A note on how times have changed: In the author's note at the beginning of this book, Lloyd Alexander puts forth a pre-emptive plea for his readers to not be frustrated with certain villains not getting comeuppance at the end, explaining that there will be more books with which to tie up loose ends. These days we're so used to the idea of fantasy series that such a concern seems rather quaint, doesn't it?
Anyway, I've been tearing my way through the Prydain series, and this was yet another short book read in about two days, and again the experience still felt about as rich as a lot of much longer books.
As the midway point in the series, after the comparatively serious Black Cauldron, and before the final two books, (which I assume get more serious) The Castle of Llyr is kind of a comic interlude before the story picks up again. Its plot doesn't involve the main villain of the series--which is good because it makes the events from the end of the last book feel like they actually MATTERED--and it all takes place in a different area, and until the end is pretty light. I could see why some people aren't crazy about this volume, and compare it to the first book, but personally I found a little break to be kind of a nice thing. Characters like Glew and Rhun are great fun and the stakes are never that high: it gives us a breather.
Well, until the end, that is, but then it's actually quite sweet.