The Book of Three (The Chronicles of Prydain, #1)The Book of Three by Lloyd Alexander
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Every time I read a book with young adults or children as the main characters, I can’t help but stop and think for a moment “Where the hell are your parents?!” Take Harry Potter, by book seven you have a whole school of kids fighting off the denizens of evil and only a dozen adults? Where are these kids’ parents and why did they let them go to school that year anyway knowing that the Dark Lord had it in for them?

At least in this story, the young man in question going on such a drastic adventure makes sense. He did exactly what he was told not to do and ended up in a heap of trouble over it. Taran is a young man who thirsts for adventure without really knowing what an adventure is. When the forces of an evil king ride forth into a peaceful kingdom, Taran gets a very real accounting of why adventures are best left to the stories. He ends up chasing after a fortune seeker pig and gets himself lost, thrown in a dungeon, lost again, drown, lost again, and going up against the big bad general himself. Along the pay he collects friends who help him stay the course.

Taran is a character lacking in any real maturity. He whines on occasion and is given to fits of emotion. To be honest, he reminded me of a junior high/high school kid. I didn’t like those types when I was one, so I never became fond of him. Then there was his crush the enchantress who couldn’t listen or effectively use power or act with maturity but was a good sport regardless. The third in the party was king turned bard who couldn’t do music but loved to lie. Eventually we find a dwarf who wished for invisibility, was cranky, and an excellent guide. Finally, we come to my favorite of the group, a creature named Gurgi who was half man and half something else who desperately wanted a friend and kindness but also to fill his belly.

Overall, the story kept me intrigued and I continued on despite only really liking one of the characters. You don’t have to like a character for a story to be good. In fact, sometimes the irritation with a character makes it a better read.