Maerad, unwilling heroine of prophecy destined to - possibly - save the world, returns in this second installment of the Pellinor series, which was every bit as compelling as the first. The action picks up where the first book left off, as Maerad and her companion, teacher and friend, Cadvan, flee from the dark powers that pursue them. They are on a quest (or what appears to Maerad to be a wild-goose chase) for something called the Treesong - but how to search for something when no one seems to know what it is?
They journey from city to city and across the countryside, Maerad growing into her magic and learning more about her abilities on the way, enduring hardship but meeting interesting, compassionate people as they go. Maerad is growing up, and as she does she comes to realize that not only is the world a vastly complex place in which things are not always what they seem, but that she herself has her own darkness within that must be acknowledged and confronted. It seems increasingly that as soon as she grows to love someone or someplace, she's destined to become separated from it, and she must face many perils and situations all by herself in this book. It seems fitting that, as a child of destiny, she travel the length and breadth of her land in order to see for herself what exactly is at stake should she fail.
I continue to enjoy this well-crafted series. It swept me up with the first book and continued to do so in this one. The characters gain depth and complexity as the story continues, particularly Maerad, as she is young and has a lot of growing to do. The pervasive sense of the culture of the land, with its mythology and history, combined with lyrical prose and compelling characters - as well as the sense of wonder that fills this fantasy world to the brim - make me very excited to read the next book.
Books in the Pellinor series:
1. The Naming
2. The Riddle
3. The Crow
4. The Singing
The Riddle (#2 in the Pellinor series) by Allison Croggon (Candlewick Press, 2006)
Also reviewed at:
Keep on Reading in the Free World: "This book was awesome - it lived up to all of the anticipation. In this book we really begin to see Maerad develop as a character - there are dark sides to her that were not fleshed out in the first book."
Someone's Read It Already: "If you enjoyed the first book, with all its poetic and semi-formal language, then you will definitely enjoy the second book and its exploration of the lands, people, and history of Annar and the bordering lands."
Where Troubles Melt Like Lemon Drops: "The Riddle was a pleasant surprise, as I haven't had a lot of luck with sequels lately, yet I devoured this book in two sittings! The Elidhu continue to fascinate me, and the Winterking's power over Maerad is obviously enticing."