The Arkadians

by Lloyd Alexander

Paperback, 1997



Call number

PB Ale, Fic Ale

Call number

PB Ale, Fic Ale

Local notes

PB Ale




Puffin (1997), Paperback, 288 pages


To escape the wrath of the king and his wicked soothsayers, an honest young man joins with a poet-turned-jackass and a young girl with mystical powers on a series of epic adventures.


Original publication date


Physical description

288 p.; 7.8 inches

User reviews

LibraryThing member PMaranci
Lloyd Alexander is best known for his outstanding Chronicles of Prydain fantasy series. And deservedly so; it's a great series, charming, unique, and with a powerful and moving sense of morality to it. It is, in many ways, a Lord of the Rings for the young-teen set.

For those who aren't familiar
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with Alexander, I should emphasize that he wrote most of his work before the modern craze for huge fantasy series and juvenile fantasy series (in both senses of the word "juvenile"). His work is far superior to most of the trash that's published as fantasy for young adults (or even full-fledged adults) today.

Alexander has a very strong and unmistakable writing style. This is, generally a strength. But in some - not all, but some of his other books, the style doesn't fit the story as well as it does in The Chronicles of Prydain. Put simply, while I'd rate that series as a "5" overall, most of his other works would be a "4" or "3" (I have yet to run across a book by Alexander that I'd rate less than a "3").

I picked up a copy of The Arkadians at the permanent book sale at our library. I didn't expect much; it's a stand-alone book, and the blurb on the back showed that it was based at least partly on Greek mythology, rather than the Welsh mythology which is Alexander's strongest suit.

I was pleasantly surprised. The Arkadians is strongly influenced by Greek mythology, yes, but with an enjoyable skew. The adventures of Lucian the one-time accountant on the run for his life, and of the friends he meets along the way - particularly Fronto, the poet who has been transformed into an ass, and Joy-In-The-Dance, a strong-willed young woman with unusual abilities - echo many elements of Greek mythology, but throughout Fronto and Lucian discuss "improving" them into forms much closer to the classic Greek tales.

But that's beside the point. The point is that the story is well-told, and exciting, and funny, and touching, all at the right moments and in the right places. The one place where it might fall down, slightly, is the last few paragraphs; the story draws to a close surprisingly quickly, and somehow with less emotion than I expected. But this is a minor point. All in all, The Arkadians is a very enjoyable story that reads easily and well, a strong four. I will certainly read it again.
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LibraryThing member themulhern
Alexander did so much better with other mythologies. This book is relatively insubstantial and only occasionally funny.
LibraryThing member devafagan
Alexander's whimsical story-telling voice is as strong as ever, but the plot and mythic elements did not move me in the way his other works have.

I felt the re-imagining of traditional tales in this context to be pleasant enough, but it didn't add to my experience, or draw out the spark I was
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hoping for.
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LibraryThing member t1bclasslibrary
This tale of three friends (a boy, a girl, and a poet turned into a donkey) borrows tales from the Iliad and Odyssey, and turns them into something new and exciting. The friends are off to save a kingdom, save a religion, and turn the poet human again (before he's a permanent donkey). Lucian and
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Joy-in-the-Dance are also falling in love and finding themselves.
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