first half was four stars, second half was five stars, so I d give it 4.5 if I could. The tetralogy is great and a thing of beauty I believe, however, that this the fourth book is perhaps my least favorite Perhaps it was the way Walton s 20th century voice broke through, a bitinsistently than in the previous three books Maybe my tolerance for reading about stupid people who don t learn is making me into one of those insufferable prigs O God, please no I really can t say why I like Island of the Mighty less, but whatever the reason, it is nevertheless a great conclusion to a great series Walton did an amazing job of telling the ancient stories in a way that is simultaneously faithful to the old while catering to our modern psycholgical concerns to make a richly satisfying mythic story for people today It is difficult to imagine anybody else doing that job as well as she did. Tricked Into Giving Birth To Him, The Sorceress Arianhod Swore That The Child Should Be Nameless Until She Named Himthat He Should Not Bear Arms Until She Herself Bestowed Themand That He Should Never Love A Woman Of The Human RaceBut Her Brother And Lover Gwydion Tricked Her Into Bestowing A Name, Liewand Gwydion S Wiles Brought Her To Arm Himand Then Gwydion Called Upon His Craft To Produce A Woman Who Was Supremely Lovely And Ardent In Her Passion For Liewt Not Human A satisfying reworking of Welsh legend There arethan a few winks made at 20th century society in the narrative, but the spirit of ancient tales is strong with it As with any adaptation of an oral narrative there are hook phrases which recur nearly constantly that kight make this a thoroughly enjoyable audio book if someone had the time and grasp of Welsh pronunciations. A superb adaptation of the fourth branch of the Mabinogion a collection of Welsh myths The magic is powerful despite Walton s insistence it s just Lost Science , the characters are vivid, though the mysticism is cliched and her handling of gender issues a bit uncomfortable this was written in the 1930s for example, Walton s assertion that before virginity became a concept, rape didn t exist WTF I think it s terrific, even so. Of all the 4 books in the Mabinogian this was undeniably my favorite The characters are larger than life itself they are gods afterall But gods wrestling with mere human flaws and the consequences born of them The prose still seemed dry and dusty to me at times, but had a logic to it that, once I fell in time with it, was easy to fall back into whenever I picked up the tale again I especially enjoyed the dedication at the end by the author to Gwydion It told me of a love beyond the simple pages of translated script, but a deeper andencompassing love of story and idea and fulfillment, the kind which makes reading storiesthan just a pastime, but a lifetime endeavor. An exciting adaptation of the fourth branch of the Mabinogi Walton made it a blast to read, and contextualized it for a slightly less misogynistic audience without bowdlerizing or making it feel inauthentic I m ordering the other three parts to read soon read it during the 1970s and remember loving it Need to reread it. I m not sure if this is a retelling of the Mabinogi, or an adaptation or a novelization or what What I am sure of is that it was a lovely, lovely book, full of graceful prose, magic, love and loss And unpronounceable Welsh names And maybe just a wee dram of 1930 s spiritualism mysticism courtesy of the author Highly recommended. Chronologically, this is the last of Walton s Mabinogion Tetralogy, even though it was actually published first It s probably best that it not be the first one in the collection I found the story inherently less interesting than Prince of Annwn It s a good story, but a littletypically fantasy quest legend style than the other.Gwydion, strong, fair, and intelligent prince of north Wales repeatedly facilitates the dreams of those he cares about, only to have his plans thwarted by the people he cheats in the process Just in case you might feel conflicted about this, it is explained how those others weren t good people anyway Antics include tricking his uncle the king into going to war so that Gwydion s brother might make off with the king s footmaiden She must be a virgin, and is required to hold his feet at all times while he s not at war Doesn t that make it difficult for the king to exercise or train In the quest for a replacement, Gwydion s sister ends up bearing two children and thus proving unsuitable , and Gwydion s quest shifts to raising one of them in spite of his sister s repeated attempts to curse the child.Gwydion is used as a major character in Lloyd Alexander s Chronicles of Prydain series, and you can see elements of others too, such as Gwydion s witchy sister and base and treacherous lords The intrigue is interesting and the tragedy is heartbreaking and beautiful.