This coming-of-age story (moreso than the previous, though all have aspects of that) really focuses on Taran as a person, attending to parts of himself that don't deal in fantasy sword fights and evil rulers. Here he confronts much more mundane evils - people whose strength makes them cruel, the difficulty of finding oneself and the awful things one may have to confront to get there. And for all that, I think this is one of the more solidly written books. I imagine it speaks a lot to kids looking to figure out this huge, confusing future that's laid out in front of them. Heck, it spoke a bit to me, a grown woman. :)As always, getting to have Gurgi and Fflewder Flam along really made the journey more enjoyable, but while I know why she was absent and HAD to be absent, Eilonwy's humor and tongue and courage weer greatly missed, at least by this reader.