Originally reviewed 1st June, 2011
The Song of Rhiannon, a retelling of the Third Branch of the Mabinogion, isn’t as powerful as The Children of Llyr, which is a relief, in a way. There’s a time of healing for the characters, as well as what they suffer during the action of the story, and there’s a happy end for them as well. It continues to follow the characters of Manawydan, Rhiannon, Pryderi and Kigva. There are actually few other characters in the story, fleshed-out or not, but the character of the Bogey made me smile quite a bit, as did his interactions with Manawydan.
Once more, Evangeline Walton brings the characters to life. I can’t remember anything in the Mabinogion about some of the elements she introduces, e.g. about Pryderi’s father, but they all seem to belong quite naturally.
If I didn’t already care about Pryderi, Rhiannon and Manawydan, though, I don’t know how much I would have loved this book. The retelling of the Second Branch is the strongest so far, and can stand alone, but this can’t, to my mind.
I have serious love for her version of Manawydan, in all his wisdom and dignity and his love for his land.