Read The Children of Llyr by Evangeline Walton Online


In stark, gaunt prose, it chronicles the years of Bran the Blessed - he who was so vast a man that no house could hold him nor ship bear his bulk - and of the tale of his beloved sister Branwen, his brother Manawyddan, and of his half-brothers Nissyen and the ghastly Evnissten. It is a tale of change and storm, of love beyond death, of high courage, of the end of an era -In stark, gaunt prose, it chronicles the years of Bran the Blessed - he who was so vast a man that no house could hold him nor ship bear his bulk - and of the tale of his beloved sister Branwen, his brother Manawyddan, and of his half-brothers Nissyen and the ghastly Evnissten. It is a tale of change and storm, of love beyond death, of high courage, of the end of an era - and the beginning of another. It is epic fantasy in its purest form - marvellous in its compass and power....

Title : The Children of Llyr
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780020264743
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 221 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

The Children of Llyr Reviews

  • Nikki
    2019-04-16 22:28

    The second of Evangeline Walton's retellings of the Four Branches of the Mabinogion, The Children of Llyr is heartwrenching. The story of Pwyll, Prince of Annwn -- it's harrowing enough at times, fearing that he's messed everything up, that nothing will be good again... But the story of the children of Llyr is something else again, the destruction of two races, of a whole way of life. It's better than the first book, to my mind: it got under my skin so much, so that I could hardly bear to keep reading, but I could hardly bear to stop. I fell in love with Manawydan, especially, and ached for Branwen, for Nissyen, and even at the end for Evnissyen. Evangeline Walton really brought the tales to life, here, and made them feel vibrant and urgent and pressing. She had to add less, I think, to make the story interesting, so it's also perhaps more true to the source.My only complaint is the slight preachiness, near the end, where Bran the Blessed talks about governments and so on. It's an anachronism, which the text acknowledges, and it pulled me out of it.There's such a sense of inevitability, of doom, of all the bright things going dull... I loved it. Much as I love the stories of the Mabinogion, my heritage, they weren't set on fire for me until reading this.

  • Jacob
    2019-03-30 02:24

    A continuation of the story in the next generation, switching over to a different kingdom from Pwyll's, where there are five siblings, two of whom are twin offspring of their mother's sort-of rape. Walton sets one of the two half-brother twins as unusually good, and the other as a bad seed who corrupts and ruins all he touches, never once admitting his own fault in any of his misfortune.Those characters (much like Mordred in Arthurian Legends) are known and can easily get tiresome, since they are so unlikable. However, Walton keeps him fresh and believable, and one weeps to see things come to their tragic, completely destructive end. It's all the more wrenching because the other siblings keep treating the bad seed as well as possible because he's their brother, when the destruction could have been mitigated if he'd been treated the way they knew he probably deserved.This is the story that has a giant king, Bran, whose girth is only exceeded by his wisdom, whose head is preserved talking long after he dies in order for it to continue sharing its wisdom. It is also the story with a cauldron of a certain color made more famous by Lloyd Alexander's series The Black Cauldron.

  • Katie Daniels
    2019-04-13 23:13

    I had almost forgotten what true storytelling was. The sheer power of an original story, unencumbered by the trappings of modern writing and style and all the conventions required by an impatient and inelegant generation. "Children of Llyr" is a retelling, and a masterful one. It is not a dramatization or an interpretation, or a modern novel bearing only the names and places of ancient Wales. It is true to the original, and more than that, true to the intent. Anyone interested in Celtic mythology but daunted by the original Gaelic texts need wonder no more where to learn the legend and folklore that predate even those of King Arthur himself. "Children of Llyr" is a powerful, emotional story of love and revenge, war and wisdom. It isn't cheap or tawdry, or contrived. It rings with an honesty that only a legend that's been handed down lovingly for thousands of years ever can. It is as complex and intense as a fantasy masterpiece, but so much closer to home than any fictional world ever could be. Evangline Walton has, in true bardic fashion, captured our hearts and imaginations with plain language. In this simple telling there is more pain and truth to be found than in any flashier, more conceited work. In it we are not only entertained, but we are instructed--instructed to look deep into ourselves, for if these choices could be made by our ancestors, why could they not be made by us as well?

