Friday, December 17, 2010

Review: The Riddle (Pellinor 2) by Alison Croggon

Synopsis:

A young woman embraces her power — and her destiny — as the thrilling quest begun in THE NAMING continues!

Maerad is a girl with a tragic and bitter past, but her powers grow stronger by the day. Now she and her mentor, Cadvan, hunted by both the Light and the Dark, must unravel the Riddle of the Treesong before their fractured kingdom erupts in chaos. The quest leads Maerad over terrifying seas and vast stretches of glacial wilderness, ever closer to the seductive Winterking — ally of her most powerful enemy, the Nameless One. Trapped in the Winterking's icy realm, Maerad must confront what she has suspected all along: that she is the greatest riddle of all. A sequel to THE NAMING, this second book in a captivating quartet about the ancient world of Edil-Amarandh is a sweeping epic readers won't soon forget.

Details:
  • Pub. Date: July 2007
  • Publisher: Candlewick Press
The Elliott Review: (spoilers!)

The Riddle picks up right where The Naming left off, but it took me a long time to become interested in the story. The beginning half of the book, to me, seems like an endless category of one journey after the next with a lot of scenic detail. Each step of Cadvan's and Maerad's journey is well-written and subtly setting up for later parts of the plot, but like I've mentioned earlier - a straight quest with not a lot of outright drama tends to bore me. Unlike The Naming, the first half didn't have a lot of character development to tantalize me along the way. There are faint hints of Cadvan and Maerad and the way they feel about each other, but this time it seems way too understated for me. Even their mysterious glances at each other aren't enough. Maerad feels jealousy about Cadvan and other women, but nothing actually happens...

Just when I thought I couldn't take any more trees and mists and rivers and strange elemental creatures popping out of nowhere, finally something majorly drastic happens [spoiler alert]!!! Cadvan supposedly dies, but one is never really quite sure that he is actually dead a la Gandalf falling into the flames type situation. Although this takes my favorite character out of the story physically, it actually makes him much more present because I actually get to see more of Maerad's emotional dependence on him. The quest she is on is now one she must make on her own and not lean so much on him. As she goes, she encounters an interest cast of characters - an old healer, her father's long lost family, and the evil yet seductive Winter King. All the while, she learns more about her abilities and more details about the elusive Tree Song that she and Cadvan were trying to locate.

The ending of this book when Maerad reunites with Cadvan was satisfying yet in many ways unsatisfying. I don't know if I can express how important the Maerad/Cadvan aspect of this plot is to me, yet I still know nothing. In the end I can't even tell if her feelings for him are romantic or merely those one would have for a father figure. Everything is so obscure. I really want to know what happens between them as well as to find out what they are actually dealing with in terms of elusively mysterious evil person out there that we still know very little about....

Source: Won from There's a Book (Thanks Danielle!)

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