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Lyonesse #1

The Well Between the Worlds

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Lyonesse is the land of legends and magic. It's the forgetten land where King Arthur once resided with Merlin and his Knights of the Round Table. But thousands of years after the great king walked this country, it has become a place of shadows, where men hunt and capture the monsters that lurk below in the dark depths of the sea. Lyonesse is slowly sinking, and it is up to one boy, Idris, to save his people and his land. Can he stand up to the forces of evil that aim to stop him?

346 pages, Hardcover

First published February 1, 2009

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About the author

Sam Llewellyn

113 books40 followers
Sam Llewellyn is a British author of literature for children and adults.

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5 stars
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159 (35%)
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102 (22%)
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53 (11%)
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24 (5%)
Displaying 1 - 30 of 79 reviews
Profile Image for Mir.
4,869 reviews5,036 followers
July 10, 2015
Lyonesse is not the Lyonesse of Arthurian legend, although it is sinking slowly beneath the water, and we learn quite, late, is a neighbor of Ys, which has a king named Mark. Our protagonist Idris is not Arthur, although clearly that is the basis for the character. There is a Kay who is a jealous braggart, but he is not related to Idris. Neither is the sole female character of significance, Morgan, who is no witch or enemy. Ambrose is a powerful man, with strange abilities, and he has an interest in Idris' fate, but he is not Merlin, although, again, that is clearly the basis for the character and his role in the story. There is a sword in a stone, but the stone is in a wall of a Well. The Wells let in water from another world, and in that world there are strange creatures called in Lyonesse Monsters. They are loathed but are let in on purpose so they can be burned as a source of energy, despite the fact that this is causing the land to sink into the sea. The monsters vary considerably and some are intelligent, and their queen has a plan. They can breed with humans, although this is forbidden and Crosses, halfbreeds, are put to death.

The elements with the monsters and wells and telepathy were original and somewhat interesting to me, although I never quite got clear in my mind how they worked. I don't get why these are being combined with the Arthurian story. I found it hard to believe the institution of monstergrooms: it is a profession of importance, we're told, and children from the most powerful families train for it, but they're treated as disposable and their teachers seem to almost go out of the way to get them killed. This is simply not how elites function.

Idris was too bland as a main character. He was too nice, too naive, and at the same time too indifferent to things like monsters screaming for help as they were burned to death. Sometimes he behaves too stupidly for the situation in which he is trapped, and other times too smart to be believable based on his background. His foil character, the vicious and spoiled prince Kyd Murther (that name, seriously?) is a cliche of no interest. I yawned any time he was on the page. I quit with less than a hundred pages to go rather than read about Idris and Morgan's visit to his and his mother Fisheagle's palace. It seemed wrong to stop so near the end, but this isn't a stand-alone and I can see nothing will be resolved in this volume. And I don't really care.

This had potential. I wish Llewellyn had scraped the whole Arthurian side of the story and focused more on developing the monsters and their world in an entirely original setting.
Profile Image for Patrick.
1,027 reviews24 followers
May 25, 2011
This book is hard for me to rate. The character interactions and inner thoughts of the main character are incredibly, awfully annoying. No one ever completes a thought or comes right out and says something. They occasionally give each other a veiled complement and then are bosom buddies/second families. It reminds me of the communication in the Cart and Cwidder series I read, but at least the inner thoughts of the protagonist make sense and are believable in that one. It is actually more like the Prydain series I reread last year and realized how horribly dated it was. Or maybe Wizard of Earthsea. I don’t think it is an accomplishment to return to that primitive level of inner dialogue.

But the story drew me in despite how semi-non-sensical the monster wells are, even in the logic of the story. I like the stone and star magic and the sinking land. I want to find out what happens next. I am interested in the story by itself, but the post-script explanation of the Arthurian parallels I mostly didn’t catch in this very alien setting made me more interested as well. Although the dragons deal with Ambrose was very weird, and the ending in general was out-of-sync with Idris regressing and the evil lady thinking he is dead even though he was pursued by the soldiers on the boat.

I like the main character and Ambrose in general, plus Kek and Digby. Morgan is almost not a character. She says mean things most of the time, but Idris likes her and they develop a deep friendship through the non-communication common throughout the whole book.

So 1.5-2 for character and 3 for story.
Profile Image for Poll Poll Aryel.
24 reviews4 followers
May 8, 2013
It took me forever to read this book I thought I wouldn't be able to finish it.

