I love the way Kingston talks about stories and metaphors and Chinese culture, but the second half of the book is all about old women freaking out inI love the way Kingston talks about stories and metaphors and Chinese culture, but the second half of the book is all about old women freaking out in American culture and becoming useless and for some reason I can't deal with that. It's my least favorite part of Amy Tan's work as well....more
I'm still waiting to be knocked off my feet by this series, but this book was still pretty fun. Also, Susan was way less annoying, ditto for GentlemanI'm still waiting to be knocked off my feet by this series, but this book was still pretty fun. Also, Susan was way less annoying, ditto for Gentleman Johnny Marcone. The best part was when Thomas offered to high-five Ortega right before the duel. There needs to be more Thomas....more
In terms of character development, Taran Wanderer is probably the most impressive of the five Chronicles of Prydain books.
There is no evil to overcomeIn terms of character development, Taran Wanderer is probably the most impressive of the five Chronicles of Prydain books.
There is no evil to overcome in this one, no one wrong to right, no one to rescue. Taran simply wants to know where he came from, and so he sets off from Caer Dallben with only Gurgi and his faithful steed Melynlass to accompany him and no idea of where to start looking for the secrets to his heritage. Of course, Taran also has some other motives going on here. Mostly he wants to know where he came from because he wants to be worthy of the Princess Eilonwy, because everyone knows only a man of noble birth can marry a princess. He knows deep down that he very well might find he is a person of no consequence, but a very large part of him does in fact expect to find out he's some secret prince, or the long lost son of lord.
As Taran doesn't know where to start looking, he goes to the only people in Prydain who might be able to point him in the right direction: the enchantresses Orddu, Orwen, and Orgach. After a bit of flim-flammery and misdirection, they tell him there is a mirror that if looked upon will show him who he truly is. And so Taran and Gurgi set off to find the Mirror of Llunet. Their journey, however, is quickly and frequently derailed by chance meetings, scuffles with local lords, and a crisis of confidence-inducing encounter with a sheep farmer in the Northern Commets, among other things. Every encounter Taran has (some with familiar faces like King Smoit and Fflewddur Fflam) leaves his preconceptions about the world and himself changed, shifted, or even erased. He learns more about himself in the looking than in the finding, as the three enchantresses had warned him.
What was really interesting to me is that all of the encounters Taran has seem specifically tailored by Alexander into shaping Taran as a man. He sees many examples of leadership and masculinity in his year of travels (I joked in a status update on Goodreads that everyone in this book either wanted to kill or adopt him), which enables him to see the type of man he is becoming, and examine whether that is someone he should aspire to be at all. The almost bleak nature of the questions the book asks of Taran frankly astounded me in places (I'm thinking particularly of his encounter with Craddoc the Shepherd). And the ending doesn't go where you think it's going to go, considering the premise.
If I ever have a son, he's definitely getting these books as a present one day--you know, as like, a hint. Just really great stuff here....more