the rest in the series have been challenged [are] because it has religious themes that have been seen as blasphemous or pagan", which I found to be stretching it. Everyone is entitled to their own opinion, but this book really didn't have that type of feel to me. It's just good ol' fashioned fantasy. Worth the read, but not worth the ban.

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