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10 Best Lloyd Alexander Books (2023)

Best Lloyd Alexander BooksLaugh or Cry

Allow me to introduce you to a writer whose contributions to the worlds of high fantasy, children’s literature, and autobiography are truly exceptional. I’m talking about the one and only Lloyd Alexander – a true unsung hero of the literary world.

I was impressed by how Alexander constructs mesmerizing dialogues. His characters speak in distinct voices that are easy to follow. I can guarantee you will laugh along with his characters or shed a tear at their heart-wrenching moments.


Best Lloyd Alexander Books


A Hidden Gem, Lost Forever

When Lloyd Alexander was a young boy, one of his favorite things to do was read and write poetry. Reading the works of great authors like Shakespeare and Dickens occupied the majority of his time when he was a young adult. These pillars of literature served as inspiration for him to write his own books. Lloyd Alexander wrote more than 40 books. Critics praised his work for its tasteful and lighthearted tone. Alexander earned numerous accolades for his work, including three Lifetime Achievement Awards.

Unfortunately, he lost his battle with cancer at the age of 83 and passed away. But his dedication to his craft will always be remembered. I have dedicated this article to Lloyd Alexander’s book reviews. Although he may no longer be with us, his words continue to speak to readers of all ages. I couldn’t decide which of Lloyd Alexander’s books should be ranked. Instead, I compiled the most popular of Lloyd Alexander’s books.


The Chronicles of Prydain Series

 

A Journey to Wales

I’ll begin with one of Lloyd Alexander’s most successful book series. The story is inspired by Alexander’s time in the army. He coherently implements Welsh culture, a simplified Welsh language, and geography. It’s a world where adventure and magic are never far away, and you will be swept up in its enchanting setting.

The story is set in the enchanting world of Prydain, a fictional country based in Wales. Prydain is a world where magic and adventure come to life. The story follows Taran, a farmhand who dreams of becoming a hero. Taran meets trusty companions with distinct personalities along the way. Together, they face off against the evil Arawn and his undead army. Throughout the series, Taran matures and learns valuable lessons.

A Dark Journey Ahead

First off, this is a perfect coming-of-age plot for young readers. Essentially, there is an evil dark lord that must be brought to justice by our wacky heroes. The story has lovable characters, witty dialogue, and thrilling adventures. The quality of each book never wavers—in fact, it only gets better as the story progresses.

Lloyd Alexander has genuinely crafted an enticing tale. This series has been the best selling Lloyd Alexander books to this day. This series won him the 1969 Newbery Medal for excellence in American children’s literature.


Westmark Series

 

An Apprentice, Con Artist, and Mystery

I have to say that this is one of the best Lloyd Alexander series made for all ages. The series tells the story of Theo, an apprentice printer whose life takes a drastic turn when his master is killed, and he becomes the prime suspect.

During Theo’s escape from the law, he teams up with Count Las Bombas and Mickle. While on their journey, they are being chased by Chief Minister Cabbarus. He traps our trio in order to seize power from the kingdom’s weak king. Can they save themselves and the kingdom?

Simplicity

Despite being aimed at young adults, this story moves quickly and is written in simple language. It’s meant to keep readers on the edge of their seats, willing to know more. I also loved the characters, plot, and setting.

Different from Lloyd Alexander’s previous books, this series’s dialogue felt too direct. For instance, Alexander thoroughly explains it instead of letting the readers linger on how stubborn Mickle is. But the fantastical setting and worldbuilding are enough to attract readers. Although it’s not the best of Lloyd Alexander’s book series on this list, it has its captivating moments to belong here.


Time Cat

 

A Boy and his Cat

Lloyd Alexander’s Time Cat is a fantastic and entertaining journey through time and space. A young boy named Jason and his magical cat named Gareth go on an adventure through time and meet important figures like Christopher Columbus and the Mayflower.

The two protagonists, Jason and his talking cat Gareth, travel through time and encounter famous people and important events. Along the way, they learn the value of history and the importance of friendship as they travel from ancient Egypt to medieval England and beyond.

Heart and Depth

Alexander’s writing style is remarkable. He brings the story to life with brilliant descriptions and engaging prose. Jason and Gareth’s journey will undoubtedly captivate you from start to finish. When the characters traveled through time, I was on the edge of my seat waiting to see whom our heroes would meet. The characters’ relationships and growth give the story heart and depth.

