Saturday, September 03, 2011

The Week in Review (2): Prydain Finale, Return to Enderverse

It was a light reviewing week for me, not surprising given that it was our first week back to school! I'm also trying to get my work (and work schedule) set for fall. Hopefully I can get back on a better writing pace as September progresses.

So for this week, just two reviews, both of books whose fictional worlds are such fun to spend time in.

I finally reviewed The High King, the fifth and final book of Lloyd Alexander's Chronicles of Prydain series. I finished the series long ago, but couldn't quite bring myself to write the final review because I didn't seem to want the experience to end. D. and I have been listening to the audio book versions (marvelously read by James Langton) and I'm pretty sure we'll be tackling Prydain as a family read-aloud sometime in the next year. The sweet girl has loved Narnia, and we're planning to read The Hobbit sometime this year too. So Prydain seems like a perfect next step into fantasy literature. Links at the bottom of review will take you to my reviews of the first four books in the series.

I also reviewed Ender in Exile, the most recent return to the Enderverse by Orson Scott Card. I had mixed feelings about this one. On the one hand, it's always enjoyable to spend time with Ender, and I can understand Card's love of returning again and again to this character and his world. On the other hand, some of these story points have been hashed out so many times in other books in the series that it felt a little flat. If you're an Ender fan, however, you'll likely enjoy this...and there are some great moments. I especially liked the letter from Colonel Graff to Ender (written near the end of Graff's life). I suspect I will continue to return to Ender's world as long as Card keeps wanting to write it...and I'm always fascinated by the ways he explores how stories change and grow as you look at the same event from multiple perspectives.


Anonymous said...

Ah, Prydain. Taran Wanderer is my favorite of the series, but as you mention in your review, it wouldn't be half so amazing without the conclusion in The High King. Such a rich, rich world, and so relatively unknown compared to Narnia, Middle-Earth, and Hogwarts et al!

(Oh, and I passed a blog award on to you - it is in the latest post on my blog.)

Beth said...

I love Taran Wanderer too. It's so different from every other book in the series, with Taran spending so much time on his own...and yet it's so beautifully written. It's also where the whole series deepens for me and starts to feel "epic."

I wonder why the Prydain books aren't as widely known. I keep being amazed that I didn't know these books at all when I was a kid. Given the fact that I grew up in the 70s and was immersed in the writing of L'Engle and Lewis, it doesn't make a lot of sense. Then again, I was a very self-directed reader. Hardly any adults in my life tried to guide my reading in any way. There are good things and bad things about that :) but one inevitable outcome are missing books/series that I just happened not to stumble upon. Prydain's in that gap.

Thanks much for the blog award and the encouragement! I'm so glad you enjoy visiting/reading here.

Beth said...

Yikes! Inner editor won't let me rest... "one inevitable outcome is" -- not are. Sorry about the wonky subject/verb agreement there. I'm a bit bleary-eyed this morning still!