Okay…so this is more a review of the entire series rather than this single book. However, I will take this moment to say that I preferred this book over all of the others in the series.
I felt that, all together, this was half Lord of the Rings minus all the dry prose and half a story of becoming a man. In the first book of the series, I found Taran to be an annoying, prattling boy who needed a good smack upon the head. As the tales unfolded from story to story, Taran admittedly grew on me as he surely grew into his manhood. In The High King, we see Taran as an honorable man worthy of his final role (don’t worry, I won’t spoil it). I did not however ever warm to his female counterpart. I found that even as Taran grew up, she remained the same arrogant, nattering, and completely self-fulfilling creature as in the beginning. Only her willingness to help others prevented me from throwing the book whenever she spoke. Her personality needed work, but she did have a good heart.
Between the king who knows not he is a king, the hidden boats to a land of no suffering, the woman who would be a warrior and is part enchantress, and the enchanter himself- this definitely feels very familiar in the way of Tolkien. However, the story was uniquely done and while it may favor an older tale, it isn’t slave to it. Even the one who resembled Golem to my mind, Gurgi remains my favorite character, had his own path and ended up quite differently than his counterpart. Where Tolkien showed us great tragedy after great tragedy, LLoyd Alexander gave us hope. This was a story where everything could and did go wrong; but in the next breath did and could go right. I enjoyed the tale MORE without Tolkien’s dryness and tragedy.
Well done and worthy of the Newberry