Time Cat is an endearing and interesting book for readers of all ages. I’m happy to say this is Lloyd Alexander’s best book. I fully understand why many readers find Time Cat a captivating feel-good story. By the end, it left me wanting for more! So, I’m happy to say this is the best rated Lloyd Alexander book on this list. It’s a must-read for anyone who enjoys fantasy and adventure.


The Iron Ring

 

A Young King

This is an exciting fantasy novel that transports readers to a fantastical world rife with danger, intrigue, and opportunities for personal growth.

The story is about a young king named Tamar. Tamar is put to the test of his bravery and wit by being sent on a quest to retrieve the Iron Ring from a faraway land. He meets many unique and diverse characters on his journey. Tamar gains insight into leadership, compassion, and the nature of power as he faces danger.

Inspiration

I loved how Lloyd Alexander incorporated themes and motifs from different cultures. This novel is based on Hindi myths and traditions. He combines parts of Eastern literature and culture in a way that is smooth and interesting. Its simplicity alone makes it perfect to hook in younger readers. Alexander describes everything in detail with ease.

I like how Tamar was well written. He’s the picture of youthful energy and determination, intent on doing the right thing and proving himself a warrior. But as he travels, he discovers that the culture from which he drew his ideas of honor and justice is itself flawed. Lloyd Alexander knows how to craft a simplistic story enjoyable for all audiences.


The Arkadians

 

Zeros to Heroes

The story is set in the mythic past of ancient Greece. The protagonist is a rather ordinary young man named Lucian, who works as a clerk in the palace of King Bromios. When Lucian discovers that some high-ranking soothsayers and advisors are stealing money from the royal court. Because of this, he runs away to avoid unpleasant “sacrificial procedures.”

Along the way, Lucian meets a group of quirky traveling companions. The cast includes a talking donkey, a spirited young woman, and a young companion. These companions have their own whimsical roles in Lucian’s adventure. Some may be trustworthy, and others not.

Historical Mythology

If you’re into Greek mythology, you will absolutely enjoy this book. Several classic tales like Odysseus, Hercules, and others may have been based on actual events and expanded upon through retellings. For those of you who have read D’Aulaires’ Book of Greek Myths more times than is healthy, I present a fun little Easter egg hunt.

Alexander knows how to weave an imaginative and captivating tale. His combination of fiction and history concocts an imagination like no other. His characters are well-written and memorable. You should pick up The Arkadians if you want to relax and read a feel-good story.


Vesper Holly Series

 

Independence

The Vesper Holly Series is a collection of six adventure novels. The story follows our heroine, Vesper Holly, a teenage orphan with a keen intellect, boundless curiosity, and a knack for getting herself into perilous situations.

Vesper Holly is a smart, young, and independent woman. She is the daughter of a wealthy and eccentric archaeologist who vanished during an expedition to the Balkan state of Illyri. Leaving her with a large fortune. Vesper doesn’t just stand by and let others manage her affairs. Instead, she goes on an adventure to see the world, accompanied by her guardian, Brinnie.

Teamwork

Alexander wrote a fantastic heroine. The Vesper Holly series broke the mold of traditional female characters in young adult literature. Vesper’s qualities make her a delight to read about. She is a strong thinker and a risk-taker who doesn’t care what others think of her.

By the way, many critics have praised this series. Well, it does comprise some of the best novels by Lloyd Alexander. It’s a perfect story about the importance of independence and teamwork. It’s an exciting experience full of historical references and cultural details relevant to Vesper’s adventures. I am proud to say that the Vesper Holly series is an amazing read for all ages.


The Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

 

Into the Heart of China

In this captivating tale, a master storyteller recounts the escapades of the son of a fictional Chinese emperor. Prince Jen and his quick-witted servant, Mafoo, volunteer to embark on a journey to the kingdom of T’ien-ku. Their goal is to learn the secrets of successful governance from their king, who rules over a prosperous and joyful land.

Despite bringing six valuable gifts, the duo loses them all along the way. Our heroes meet an intriguing cast of characters that help them on their journey. As the story continues, our heroes face many dangers on their way back to their kingdom.

Captivation

This novel has Lloyd Alexander’s best-written prose. Alexander’s characters’ backstories are well-defined. The worldbuilding is beautifully crafted with a combination of Chinese myth and history. The writing style remains direct and to the point, but it occasionally left me wondering what our heroes would face.

