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Children of Llyr (Mabinogion Tetralogy #2)
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Children of Llyr (Mabinogion Tetralogy #2)

4.13  ·  Rating details ·  376 Ratings  ·  24 Reviews
In stark, gaunt prose, it chronicles the years of Bran the Blessed - he who was so vast a man that no house could hold him nor ship bear his bulk - and of the tale of his beloved sister Branwen, his brother Manawyddan, and of his half-brothers Nissyen and the ghastly Evnissten. It is a tale of change and storm, of love beyond death, of high courage, of the end of an era - ...more
Paperback, 221 pages
Published November 1st 1974 by Ballantine Books (first published August 1st 1971)
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The second of Evangeline Walton's retellings of the Four Branches of the Mabinogion, The Children of Llyr is heartwrenching. The story of Pwyll, Prince of Annwn -- it's harrowing enough at times, fearing that he's messed everything up, that nothing will be good again... But the story of the children of Llyr is something else again, the destruction of two races, of a whole way of life.

It's better than the first book, to my mind: it got under my skin so much, so that I could hardly bear to keep r
A continuation of the story in the next generation, switching over to a different kingdom from Pwyll's, where there are five siblings, two of whom are twin offspring of their mother's sort-of rape. Walton sets one of the two half-brother twins as unusually good, and the other as a bad seed who corrupts and ruins all he touches, never once admitting his own fault in any of his misfortune.

Those characters (much like Mordred in Arthurian Legends) are known and can easily get tiresome, since they ar
Katie Daniels
I had almost forgotten what true storytelling was. The sheer power of an original story, unencumbered by the trappings of modern writing and style and all the conventions required by an impatient and inelegant generation. "Children of Llyr" is a retelling, and a masterful one. It is not a dramatization or an interpretation, or a modern novel bearing only the names and places of ancient Wales. It is true to the original, and more than that, true to the intent. Anyone interested in Celtic mytholog ...more
Mar 24, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Walton's writing is as stunning in this as in its predecessor. She is amazingly adept at expanding the original text, adding a modern concern with psychology, while never giving the feeling that she is doing violence to the feel of the ancient text.

Her neo-pagan and anti-Christian intrusions are annoying at time (does it simply never occur to her that my Celtic pagan ancestors gave up their old gods so easily and willingly for a reason?), but that annoyance is easily forgiven for the sake of th
"Change that comes too fast brings about a triple birth," says Bran when he has learned his lesson, "Hatred and Fear and Strife." (p.214) This is no longer the pleasant fairytale world of The Prince of Annwn, but high tragedy in the manner of the Greeks. The conflict between Old Tribes and New Tribes, Isle of the Mighty and Ireland, old ways and new ways exposes the darkness of the heart. There is no God here working out his plan to reconcile all things to himself. Only the gods "that never cond ...more
Sep 07, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Of the four novels Evangeline Walton drew from Welsh mythology, The Children of Llyr is the masterpiece -- the tale of a war between the patriarchal New Tribes (Ireland) and the matrilineal Welsh kingdom that resists all attempts at peace and eventually leaves both sides devastated. Walton's feminist take roots the disaster in crimes against women: Penarddun, who endures rape to save the life of her husband, Llyr; and Branwen, Llyr's daughter, whose marriage to the spineless king of the New Trib ...more
Octavia Cade
It's an odd experience reading a book when you're frustrated by so many of the characters. I read this, largely enjoying it, but all the time, at the back of my mind, I was thinking "Just kill the bad seed already before he screws it up for all of you!" Do they? No, but everyone else seems to be fair game for violent death. Does it all turn to custard? Yes, of course! A little bit of good judgement could have saved everyone a lot of trouble, is all I'm saying. I mean honestly - did none of them ...more
Oct 22, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-owned
A brilliant rendition of the second branch of the Mabinogi. Now onto the third branch!
Mar 12, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Infinitely better than Prince of Annwn
Oct 15, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A re-telling of the second branch of the Mabinogion this is also the second in Walton's series and tells the story of the giant king Bran and his siblings Branwen and Manawyddan and half-siblings Nissyen and Evnissyen. Branwen marries the Irish king Matholuch much to Evnissyen's annoyance, who then endeavours to ruin their marriage while Bran tries to keep the peace although things don't go entirely to plan. Walton brings this tale of the Mabinogion to life with vivid prose and well developed ch ...more
Fraser Sherman
Apr 30, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
Bran, King of Britain, gives his sister Branwen in marriage to the king of Ireland. The couple are in love, but Matholuch turns out to be a weak man who soon betrays her. And the warriors of Britain will have revenge ... This came out more than 30 years after Walton's Island of the Mighty, and I think her writing improved tremendously. Not that I didn't like the first book, but this is incredibly better, investing both the gutless Matholuch and the bitter strife-bringer Evnissyen with depth and ...more
Sep 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
In a time long past, a time that perhaps was actually just some weeks ago, the history of the world was collected as stories. These stories were entrusted to the Bards, who would tell everyone the great origin stories of the people, and weave in elements of warning about what may come to pass if wisdom is abandoned.
Evangeline Walton is a Bard, and while it is centuries too late to use this tale as a warning for the culture, she has masterfully woven in the knowing of how the ancient Welsh societ
Aug 05, 2007 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
This is book two in a series that is a truly beautiful and tragic retelling of a part of the Welsh epic, The Mabinogian. The language is lyrical and the tale touching, disturbing and even heart-rending. Walton is able to capture the epic mood and the spirit of the orginal in a compelling narrative style. Any changes or additions read as if they have always been a part of the tale. One of the only instances of which I can think where an author manages to improve on the original mythological mater ...more
May 27, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2012, cymru, other-times
A charming retelling of the second branch of the Mabinogion. More reviewing when I am awake. Well time has gone by and it is now nearly midnight, so I had better wake up and smell the coffee (well I am not allowed to drink it so I may as well).
I am dithering because I don't know what to say about this book. I read it fast, and I really enjoyed it, but the heat has got to me over the last few days, plus not sleeping more than a couple of hours - out working by 6 am, or earlier, doing the things
Aug 24, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cymru, fiction-20th-c
A haunting apocalyptic retelling of the Second Branch of the Mabinogi. Walton is true to the tale as written in the medieval books that survive, but also draws on contemporary nuclear fears and the images developed by Arthurian writers and by Eliot. Perhaps more than any of Walton's adaptations, Children of Llyr makes it clear how these ancient tales and their progeny continue to shape the mind of the Anglo-Celtic world and diaspora.
Apr 01, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011-reads
I'm getting more used to Walton's writing style, which is more like Tolkien than say Robert Jordan or George R.R. Martin. So I enjoyed this one more. What I am not getting used to is all the mistakes I'm finding in the text. This is seriously a huge embarrassment for anyone who worked on this edition at Overlook Press. On the inside flap of the dust jacket, the current title was "The Children of Llyre" and everywhere else, "The Children of Llyr." That is only one of MANY examples. Ouch.
Greg Strandberg
Apr 24, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
These books are terrible. The writing is the kind where you read a whole page and you wonder what the hell you just read. Why did I read all four of these books?

