Taran takes care of the pig. Needless to say that’s not a very satisfying life for him, and really he longs for adventure. But when adventure finds him, will he be ready?
I don’t usually do well with middle grade, but this book has shown me that it can be done well. It is possible for a book for children to speak to everyone. For that book to be well-written and smart, to have life lessons without hammering you over the head with them. To be exciting and engaging even to an adult.
I was swept up in this story, which has all the complications and depth of something Tolkien would approve of but accessible to a younger audience. The characters were all fun and interesting without being entirely made up of quirks and nothing else. They had layers, and I have a feeling those layers will be further explored in later volumes, which means I’m more than ready to read the others. For me, someone who only invests themselves when something feels worth the time, that’s saying a lot.
My one regret is that I didn’t read this when I was a kid. There is so much here that in retrospect I could see a younger me being absolutely obsessed with. Also, as I mentioned before, the moral of this story is sneaky, slipped in between action and magic. The main character is a bumbler, and he doesn’t save the day with ease. He still has a lot to learn, and that seems like such an important lesson for a child. That it’s okay to not be entirely finished when you’re ten, because all the years ahead will polish you and refine you. I really admired Alexander’s message.