The Riddle by Alison Croggon (The Second Book of Pellinor)

Maerad of Pellinor heads north in pursuit of the Treesong as the Winter King threatens her at every turn.

I was so glad to see Alison Croggon leave her Tolkien influences behind in The Riddle, the second book in her well-told story of Pellinor, which started out as just your typical fantasy country beseiged by the coming of the dark.

Fortunately, Croggon brings in some non-medieval elements in her construction of the mythology of her world. I really liked some of the harsher elements she brought into her development of the more northern societies–and because winter is my favorite season I enjoyed spending time in the snow and ice. I also liked that Maerad’s status as a hero is brought into question, hence the “riddle” of the title. There’s more to her than just the prophecy calling her the One. Her destiny isn’t singular, and I love that element of uncertainty.

Croggon’s writing is beautiful, and I was especially impressed by the haunting poetry she included. I can’t wait to read The Crow and The Singing.

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