Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The second book of Pellinor

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."


  1. Another fantasy series is exactly what I don't need right now, but the cover alone is almost enough to sell me on this book, let alone your glowing review. :-)

  2. Fyrefly - I know exactly what you mean about the series (she says as she adds about six more to her list). I do not think you'll regret adding this one to yours - this is the best high fantasy series I've read in years. Plus they are nice and thick, which, if you're anything like me, might give you the opportunity to catch up on backlogged book reviews! :-)

  3. Darla, this is the second day in a row that you've done this to me. The pain of having too many books to read and not nearly enough time to read them all! This sounds like something exactly along my lines.

    Curious to know -- the last high fantasy book I really enjoyed was by Patricia McKillip (who comes in as my favourite author *slightly* ahead of Robin McKinley). If you have experience with either author, is Croggon in a similar vein?

  4. Kiirsten - Believe me, I feel your pain! :-) I adore Patricia McKillip. She is an amazing writer, and I love Robin McKinley as well. I think this series differs in that it has a much broader scope than the usual books by McKinley and McKillip, which tend to focus on a single character and delve into their experience as it fits into the broader scheme of things. The books of Pellinor are more of a sweeping, Tolkien-style epic - but the first two books, at any rate, do maintain a fairly tight focus on Maerad. I read that the third book focuses on different characters, though, and I'm not sure how I feel about that. I know Mariel has read the entire thing - maybe she has some thoughts to share - or anyone else who's read these authors? Thanks!

  5. I loved this series so much! There are so many parallels with fantasy series such as Tolkien's work, but these stories have a very unique feel to them, which I can only put down to Croggon's writing and characterisation. I really like Maerad, because she is not perfect, she is flawed like any other person, and so is Cadvan, her imperfect mentor. It is their relationship that really drove me to enjoy this series so much, not the story itself, which is still exciting!

    I do hope you enjoy the next two. The Crow is very different, but still very well written and the finale is fantastic! I'll shhush now! Looking forward to your reviews!

    Mine is here for the Riddle, a little short and I've gotten used to writing more detail in reviews now, so maybe I'll do another!

  6. Mariel - I am loving this series, too - and I'm so glad to hear you enjoyed the whole thing. Thanks for the review link - I've added it. I like short reviews - often the long ones reveal too much about the book for my taste. :-)

  7. Love the cover and it does sound like something I would like because of "the pervasive sense of the culture of the land, with its mythology and history, combined with lyrical prose."

  8. Ladytink - I think you'd really enjoy this. You have to be in the mood for a big sweeping epic, but if you are, this one will hit the spot!


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