  • Sean
    2019-04-10 21:30

    Walton's writing is as stunning in this as in its predecessor. She is amazingly adept at expanding the original text, adding a modern concern with psychology, while never giving the feeling that she is doing violence to the feel of the ancient text. Her neo-pagan and anti-Christian intrusions are annoying at time (does it simply never occur to her that my Celtic pagan ancestors gave up their old gods so easily and willingly for a reason?), but that annoyance is easily forgiven for the sake of the beauty of her writing and the majesterial authority of her vision. (Yes, I just wrote "the majesterial authority of her vision" and I mean it.) Her insights into the inner thoughts and feelings of the people she writes about make me willing to cut her some slack for her comment about the old gods' supposed "charity." "Charity" is precisely the last word that would come to mind for me. I love Walton's retelling of the Mabinogion and recommend it for anybody who loves old stories, human psychology, the real ancient Celts as well as the misty and mystical "Celtic twilight," beauty, the Matter of Britain, or a haunting and engaging tale.

  • LeAnne
    2019-04-18 21:19

    "Change that comes too fast brings about a triple birth," says Bran when he has learned his lesson, "Hatred and Fear and Strife." (p.214) This is no longer the pleasant fairytale world of The Prince of Annwn, but high tragedy in the manner of the Greeks. The conflict between Old Tribes and New Tribes, Isle of the Mighty and Ireland, old ways and new ways exposes the darkness of the heart. There is no God here working out his plan to reconcile all things to himself. Only the gods "that never condemn [even man's abuse of woman or violent death], never bade or forbade...; Gods who left man to burn himself until his eyes were clear enough to behold the wonder and peace of their gardens; to do what only oneself can do, and break his own bonds." (p 209) The worldview is a cycle of life and death and rebirth. We are still in a mythical world of giants and Druids and magic spells. The telling is masterful.

  • Steven
    2019-04-16 22:33

    Of the four novels Evangeline Walton drew from Welsh mythology, The Children of Llyr is the masterpiece -- the tale of a war between the patriarchal New Tribes (Ireland) and the matrilineal Welsh kingdom that resists all attempts at peace and eventually leaves both sides devastated. Walton's feminist take roots the disaster in crimes against women: Penarddun, who endures rape to save the life of her husband, Llyr; and Branwen, Llyr's daughter, whose marriage to the spineless king of the New Tribes becomes a nightmare. Walton's artistry illuminates heroes and villains alike, and she makes Evnissyen -- prickly, spiteful, doomed to endless self-loathing that sparks horrifyingly violent acts -- into one of the greatest antiheroes in literature. Evangeline Walton

  • Octavia Cade
    2019-04-17 04:32

    It's an odd experience reading a book when you're frustrated by so many of the characters. I read this, largely enjoying it, but all the time, at the back of my mind, I was thinking "Just kill the bad seed already before he screws it up for all of you!" Do they? No, but everyone else seems to be fair game for violent death. Does it all turn to custard? Yes, of course! A little bit of good judgement could have saved everyone a lot of trouble, is all I'm saying. I mean honestly - did none of them see it coming? Yeah, I know it's a story based on a mythology and so the author's somewhat limited in where she can go, but even so. I can see the book's very competently written, but it didn't grab me enough to rush out and find the rest of the series, though I'm sure I'll get to them eventually.

  • Tony
    2019-03-29 00:39

    A brilliant rendition of the second branch of the Mabinogi. Now onto the third branch!

  • Grace
    2019-04-20 21:26

    Infinitely better than Prince of Annwn

  • Sam
    2019-04-01 03:13

    A re-telling of the second branch of the Mabinogion this is also the second in Walton's series and tells the story of the giant king Bran and his siblings Branwen and Manawyddan and half-siblings Nissyen and Evnissyen. Branwen marries the Irish king Matholuch much to Evnissyen's annoyance, who then endeavours to ruin their marriage while Bran tries to keep the peace although things don't go entirely to plan. Walton brings this tale of the Mabinogion to life with vivid prose and well developed characters, making the story a bit more accessible without losing the essence of the original. The ending did turn into a bit a sermon of sorts, which I don't remember the original tale being, but this didn't detract from the story too much, particularly since the events of the story were done and dusted (as it were). Overall a very good adaptation.

  • Fraser Sherman
    2019-04-26 01:17

    Bran, King of Britain, gives his sister Branwen in marriage to the king of Ireland. The couple are in love, but Matholuch turns out to be a weak man who soon betrays her. And the warriors of Britain will have revenge ... This came out more than 30 years after Walton's Island of the Mighty, and I think her writing improved tremendously. Not that I didn't like the first book, but this is incredibly better, investing both the gutless Matholuch and the bitter strife-bringer Evnissyen with depth and believability. It helps that Walton has such a dark legend to work with, of course, but there's no question she does a magnificent job.

