Hen Wen the prophesying pig has escaped. Taran, the assistant pig-keeper had been charged with watching her. He tried to keep her from digging out, but she did anyway. Dallben, Taran’s master, has read to him from The Book of Three. Coll is the head pig keeper and he helps Taran make horse shoes. Taran wants to learn how to sword fight, little did he expect that Coll was a former warrior.
Taran races out after Hen Wen, where he meets a terrifying warrior wearing a deer mask. Taran gets away and finds Gwydion as a companion. They travel together for a while, but are caught by an evil sorceress and thrown in the dungeon. A girl named Eilonwy helps Taran escape, but it appears that Gwydion has suffered. The two travel on and find another companion, a bard, whose harp strings break whenever he lies.
They meet a man who lives in land where all animals get along, but they must leave that place. They must find Hen Wen and there is also terrible evil afoot. The horned king is planning something awful.
The group travels on getting captured by dwarves and finally seeing battle. It turns out Taran is much braver than an assistant pig keeper.
What I liked
I read a bit about this book and it was based loosely on Welsh mythology. I don’t know enough about Welsh mythology to pick out characters and events to compare this book to. The book reminded me of The Lord of the Rings. There were similar elements and story-telling features. Gurgi is much like Gollum. There is a fabled sword wandering around, which is much like Aragorn’s sword in LOTR. There are dwarves. There is an evil-looking evil, much like Sauron in LOTR. Dallben is much like Gandalf. The two stories are very similar in my eyes, but this one is definitely more child friendly.
Who ever heard of a fortune-telling pig? I think that’s just great.
What I didn’t like
As with many children’s books, it feels as if information is missing. Action is jumped to rather than built up to. I’m still not entirely sure where in the heck Gurgi came from. All a person has to do is not read a few sentences carefully and they’re left with a gap in the story. I’m a fast reader and, yes, I’m guilty of not reading as deeply as I should at times. I don’t like feeling as if I’ve missed something huge while having only not paid attention to a few sentences.
While I liked that this book seemed very similar to LOTR, I also don’t like it. It has such a similar feel. In my head this book is more like LOTR for kids. While fun in concept, I feel as if I’ve read this book before.
A pig that tells the future. That’s just great.
Would you go on a quest for a pig?
How do you think Taran ended up?