I love how the story captivated me. The story stands out in several ways. The thrilling adventures and touching friendships. Also, the way the story deals with cross-cultural communication and the value of teamwork. Prince Jen, Mafoo, and Moko come from different life histories, but they learn to set their differences aside. This shows the importance of compassion and tolerance in a fractured world.


The Rope Trick

 

Deception

The Rope Trick is a magical tale about Lidi, a young, independent woman. When she was young, she learned how to perform magic from her father. However, her father despised Lidi for how superior her skills were. He leaves her troubled with the notion that she cannot be considered a true magician until she learns the Rope Trick.

Lidi goes on a fantastic journey to learn the Rope Trick. However, Lidi feels restless and dissatisfied, constantly searching for the legendary magician Ferramondo. She believes Ferramondo is the only one who can teach her the fabled Rope Trick.

Magic or Talent

This story’s metafiction is notable. I was impressed with how Alexander could tell a story from multiple characters’ points of view. For example, a group of storytellers attempts the Rope Trick, which has never been done before. When they try the trick, the story jumps from character to character, making it hard to tell who’s lying. The implementation of metafiction added a lot of depth and intrigue.

The only thing I didn’t like was the concise story. However, I appreciated that the book’s concluding pages were filled with ambiguity. I was left with mixed feelings of happiness and sadness. Both of these conflicting emotions were pleasurable and painful for me. The unresolved ending has the potential to spark lively discussions among book clubs.


The Cat Who Wished to Be a Man

 

Humanity

The story follows the adventures of a clever and curious cat named Lionel. Lionel is unhappy with his life as a cat and would rather be a person. Lionel sets out to find a magician who can grant his wish. Along the way, he encounters many memorable, eccentric, and amusing characters.

As Lionel navigates the challenges of his quest, he learns valuable lessons. Most of all about the true nature of humanity, friendship, and love. Lionel encounters the best and the worst of human nature before he returns to Stephanus. But is that what he really wants? Ultimately, Alexander spun an exquisite tale about self-discovery.

Self-discovery

I found this lighthearted and whimsical story to be one of Lloyd Alexander’s best novels for children. Unlike his more serious works, such as The Chronicles of Prydain and the Westmark series. This novel is aimed at children and is full of playful humor and witty observations about human behavior.

Even though the book is short, it still manages to teach important lessons about self-discovery and how important it is to be yourself. The ending is guaranteed to make you smile, and the buildup is just the right length to keep the attention of a young reader.


The First Two Lives of Lukas-Kasha

 

Irresponsibility

The story is about Lukas-Kasha, a young rebel. Lukas loves to mess around and refuses to help anyone. Instead, he would play pranks all day. His greatest crime was his irresponsibility and laziness. One day, Lukas takes part in a magician’s trick that whisks him away to a foreign land. Here he is hailed as king due to some messy astrological prophecies.

As king, Lukas is free to do whatever he wants, with the expectation he would stay out of state business. At first, satisfied with this setup, Lukas realizes he needs to start behaving more like a king and even considers drafting a few laws.

Responsibility

Lukas breaks tradition by challenging the authorities. Eventually, he has some sound proposals for how things should be run. Because of the popularity of these ideas, he is quickly deposed from the throne and forced into exile. The rest of the story follows Lukas’s efforts to reclaim the throne and restore order.

This is the best Lloyd Alexander novel to teach children about responsibility. Being responsible entails more than just doing as you’re told; you’ll learn that quickly. Lukas didn’t fully understand the force of commitment until he was in the middle of a violent and tumultuous second existence. This inspiring story demonstrates that taking charge and making a difference is the ultimate act of responsibility.


Final Thoughts

 

I had some difficulty putting Lloyd Alexander’s books in any order. Every one of his stories connects readers with the characters and their emotions on a personal level. His work serves as an excellent reflection of his personality, humor, and mood. They’re full of raw emotions that readers can immediately connect with. I hope this article regarding the top Lloyd Alexander books helped you decide which of his books you’d like to read.

Robert Hazley

Robert is a science fiction and fantasy geek. (He is also the best looking Ereads writer!) Besides reading and writing, he enjoys sports, cosplay, and good food (don't we all?). Currently works as an accountant (would you believe that?)