The Riddle by Alison Croggon

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Book Information  
AuthorAlison Croggon
TitleThe Riddle
Book Reviews / Comments (submitted by readers)
Submitted by Anonymous 
(Mar 09, 2009)

The Riddle is one of my favorite books, along with the first in the series: The Gift(or The Naming if you live in the U.S). Alison Croggon writes beautifully, which is to be expected from a poet, and her story evolves over time. The world she creates has amazing depth and thought, and the characters this story evolves around have unique personalities. You may think this is just another fantasy story, but if you'll read it, you'll think differently. It may have some of the same elements, but you want believe how different it really is. These books are sorely underestimated, and if people gave them a chance, they would surpass every popular book today.
The Riddle continues the story of Maerad and Cadvan on their journey to Thorold, and then north. Maerad finds family she never knew existed, after losing her best friend. Their encounters with stormdogs and ondrils and worse are sometimes amusing, and other times so sad you want to throw the book at the wall and cry, then go get the book and finish reading so you know what happens. Trust me. You will absolutely love this series. The Riddle has one of the best endings in the world, and I started crying from happiness when I read it. This is by far the best series I have ever read, and Alison Croggon is a genius.

Submitted by Darcy 
(Jul 02, 2008)

This book, by Allison Croggon, is the first in the Pellinor series. Actually, I'm fairly certain it goes by two names, The Gift and The Naming. The Naming is what I have and it's the same story, so I'm not sure what the deal with that is. On to the review.

Maerad(pronounced My-red) is a sixteen-year-old girl living as a slave in Gilman's Cot, where everyone is worked to the bone and rewarded with barely enough food and less-than-tolerable living conditions. Maerad was always the strange one at the Cot, having pale skin and dark hair, unlike the rest of her. As well as her appearance, she also is revered as a witch, for over the years strange things have happened around her.
One day a stranger appears in the barn while Maerad is milking cows. Though he has has an invisibility spell working for him, Maerad is able to see him. The stranger, later found out as Cadvan of Lirigon, thinks Maerad is a bard(like a mage) because she can see through his spell. After a long talk Maerad decides to follow this stranger out of Gilman's Cot as her only chance of freedom.
Once out, the pair travel through perilous country and battle creatures of the dark such as Wers and Dark Bards sent by the Ruler of the Dark, Sharma, in pursuit of Cadvan. Through the journey Cadvan begins to suspect Maerad is the one fated by great bards many centuries ago. So long, in fact, that many have forgotten the prophecy altogether.
I don't want to give away any more, for fear of ruining the book. In my opinion, this book was one of the best I've ever read. A good read for fans of Earthsea, and Tamora Pierce books, The Lord of the Rings, and Garth Nix.

Submitted by Peter 
(May 14, 2006)

The Riddle is the second book in the Pellinor Series. The story continues where "The Gift” (first book of the series) finished off.
Maerad and Cadvan are now pursued by the light and dark as their quest continues to unravel the mysteries of the Treesong and bring balance and peace back to Edil-Amarandh.

The main two characters are Maerad and Cadvan. Maerad is the fated one, whose true name is Elednor, which means Fire Lily, who is fated to bring down the Nameless One and restore balance to Edil-Amarandh. Maerad has no immediate family except her brother Cai who was found in the Valverras Wastelands after his adopted family were killed by hulls (black bards). Maerad is sixteen years old and enjoys music (playing her lyre), reading and writing. Cadvan is Maerad’s mentor teaching her ways of the light and barding ways. Cadvan is a solitary person who isn’t comfortable in places with lots of people for long periods of time enjoys playing music.

“The Gift” and “The Riddle” take place in the fantasy world of Edil-Amarandh. This map does not contain all seven kingdoms.
The story picks up after Cadvan and Maerad flee from Norloch as they are declared rebels by Enkir, First bard of Norloch, who is responsible for the sacking of Pellinor (Maerad’s home). They flee via sea with the help of Owan a humble fisherman and trusted friend of Nelac, towards the capital of Thorold, Busk, where they seek more information on the Treesong. Not long after a messenger from Norloch arrives delivering an ultimatum that the seven kingdoms are to pledge their undivided loyalty or be declared rebels. Maerad and Cadvan are smuggled out of Thorold by faithful friends and head North as that is where all the clues are pointing to solving the riddle of the Treesong. On their arrival in Gent they travel Zmarkan in search of more information on the Treesong.

Things have been smooth with the occasional bump in the road which include the face off with an Ondril (a sea serpent), a hull leaving Thorold, a stormdog on the way to Gent, this leg of their journey won’t be as smooth as the others, hope will be lost, it will be found, it will be lost again, emotions will emerge, mistakes will be made, feelings will be confused, the future will look uncertain, then it will be crystal clear, there will be sadness, there will be happiness, there will be dangers and peril on every road and in every form.
It is up to Maerad and Cadvan to save life as they know it…
with the only thing the Dark doesn’t understand…

This book was extremely enjoyable due to the fact that it was well written with a lot of depth into the history, language, and characters. I also enjoyed the way Alison was able to incorporate her poetry into the story and history is this fantastic epic, making the world of Edil-Amarandh seem so very, very real. Language in this book would be more suited with moderate to advance readers as this book is mainly focused on young adults and adults. I would give this a 5/5 as I enjoyed this book immensely and in my eyes, it rivals “The Lord of the Rings” by J R.R Tolkien and “The Magician” series by Raymond E. Feist.

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