  • Matt
    2019-04-11 21:34

    In a time long past, a time that perhaps was actually just some weeks ago, the history of the world was collected as stories. These stories were entrusted to the Bards, who would tell everyone the great origin stories of the people, and weave in elements of warning about what may come to pass if wisdom is abandoned.Evangeline Walton is a Bard, and while it is centuries too late to use this tale as a warning for the culture, she has masterfully woven in the knowing of how the ancient Welsh society would eventually give way first to Vikings, and then to Christianity. All while telling a great origin story with all the flourish of an oral telling.

  • Brenna
    2019-04-26 02:40

    This is book two in a series that is a truly beautiful and tragic retelling of a part of the Welsh epic, The Mabinogian. The language is lyrical and the tale touching, disturbing and even heart-rending. Walton is able to capture the epic mood and the spirit of the orginal in a compelling narrative style. Any changes or additions read as if they have always been a part of the tale. One of the only instances of which I can think where an author manages to improve on the original mythological material. The rest of this series is impessive as well. I recommend reading the entire series, but if you are unsure, try Children of Llyr which is wonderful as a work in its own right.

  • Gill
    2019-04-18 05:42

    A charming retelling of the second branch of the Mabinogion. More reviewing when I am awake. Well time has gone by and it is now nearly midnight, so I had better wake up and smell the coffee (well I am not allowed to drink it so I may as well). I am dithering because I don't know what to say about this book. I read it fast, and I really enjoyed it, but the heat has got to me over the last few days, plus not sleeping more than a couple of hours - out working by 6 am, or earlier, doing the things too hot to do later, so my brain is totally fried right now.How about you just read it for yourself and tell me what you thought of it?

  • Adam
    2019-03-29 01:20

    A haunting apocalyptic retelling of the Second Branch of the Mabinogi. Walton is true to the tale as written in the medieval books that survive, but also draws on contemporary nuclear fears and the images developed by Arthurian writers and by Eliot. Perhaps more than any of Walton's adaptations, Children of Llyr makes it clear how these ancient tales and their progeny continue to shape the mind of the Anglo-Celtic world and diaspora.

  • readmuchrunfar
    2019-04-02 03:16

    I'm getting more used to Walton's writing style, which is more like Tolkien than say Robert Jordan or George R.R. Martin. So I enjoyed this one more. What I am not getting used to is all the mistakes I'm finding in the text. This is seriously a huge embarrassment for anyone who worked on this edition at Overlook Press. On the inside flap of the dust jacket, the current title was "The Children of Llyre" and everywhere else, "The Children of Llyr." That is only one of MANY examples. Ouch.

  • Greg Strandberg
    2019-04-06 23:42

    These books are terrible. The writing is the kind where you read a whole page and you wonder what the hell you just read. Why did I read all four of these books?I was stupid, that's why. Don't make my mistake - try out the first book if you must, but honestly, I don't think you'll be doing much more than that.

  • Tifany
    2019-04-19 00:20

    The best of Evangeline Walton's retellings of stories from the Welsh Mabinogion; the only one that really stands alone. Beautifully written. Highly recommended for any person out there who might happen to be reading a lot of retellings of fairy tales and myths; in fact, I may have already sent it to her.

  • Bettie☯
    2019-03-30 02:17

    I am discovering that there are a few books which seem to have slipped off the goodreads radar - two today. Maybe it is the link between the different editions that has become untied in the *boo hiss* amazon thing.No cow on the ice (swenglish term) = no real problem, nothing to get excited about.

  • Steve
    2019-04-13 01:27

    The second branch of the Mabinogion is a tale of brave but sad (and often foolish) people. Ms. Walton's retelling does it justice.

  • Magali
    2019-04-20 02:12

    I'm not crying you're crying

  • Jenine
    2019-03-29 23:32

    Great, I'm going to read all four. This one is full of plotting for crowns, betrayal and warring.

  • Emilyr753
    2019-04-17 21:26

    This was my favorite of this series: a feminist re-telling of the Welsh book of mythology. It's classic high fantasy, of the utmost quality. Another Ruth recommendation.

  • Hannah
    2019-04-11 03:40

    I think about this book all of the time and I read it a year ago. I am only sad I didn't also pick up the other books as now I cannot find them in stores.