The Well Between the Worlds played out with an Arthurian plot. I am not quite familiar with Arthur except for the basis of the legend (sword, lady in the lake, wizard-mentor and a young prince), but it was not hard to notice the resemblance. All in all I can say that Mr Llewellyn was very creative with the world building. Everything about the world was explained in great details which was good but I thought this was also the main reason why the book didn't work for me.

For once, at spending a great time on explaining to the readers about the world and its monsters and its burners and captains and what-not, all of this came at the cost of character development. I couldn't relate or root for any of the characters. Idris and Morgan were too boring, Ambrose was too flat, Kyd Murther was evil, Fisheagle was evil I think, the others- I couldn't remember the others... Oh wait, I remember Digby- he's fine. Oh and Kek! The loyal seagull. And Kay! He's... umm. I felt the characters got no chemistry at all with one another, and were seriously underdeveloped. This lack of feeling or excitement for the characters made the story felt boring. I just couldn't care for anything that happened to them, I didn't even care that their world was in grave danger.

The story got a lot of potential and Lyonesse was an interesting setting with equally interesting history, but somewhere along the way, none of those shine through. Besides there were too many telling. I didn't enjoy the details about the monster-catching and monster-burning process, there were just too many descriptions for me to care. The characters kept hinting at possible dangers, but there was hardly anything life-threatening. Well there were deaths and attempted murders, but I hardly care about them. Even when Morgan went missing at the end of the book I was just like "meh". And also there were far too little actions in this book except near the end of it. But when the urgency finally started to kick in, it was a little too late.

All in all, this story can be improved more especially on characters' development (and the dialogue). And perhaps tone down a little bit on the infodump. I don't have anything against the plot- except the slow timing- because sincerely the plot was good. The idea was good. But I just didn't liked the way it was presented. Perhaps all of these could be remedied on the second book.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Anne Hamilton.
Author 46 books149 followers
December 2, 2012
Idris Limpet, a kind-hearted boy from Westgate, is accused of being a Cross – half human, half monster – by a schoolyard bully. Rescued by a mysterious man with a nose ring, he is taken far away across Lynonesse to become a monstergroom. A dark conspiracy unfolds and, for a time, Idris is only able to trust Morgan, the daughter of Uther, who befriends him while they are trying to subdue monsters.

But he is unable to tell Morgan everything. A dark force, able to read unguarded thoughts, has noticed Idris and realised he might pose a threat. Only when Idris places his hand on the sword in the stone outside the Old Well does he begin to awaken to the true nature of his destiny.

I found the opening chapter curiously muddy. But after that, the story rips along. The elements of the great Arthurian sagas are here but they are more faint echoes than close alignments. I'm not quite sure how to describe it: maybe a cross between Charlie Bone and Monster Blood Tattoo.

Profile Image for AilsaOD.
148 reviews
March 10, 2021

Reread. This book is an Arthurian legends retelling set in the legendary land of Lyonesse - the remains of which are now the Scilly Isles off the coast of Cornwall. As retellings go this book is highly original: according to the legends Lyonesse is supposed to have sunk because of some unnamed terrible crime committed by the inhabitants and Llewellyn expands on this story greatly. The Lyonesse of this duology is a kingdom that has been usurped and those in power are corrupt and greedy. The land is sinking so walls must be built to keep out the sea but as of late Lyonesse has undergone somewhat of an industrial revolution and the sea walls are built using monsters from an alternate world known as the Wellworld at the price of flooding the land with poisonous well water.

The world building is very good and is definitely the best aspect of the book. Unfortunately the characters are a bit strange: they don't really talk like actual people, though not to an overly painful degree. This is likely mainly to do with the existence of 'the Manner' - a rigid code of etiquette and customs that everyone follows that can at times make characters sound very flowery and formal. I didn't mind the Manner really as it made the slightly weird dialogue make sense in universe and I haven't previously come across a book with such a system so it was interesting. Idris is 11/12 in this book but it is very difficult to believe most of the time as he is treated like and acts like an adult most of the time.

My only real complaint about this book is how Morgan was treated throughout the book. She is continually sidelined in favour of Idris and treated as if it's too high-risk to tell her what's going on (despite a later plot twist COMPLETELY invalidating this). On a few occasions Idris maneuvers situations to fall in Morgan's favour, knowing full well that if she knew he was doing it she wouldn't want him to and it drove me CRAZY.