I was stupid, that's why. Don't make my mistake - try out the first book if you must, but honestly, I don't think you'll be doing much more than that.
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
The best of Evangeline Walton's retellings of stories from the Welsh Mabinogion; the only one that really stands alone. Beautifully written. Highly recommended for any person out there who might happen to be reading a lot of retellings of fairy tales and myths; in fact, I may have already sent it to her.
Feb 02, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: britain-wales
I am discovering that there are a few books which seem to have slipped off the goodreads radar - two today. Maybe it is the link between the different editions that has become untied in the *boo hiss* amazon thing.

No cow on the ice (swenglish term) = no real problem, nothing to get excited about.
The second branch of the Mabinogion is a tale of brave but sad (and often foolish) people. Ms. Walton's retelling does it justice.
Aug 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'm not crying you're crying
Jun 30, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Great, I'm going to read all four. This one is full of plotting for crowns, betrayal and warring.
Oct 19, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favorite of this series: a feminist re-telling of the Welsh book of mythology. It's classic high fantasy, of the utmost quality. Another Ruth recommendation.
Jul 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think about this book all of the time and I read it a year ago. I am only sad I didn't also pick up the other books as now I cannot find them in stores.
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Apr 25, 2012
Terry McGarry
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Nov 25, 2012
Midnyte Reader
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Evangeline Walton was the pen name of Evangeline Wilna Ensley, an American author of fantasy fiction. She remains popular in North America and Europe because of her “ability to humanize historical and mythological subjects with eloquence, humor and compassion”.
More about Evangeline Walton

Other books in the series

Mabinogion Tetralogy (4 books)
  • Prince of Annwn (Mabinogion Tetralogy #1)
  • The Song of Rhiannon
  • Island of the Mighty
“Gli uomini dell'Isola dei Potenti scesero a terra. Tirarono in secca le loro navi presso la foce del fiume Boyne, il dolce corso d'acqua che prende nome da un'antica Dea, madre di Angus degli Uccelli. Il fiume scorre a poca distanza da Tara dei Re, e passa vicino a Brug na Boinne, la splendida tomba di pietra che potrebbe essere più antica della più antica piramide d'Egitto. Una cosa è certa: non per Matholuch, né per altri re suoi pari, venne costruita quella tomba.” 0 likes
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