Second Book in a Great Series
THE RIDDLE by Alison Croggon is the second in the author's Pellinor series, and it picks up right where book 1 left off. Maerad and Cadvan continue their quest for the Treesong--even though they have no idea what it is or where they should look for it. As in the first book, a huge part of the storyline continues to be building Maerad's character; in fact, the focus of THE RIDDLE is 100% Maerad as she loses her mentor early in the book, but struggles to continue their search on her own. Along the way she discovers a lot about herself and her powers, and she manages to unearth some of the meaning of the riddle she and Cadvan were trying to solve.
Although THE RIDDLE introduces a few new characters, they are largely background noise as Maerad shines. She's young and often unsure of herself, but she finds the proper guidance at key times to keep the plot moving. I love that some of the strongest and wisest characters in this series are women.
Maerad finds love in the second book as well, and I salute Croggon for the way she manages to bring it into the story without letting it become The Story.
Although THE RIDDLE is like THE NAMING (the first in the series) in that there are a lot of long and involved descriptions, they didn't seem to interfere with the action as much as in the first book. It's also possible that I settled more easily into the rhythm of the story with THE NAMING under my belt. And that said, this is definitely NOT a series that can be read out of order, and it's also (thankfully!) not a series that suffers from the second book issues that often plague authors. Croggon has created a second book that tells an important portion of a larger story without making it feel like nothing more than a means to an end.
I continue to recommend the Pellinor series to lovers of High Fantasy, and I look forward to finishing out the rest of it. My thanks to the publisher and YA Books Central for a copy of the book in exchange for my honest review.
Strong female characters