Elijah Kinch Spector's Reviews > Taran Wanderer

Taran Wanderer by Lloyd Alexander
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's review
Jan 27, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: sci-fi-fantasy
Read in January, 2009

This, like The Black Cauldron, is only just short of five stars by way of a certain something I can't put my finger on.

Nonetheless, while something of a boy's club without Eilonwy around, Taran Wanderer is a very, very well-done coming of age, that I kind of wish I'd read as a kid myself. For someone who's been reading the whole series, Taran develops so slowly and realistically that by the end it feels like the other characters realize what a hero and a bad-ass he is before the reader does.

The book rather reminded me of The Sword In the Stone, in that it's more a series of vignettes than a book with a single, overarching plot, and that the lessons taught by each vignette are not always the stock morals one gets from every children's story. Nor are they always spelled out, which is a plus. Too many people these days think that "child" = "idiot."

If The Castle of Llyr was a comic interlude, Taran Wanderer is a more serious one. The larger plot of Arawn and the fate of Prydain isn't furthered, it's pure bildungsroman and mostly character-driven, but still hard to put down, especially for anyone who's already grown attached to these characters.

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