Overall I quite liked this book and I remember liking book 2 even more so I would definitely recommend it but be aware that its a little strange.

Profile Image for Julia.
877 reviews12 followers
October 25, 2017
The land of Lyonesse is sinking. The poisonous water beneath is rising up through the wells, bringing monsters up with it. As a result of *not* drowning after accidentally falling from a great height into the sea, twelve-year-old Idris of Westgate is condemned to death by the Town Captain, accused of being a "Cross" -- part human, part monster. Thrown into a watery cavern and left for dead, Idris is rescued just in the nick of time and whisked covertly away by a mysterious stranger into an unknown future.

This is a fresh, quirky twist on Arthurian legend, recommended for middle-school-aged readers who may wish to try some light fantasy. I would have liked to learn more about the nature of the world within the wells, its beastly inhabitants and their perception of this "upper" world where humans reside. Perhaps this will be explored more deeply in the second book.
Profile Image for J.M..
Author 30 books150 followers
December 15, 2017
A largely creative mishmash of Lloyd Alexander's Prydain Chronicles (The Book of Three, etc.) and Bernard Cornwell's King Arthur (The Winter King, etc.), albeit not written as fluidly or in-depth as either of those excellent series. Nevertheless, enjoyable, and with monsters. I'm adding it to my son's bookshelves and have ordered the second book in the series, Darksolstice, as I'm rather invested in the fates of Idris and Morgan and old Ambrose.

A 3.5 star read, rounded up to four. The world itself is quite creative (four stars here), albeit ambiguous in details at times. The character personalities just seem to skim the surface though, so Lyonesse gets just two stars for character dev. I do recommend it for fans of the aforementioned series and anyone 11 years old and up who's interested in fantasy worlds.
Profile Image for Joseph Leskey.
339 reviews47 followers
April 20, 2018
This is really a wonderful book an', frankly, I'm a bit surprised I didn't rate it five stars. I mean, that's just abnormal to really like a book and then not rate it five stars. But, what I have rated stays rated — which doesn't mean much. So, er… the value with which I rate a book remains the value with which I rate a book. I mean, the rating that I give a book is absolute and unchangeable, until it is changed, because I believe very strongly in harnessing the fourth dimension, bless its little heart, whatever that may be, seeing as it is a dimension. Good ol' w, x, y, and z. They and I get along famously.

This book actually confused me a bit. I think I know what was going on, but I'm not sure. Really great book, though, in all respects.

Ta ta! (A.k.a., I'm getting me out of here, because I am quite finished with my review, thank you very much.)
Profile Image for sumayyah.
316 reviews36 followers
December 21, 2018
Rating - 2.3 Stars
Disclaimer: I didn't actually finish this book, i stopped at 125 pages.
My problem with this books wasn't with the plot. It was in the way that it was developed, which was non-existent. Honestly, I don't know anything about the Arthurian stories or whatever, but I know this is a really underdeveloped plot. The plot having to do with 'monstergrooms' and whatnot was just thrown at your face, it didn't ease itself in and sit next to you. And the character development! Don't get me wrong the characters would have been great if not for the way they were "developed". Honestly, they weren't which is sad because I was truly hoping for some adventure I'd love. No book, I think, has ever confused me plot-wise like this one.
Profile Image for Shelli Ingle.
111 reviews1 follower
December 31, 2020
I found it in a box among with among and other books at the thrift store where I works at. I decided to get it because of the wicked cool artwork on its cover that shown a boy and a girl were fighting a sea monster.

Here's my thought on it:
It was supposed to be a Ctulhu take on Arthurian Legend, because I wasn't a fan of King Arthur and I found Cthulhu Mythos is very weird. I don't think this cosmos horror wasn't meant for middle schoolers.

The story was just another a standard Arthurian Legend and just the sea creatures has putted in the story for fillers ,but this one that Arthur goes by Idris and the Excalibur goes by Cutwater (I thought it is a dumb name for the sword). The girl is a pretty good character,but I wish the author should change the girl's name beside being called Morgan and it's a dead giveaway.

