zomg welsh <3 <3 <3 <3 <3
Okay, there are loads of good things about this book. If you've got the accent ability, reading it aloud to kids would possibly be the greatest thing ever. All the different accents of the 19th-century British isles are here and they are almost too fun to bear. The dialogue in this book is its best feature and makes it vastly more awesome than if it were just a good adventure story featuring a harp. I love how you can tell where most of the characters hail from simply by their crazy old dialectical slang, and who would have it any other way? The guys from London with their fambles and glazing-cheats, the unbelievably Scottish Prince David (Prince Daio, lolol, love the Welsh), Arabis and her awesome dad, and of course a bunch of hulking, rowdy Welsh lads running round the place.
On the minus side, if you were to read this to kids, I guess you'd have a huge bunch of stuff to explain. Specifically, the edition I read did not have any explanation of Welsh pronunciation whatsoever (though there was a word definition list in the back) and that really, really bothered me. I hope other editions have a paragraph in them somewhere for those of us who suck and don't already know how to pronounce Welsh. (At least I had a little idea, thanks to Susan Cooper, randomly.) I know in older books that such things are often not included; I suppose they thought interested readers already had some idea of what's up with Welsh, but I'd hope a more recent edition would have an explanation.