Advantages The adventure continues!
Disadvantages Sometimes a bit difficult to keep up with.
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The Riddle is the second book in Alison Croggon's Pellinor series, which begins with The Gift and ends with The Singing. This tetralogy (or quartet, as Croggon herself refers to the books), is aimed at young adults, and is a very descriptive account of the adventures of a young girl called Maerad and her struggle against the Dark. The story takes place in the world of Edil-Amarandh, and the books are based on ‘The Riddle of the Treesong’, or ‘Naraudh Lar-Chanë’ in Annaren, the language spoken in Annar, which is a region in Edil-Amarandh. In The Riddle, Maerad, Cadvan, Saliman and Hem have had to flee Norloch, which is now in the power of the corrupt first Bard Enkir. For safety, they decide that Saliman and Hem will travel South, while Cadvan and Maerad try to find ‘The Treesong’, even though they do not know what it is. For more information about the world of Pellinor, go to: http://booksofpellinor.com
The Riddle is the second book of a quartet about a girl called Maerad, her mentor Cadvan and her brother Hem.
Here's a really brief summary of the story, as it would be very easy to give things away for this one:
Now, hunted by both Light and Dark, Maerad and Cadvan search the Riddle of the Treesong before the Dark takes over. On their journey to the island of Thorold they are attacked by a Stormdog, which is a being which can only be controlled by the Elidhu. This makes them realise what they’re up against. Luckily Maerad and Cadvan find a safe place to rest in Thorold, but not for long, as Maerad’s powers continue to develop and it becomes clear that they have to move on. In the Far North, Maerad travels through a terrifying glacial wilderness, is captured by Jussacks and brought to the icy world of the Winterking. Here, Maerad must face many challenges and confront the riddle that is within her, as she struggles against the power that is pressing down on her.WHAT I THINK
The plot of this book is mindboggling, just when you think you know what’s happening, everything turns upside down. It is, as the title suggests, a real riddle. However, this is not done in a frustrating way, but in a way that entices you to read on. The author cites the Lord of the Rings as her inspiration (dating back to when she was ten years old), and while the previous book contained definite Lord of the Rings elements, in this one Croggon develops her writing style to the point where Lord of the Rings is completely forgotten.As I’ve mentioned in my review of The Gift, what’s great about these books is the fact that they mix fantasy and travel, and give it a historical feel. Whilst this genre won’t appeal to everyone, I actually think if you can get through the first book, the second is a real treat. If you like to travel and have always wanted to see more of the world, you will love this book, because the descriptive detail is excellent, and it will remind you of places you’ve seen and places you would love to visit some day. In this book, the winter landscapes are superbly conveyed and you can feel the cold in your bones as you read.
Character development is one of the main strengths of The Riddle, as Maerad and Cadvan’s personalities continue to deepen, while Croggon also gives the reader a detailed image of each of the characters they meet on their travels. The Winterking especially is described so well that you can feel the inner conflict while you read. Croggon’s talent lies in giving the reader a snap-shot of each character and then gradually developing the way in which she portrays them. The book is written in the third person, mainly from Maerad’s point of view, meaning that the reader discovers a whole new world while she does.
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