I thought the book is okay, but it wasn't my favorite.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Jago.
25 reviews1 follower
August 7, 2022
my all time favourite as a kid, so much so that i still maintain it as one of my greatest there is, despite it being just under a decade since I've read it last. the world building and fantasy elements of this book still influence my imagination and creativity to this day. one of those books that will never leave me.
November 19, 2020
Great book and very entertaining, its an easy read and great flow . I was finding myself constantly ready for what ever came next and didnt want to stop. Being one who has never been a big book reader this changed with this story and im.on to the next.
Profile Image for A.
298 reviews21 followers
March 30, 2019
Criminally underrated, lushly realized, and hugely entertaining. A must-read for anyone who likes Diana Wynne Jones or The Mysterious Benedict Society. This should be made into a movie.
Profile Image for Lynn Coullard.
211 reviews2 followers
April 20, 2022
So far I’m really enjoying this series. I really enjoy the world and it’s combination of engineering, overlapping worlds, monsters, and scraps from other ancient tales.
Profile Image for Robin.
826 reviews7 followers
May 21, 2013
I was so overwhelmed by the strangeness and originality of this book's fantasy conceits that, in spite of several clues, I got halfway through it before I realized that it is a retelling of the Arthurian legend. Color me embarrassed! It mentions a round table. It features a sword in a stone, which only the rightful king can pull loose. It has characters in it named Ector, Uther, Kay, Mark, and Morgan—obvious references to the Arthur mythos—as well as less-obvious but still recognizable aliases, such as Ambrose (Merlin), Murther (Mordred), and Draco (Pendragon). The legend of King Arthur—at least, its earlier parts—provides the overall shape of this story, and thereby makes it deeply and timelessly compelling. Yet at the same time, that outline is filled in with an amazing piece of world-building, whose vivid colors and unique textures transform it almost out of recognition.

Welcome to Lyonesse, a strange country in a medieval world where two kinds of magic are in conflict. Representing the old ways is the druidical magic of Ambrose, who draws power out of starlight and focuses it with the aid of standing stones. In the opposite corner are the Captains from the mysterious neighboring kingdom of High Kernow. Their power relies more on machines, powered by water-dwelling monsters whose bodies burn like thermite on contact with air. These monsters come from another universe, a place endlessly filled with poisonous water, and if given their way they would use their telepathic wiles and their vicious fangs to subdue mankind.

Druid wizard though he may be, Ambrose is a cultured fellow. His lifestyle really straddles the line between the two ways, as he lives among the captains and controls one of the wells. Catching, cutting, and supplying the monsters to be burned in the machines is a big business. It's also a vicious cycle, because each time the portal between the worlds is opened and water is allowed to pour from the monsters' world into ours, the land of Lyonesse sinks. And so more power must be expended to run the pumps that keep the rivers, lakes, and ocean from pouring in and flooding the whole kingdom.

A kingdom needs a king. As our story opens, Lyonesse has a royal heir who is too young to reign. Kyd Murther, a fat spoiled vicious piece of work, is being groomed for the throne by his regent mother, who calls herself Sea Eagle, though everyone else calls her Fish Eagle. If anyone could be worse than Murther, it is Fish Eagle: a creature of terrifying power, who can rummage through people's minds, and feels no qualm against murdering anyone who even thinks about challenging her power. She has dark, dark plans for the future of Lyonesse, plans springing from the depths of the wells themselves.

Who can challenge such a deadly regent? Her private army is ruthless. The people of Lyonesse, through terror and misinformation, are being programmed to submit to her. And though she herself hails from Kernow, her son seems to be the last surviving heir of the previous, rightful king of Lyonesse. The only thing that could possibly stand in her way is the reappearance of the true king's "Lost Children"—an infant boy thought to be dead, and a daughter who vanished. And the whole kingdom is on guard against them.

And yet... Well, I'm not telling it the way the book does. You only find out about all this gradually, along with main character Idris Limpet. Early in the book, this strangely magnetic boy gets separated from his home and loved ones by the prejudice and superstition of the fishing village where he grew up. Not yet twelve years old, Idris escapes a gruesome execution and becomes an apprentice to the Great Ambrose. He studies to be a monstergroom (specializing in catching the creatures to be burned in machines). He develops his telepathic powers, which help him deal with the monsters, but will only last until he reaches puberty. And he finds friendship and even an adopted family, especially with a girl named Morgan, who feels strangely drawn to him. It becomes increasingly obvious that an important destiny lies upon Idris. The question is whether he can live long enough to fulfill it while Fish Eagle's suspicion sprouts into jealousy and finally comes into full flower as deadly enmity.

