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The Iron Ring by Lloyd Alexander
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The Iron Ring (1997)

by Lloyd Alexander

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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6301022,071 (3.8)11
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» See also 11 mentions

Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
I love me some Lloyd Alexander, but I remember quite vividly, how disappointing this book was after having finished the Black Cauldron series.
I think as a general rule, for me at least, if you have to start your book with a list of names (they all look and sound alike...of corse if you had any idea how to even try to care to pronounce them) as a guide for your reader.
I gave up when I was 100 pages in and still could not, for the life of me, figure out who these different characters were.
That was over a decade ago now though, so, my brain may have advanced beyond my middle school woes of having to think about things I was reading.
I probably won't ever give it another try though. ( )
  mollypitchermary | Oct 11, 2017 |
I enjoyed the book, and I was a good read. Manipulated into a dice game by an arrogant and older prince, Tamar loses his kingdom and must become the servant of Prince Jaya. The next morning there is no trace of the visit, except Tamar has an iron ring, indicating his new subservience to Jaya, who ordered the young man to travel to his kingdom to surrender as a slave. Traveling with his philosopher and teacher, he has a number of coming of age problems on his journey, including challenges to his personal honor, his caste, his heart and his loyalties, and to dharma, his code of honor as a warrior. After many adventures and meeting many different people, he arrives to find that this had all been a test, but one that everyone else had failed.
The story has a dream like feel to it, where nothing seems real and relationships are chancy, weird and fey. Many of the animals he meets along the way are kings or princes of their species, such as a monkey and snake. Wizards, warriors, wise kings, wise fools, knowing animals and humble companions all show up with sometimes evidently pre-determined parts to play. A few things stand out. Death is real. Betrayal and dishonest dealings are real. People who agree to be allies turn and join the opposition.
The book has a chaotic tempo and sometimes staccato rhythm to the story line, and sometimes too much happens too quickly, as if some of the chapters were combined and explicative data was left out of the editing. However, many children's books are like this, as the major pieces and people must be introduced in a short period for the story to evolve.
The iron ring, symbol of foolish gambling and slavery, is worn, sometimes with pride for holding on to his promise. Other times in humiliation on becoming a slave and breaking his caste and honor. It is thrown away, then recovered, then worn again by Tamar, a constant irritant and symbol of his mortality.
A good book, and one that adults as well as younger readers will enjoy. ( )
  hadden | Mar 7, 2016 |
At first I wasn't enjoying the story very much because the pacing was hectic. There was a new character every chapter, and things were getting eccentric. After the halfway point, the plot began focusing more on actions and character development, and I began to relate to the characters more. Then some profoundly difficult challenges presented themselves, and I truly appreciated the strength of the main character.

The romantic subplot was kind of lame to me, because "love at first sight" is rather boring. But the ending was a real surprise and extremely thought-provoking. That really redeemed the book. ( )
  TrgLlyLibrarian | Feb 1, 2015 |
First fantasy novel by Alexander not taken from Welsh mythology that I've read. It is exceptionally enjoyable, although the character who manipulates and assists the protagonist is a little too omnipotent for my taste. He's basically a far less annoying Aslan, but he leaves one with the question of why he didn't do a little more since he seems to be so powerful. ( )
  themulhern | Nov 16, 2013 |
Cute, and...not quite fluffy. The surface is quite fluffy, and silly, and occasionally funny - but there's some really heavy philosophy just under the surface. I liked the Indian mythological setting, one I'm only vaguely familiar with. There were also the familiar fairy-tale tropes of "give help, and get help", and learning who you really are. I wonder who Jaya was, though - just a powerful, magical king or something more? Tamar is great, especially once he looks past his kshatriya status and his dharma. He finds some really odd directions to go in on his journey. Mirri is...a little bit too good to be true, especially since she's adopted. I wonder who she is, really. Garuda was a pain throughout; Hashkat was great. The characters in general were (unsurprisingly, it's an Alexander after all) beautifully drawn and in interesting relationships and collisions. The end was just a little...convenient? The battle ended too easily, and the gifts afterward were too perfect. Though Rajaswami's request ended it all on an amusing note. It was fun to read, I suspect it will echo in my head for a while, but I doubt it will become a regular reread. ( )
  jjmcgaffey | May 1, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 10 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (1 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Lloyd Alexanderprimary authorall editionscalculated
Keith, RonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For promise-keepers and true dreamers
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Elephants were in Sundari Palace courtyard, half a dozen or more, torchlight flickering on tusks ornamented with gold bands and ropes of pearls; horses with jeweled saddles; chariots flying flags and banners; and a dark figure striding through the gates.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0141303484, Paperback)

When Tamar, the young king of Sundari, loses a dice game, he loses everything--his kingdom, its riches, and even the right to call his life his own. His bondage is symbolized by the iron ring that appears mysteriously on his finger. To Tamar, born to the warrior caste, honor is everything. So he sets out on a journey to make good on his debt--and even to give up his life if necessary. And that journey leads him into a world of magic, where animals can talk, the foolish are surprisingly wise, and danger awaits...

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:32 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Driven by his sense of "dharma," or honor, young King Tamar sets off on a perilous journey, with a significance greater than he can imagine, during which he meets talking animals, villainous and noble kings, demons, and the love of his life.

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