Finished "Your heart belongs to me." Now starting "Taran Wanderer" (The Chronicles of Prydain) by Lloyd Alexander. This is book four of five in the series that Disney based the movie "The Black Cauldron" on.
Taran Wanderer, the fourth book of the Prydain chronicles, is, in my opinion, the best book in a wonderful series.
All four books focus on the character of Taran of Caer Dallben, an orphan who is raised by a wizard (Dallben). The plot of Taran Wanderer focuses on Taran's quest to find out who his parents were. Taran hopes that he will find that he has the "noble" blood that he believes would give him the right to ask the Princess Eilonwy to wed him.
Needless to say, he does not have an easy time, wandering the length and breadth of Prydain searching for parents he does not know, who can barely remember him.
The book's joy, however, does not lie only in its plot, but also in the development that Taran undergoes through the course of the book. In Taran Wanderer, more than any other book, Taran grows into manhood. The trials he passes through temper and shape him, as he journeys through both familiar and strange lands. His experiences teach him lessons, but he learns even more from the people he meets.
Make no mistake. This is not a pure novel of character. Taran travels from one end of Prydain to the other, meeting kings and wizards, and also farmers and tradesmen. Along the way, he has many adventures and faces many hardships. As said earlier though, the solid plot is not the highlight of this book. The characters are. The myriad of people Taran meets in his travels provides a welcome break from the pattern of the other Prydain chronicles, where almost everyone seems to be either a king, a bard, or a magician (or some combination of the three). After so many books walking the heights, Taran finally returns to earth.
For those who have read the earlier books, you will see many familiar faces, including faithful Gurgi, the (not quite) bard Fflewddur Fflam, King Smoit, and even three old friends from the Marshes of Morva. You'll also be intrigued by new characters, some of whom have had hidden influences on characters you already know. And through it all, the beautiful tapestry of plot that Lloyd Alexander has woven will captivate you.
Taran Wanderer is a great book. I recommend it to readers of all ages.