This is Book One of a series that, depending on whom you ask, is either called "The Monsters of Lyonesse" (cf. most sources), or "The Chronicles of Lyonesse" (Shelfari), or "The Lyonesse" (Amazon), or simply "Lyonesse" (my local library). The second book is titled Darksoltice. Sam Llewellyn is the mind behind the "Little Darlings" trilogy and many other books for adults and children, fiction and nonfiction, mostly related to boating and sailing. For more titles by this author, check out this list, or visit his website.
1,354 reviews15 followers
December 12, 2014
Idris Limpet of Westgate is a happy, carefree 11-year-old who has no thought for his future until one of his friends lets malice go too far and Idris finds himself exiled from Westgate and lucky to be alive. Rescued by House Ambrose to be a monstergroom, he must master the craft of capturing monsters fished up from the Wells to another world. Even as he tries to make his place, he's troubled by the poisonous waters that are flooding the land every time the Wells open, and the nobility that cares only for wealth and power.

This book was a surprise: a fantasy that blends a very ocean-oriented kingdom with an otherworldly ocean. I loved the sea-names for people and places, and the focus on water (and the monsters that lurk in the deep). These alien creatures can speak to minds, change (or appear to change) their shape, and burn when they dry out. And they burn very, very hot, so much more so than any known substance that an entire industry has grown up around using the monsters to fuel various bits of machinery. But to fish for the monsters, Lyonesse needs to let in the water, and the water is sinking the land.

And into this questionably moral structure tumbles Idris, a boy from a fisherman's village who has no problem catching fish, but is more and more unsettled by the catching of monsters. His transformation over the course of the book is its main attraction: how can honor and justice and right prevail when most people simply aren't interested in changing the status quo, or are actively working to preserve it?

But lest my words give the impression that this is solely an educational story, let me quickly add it is a fine adventure. The fact that the other world is an underwater one makes exploration difficult, but Idris comes to learn much about that place and its denizens. He has his own share of mindspeaking magic, and he's not without allies as he navigates the treacherous streets of Wellvale.

Oddly enough, the story is also a retelling of the legend of Arthur. I'm of two minds about that part. It's certainly the most innovative take on the mythos I've seen, but at the same time, certain characters who didn't get names changed feel a little too predictable since I've read Arthur legend before and have a pretty good idea what's going to be coming. Still, this is taking enough liberties with the basic outline that there are plenty of surprises (Idris getting attacked by a giant seagull, for one).

The ending was a little frustrating until I realized there is a sequel and this was never intended to stand alone. So overall it's an excellent read. The setting is well-drawn, particularly with the way the little details line up across the story. Idris is noble without being stuffy, a boy and a true hero: someone who freely helps others and does it secretly, so that most of them don't even realize he's done anything special. And now I am going to have to see if I can't get my hands on the next book to resolve that cliffhanger . . . I rate this book Highly Recommended.
March 2, 2017
I was a bit unsure about if I would like this book in the beginning, but as I read on, it got more interesting, which was a relief. Very original and inventive plot and concept! I liked the monsters a lot, especially Digby. He was really cute (well, as cute as one-eyed, finned melon monsters go). ;-)
1 review
February 25, 2017
The Wells Between The World was a good book where Idris Limpet was sent to death but survive with the help of Ambrose later taken to the Valley of Apple to become a monstergroom; where he discover the truth behind the well and his background. Tring to stop the queen and prince before Lyonesse is drowned in the wells water. It was unexpected turns of events in this book but to be continued on next book. I really enjoyed it and hope more on the next book on Darksolstice.
Profile Image for Marilag.
Author 9 books28 followers
June 15, 2011
What a fascinating variation of the Arthurian legends! It's certainly been a while, but once the story got going, there was no doubt which direction it was heading.

After looking at the book jacket, I did believe I was going to read a retelling of Arthur as a boy, and wondered what other fantasy-ish elements were being added to make this a bit more original. A number of names were different (Idris and Ambrose vs. Arthur and Merlin), the area itself was a poisoned heap of land filled with monsters and dirty water, and the story was seemingly about a boy with the destiny of becoming a monstergroom. The beginning was far from anything I had known about Arthurian legends (though I should probably refresh my memory, it's been a while since I've done any reading on the legends), so I thought to myself: "perhaps he's only using names and certain figures as inspirations, and everything else is different..."

Once the story got past character introduction, development, and the setting of pieces of plot, more familiar elements emerged. Ambrose showed himself to be the great tutor that many imagine Merlin was, there were the rumors of a boy who was the rightful king of the land, and, of course, there was the sword stuck in the stone, pulled only by said rightful king.

The twist in the story, however, lies in the title itself. "Well Between the Worlds" sums Idris' adventures about right. Amidst a tumultuous, dying country is a breed of monsters, passing from their world into Lyonesse through well-gates and water. From this, the establishment in Lyonesse included Captains who supposedly kept the monsters at bay. Others have succumbed into greed, seeking to breed the otherwordly creatures with that of the living beings of Lyonesse. And that's only the start of Idris' problems.

So yes. Great read! I'd say I'd have to read more, but that seems to be the case of all the books I like that are part of a series...
Profile Image for Carril Karr.
72 reviews2 followers
February 19, 2017
Interesting young adult or older child book based on Arthurian and related tales.
Profile Image for Jennifer Wardrip.
Author 5 books489 followers
November 15, 2012
Reviewed by Shyanne for TeensReadToo.com

This is the story of a boy who was raised in a fishing town with a loving family. He was your average twelve-year-old who liked adventures and playing with friends after school.

Little did he know that this current adventure had just begun. With a twist of events, this young boy was fighting for his life and finding out things about himself that put him and everyone that knew him in more danger than ever before.

I greatly enjoyed this book. At times it lacked detail and became hard to follow, but overall it was a great book.

It shows the real side of humans. Some are out to help people and others are there to only help themselves. It is a nice change to your classic 'monster' story or King Arthur tale. Many books have the same theme and you can predict what is going to happen way before it does. With THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS, though, it is another story.

The plot is different from anything I have ever read and I loved it. It was also unpredictable for the most part. There are times where I was sure that I knew what the main character was going to do but was surprisingly wrong and a new twist unfolded. I could not put the book down because I wanted to know what was going to happen next and what this young boy was going to do.

I can't wait for the next book in the LYONESSE series to come out so I can discover where this young hero's journey veers off to next.

Profile Image for Kelly.
265 reviews11 followers
July 28, 2010
In a strange retelling of the Arthurian legends, Idris Limpet is an eleven-year-old boy living in Westgate, the poorest town on the island of an early medieval, somewhat steampunk Lyonesse. His world is connected to a watery world of monsters by way of the Wells, in which monstergrooms go fishing for monsters that are then burned in machines for fuel. The land is at risk of drowning in evil well-water, and it is Idris's destiny to save Lyonesse and bring back the old magic of star and stone.

I had a strong dislike for this book when I began reading it. Having studied the Arthurian legends, I at first felt as if the author was taking extreme liberties with the stories, and this offended my literary sensibilities. But I came around somewhat by the end. Some of the events in the later legends that describe the origin of Arthur are more accurately reflected in this tale than I first thought. I'm still not sure if I buy into the idea of the monster wells, which I found thoroughly confusing and entirely unbelievable at the beginning of the book, but the author explains in a note at the end of the book that the old word for monster (he doesn't say what language) also meant fuel, so I can see where his idea originated.
Profile Image for Angela.
51 reviews3 followers
July 6, 2009
Idris Limpet may appear to be a common boy in the village of Westgate, Lyonesse, but his fate is far greater than any other. When he discovered he could make a fly follow his orders, Idris began suspecting something was wrong. After a near-death experience, the great mage Ambrose finally brought Idris closer to his destiny. In a world where monsters are burnt for fuel and royal leaders become enemies, Idris must learn fast in order to keep his life. With the help of his close friend, Morgan, Idris trains for monster hunting and eventually fulfills his destiny, although a life-threatening one.
Throughout the novel, the action and suspense keeps the reader flipping the pages. This world that Llewellyn has created is wondrous and full of surprises. There is plenty of adventure and thrill packed into a storyline of twists and turns, all leading to the great final truth. This book is unlike others that tell of a new magical world. Even though there are numerous vocabularies that are unique to the world of Lyonesse, the book is well worth it. I recommend this story to anyone looking for a exciting, unique, and intriguing new fantasy that will draw them into its world.
Profile Image for Kate Copeseeley.
Author 13 books66 followers
March 6, 2012
This series (dang, I wish I'd known it was a series first because of the cliffhanger ending!) is by far one of the MOST IMAGINATIVE, MOST INTERESTING, MOST CREATIVE children's fiction I've read since the Chrestomanci books by Diana Wynne Jones.

This is fantasy of the best kind, but with totally different monsters. You won't find elves or wizards in this book, but you will still be entranced by the creatures and magics that abound in it.

Idris and Morgan are an unlikely pair of friends from two different backgrounds. Idris is the son of lowly fisherfolk and Morgan is the daughter of a Knight. When it is discovered that to two have a unique set of powers, they are sent to the city to learn how to be monstergrooms.

What are monstergrooms, you may ask? Well, finding that out is all part of the fun of this book. I could not put it down, and that is rare in juvenile fiction. The characters are a boy and a girl, so I think both would be interested in reading it. The language, the descriptions and the characters are FAB.

I really can not say enough about this book and highly recommend it for readers of juvenile fiction!
Profile Image for Laura.
3,785 reviews94 followers
January 3, 2015
I'm an Arthur-legend junkie, so this book was one I looked forward to reading (well, that and the Lewisian Well in the title). I wasn't disappointed: Lyonesse is sinking, due to too much water being pumped from the Wells as the men hunt, capture, cut and burn monsters from another world. Idris is clearly born for greater things and escapes drowning only to have to flee his city and home; lucky for him be becomes an apprentice with Mage Ambrose.

Ambrose is the Merlin here, and Idris' coming into his power and becoming King is all under Ambrose's tutelage. It's not quite what you read in the other versions of the story, but it is an interesting twist on the tales. I liked the addition of the Well and the monsters, particularly Digby. The Morgan/Idris connection also worked for me. The explanations of the monsters and Wells and the sinking and the history were, at times, a little sloppy or rushed, but overall the story works.

Clearly the ending is meant to be a cliffhanger, and there will be another volume (or two?) coming. Can't wait.
Profile Image for Meghan.
68 reviews
July 8, 2010
it makes the fantasy world it is set in almost seem real. you get sucked into it. the only annyoing thing i can think about it is, that i'm a romance reader, and the 2 people i thought were going to get together turned out to be brother and sister. mega let down.

it is all about a boy who grows up in a small village near the sea. he falls into the sea and get accusted of being a fish monster. he is captured but escapes with help. he has magical abilites and can communicate with the fish monsters. he works at a well that captures fish monsters. meets his sister. has trouble in the classes at the well. then gets targeted by the queen type person because he knows to much and has to run away. then fight queen type person with help from sister and dragons and wizard and so on.

it's a good book but not for everyone. can be a little hard to understand sometimes.
This entire review has been hidden because of spoilers.
Profile Image for Tami.
Author 37 books71 followers
May 9, 2009
Indris’ entire life had been a lie. He had grown up believing that he was a very average young man. It would seem that there was really nothing special about him.

Everything in Indris’ life would turn upside down in an instant. One moment, he was an average boy and the next he was being told he was going to be thrown down the well for fear he was a cross. Then, saved in just the nick of time, Indris is trained to fight monsters. Eventually, Indris will learn the truth of his heritage and the great destiny that is set for him.

Lyonesse: The Well Between the Worlds is the first novel in the Chronicles of Lyonesse series. This first book is filled with action and a great story. I can’t wait for the second book in the series.

Profile Image for Phoebe.
1,995 reviews13 followers
June 14, 2012
A rich Arthurian fantasy from Welsh author Llewellyn that will pique readers' interest anew in all things Arthur. Taking the older and more obscure aspects of Arthurian lore, Llewellyn creates a corrupt and dangerous world in which petty Captains have most of the rural power. Idris finds himself at the mercy of this power on the day he falls into the sea and does not drown. Accused of being a Cross (half monster, half human), he is sentenced to death--until, unexpectedly, he is rescued, and set on the path to a new life, where he trains as a monstergroom. Anyone who likes Harry Potter should greatly enjoy this book, which is full of adventure and interesting characters (and the obvious parallel of a boy finding his astonishing destiny). 5th grade and up.
Profile Image for Emily.
1,015 reviews37 followers
September 11, 2009
I tried and tried to get this book, and I just could not. It was out of sync for many. I found myself in a daze while I read it - almost like I was reading a science text book. I couldn't visualize the wells, the hooks for monsters, or the fishing set up used. I didn't understand the whole idea of monsters living in the wells and being harvested for ?burning? maybe? I still just don't get it. All the other reviews on here have been high. Maybe I am too preoccupied with other things right now, but I don't think that is the only cause for me leaving this unfinished!
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